Ask Jeeves CEO Interviewed, Says Online Scams Could Slow Adoption of Personalized Search Tools

The vnunet.com article: Scams hold back personalised search, discusses how phishing and identity theft could cause problems in the adoption of personalized search tools. The article includes several comments from Ask Jeeves CEO, Steve Berkowitz.

"The benefits to the user will be incredible, but whether the user will allow those benefits to happen over time is something that we have to wait and see," he [Berkowitz] said..."It's going to take a lot of time before users are going to trust putting a lot of information into the computer, when there are scams that go on and you keep reading about credit card and identity theft," said Berkowitz. "The user will benefit from the ability of the technologies to understand more about them to make search more relevant and to make information retrieval more relevant. But it will take time and probably more than people anticipate."

Berkowitz's comments come from a two-page Q&A interview that was also published today. It's titled: Ask Jeeves warms up search battle. In the interview, Berkowitz says that Ask Jeeves doesn't have a brand awareness problem.

I would say that Ask Jeeves doesn?t have name recognition problem. We have 80 plus per cent aided brand awareness and probably 30 per cent to 40 per cent unaided brand awareness at this point in time.

Our growth potential is greater than anybody else?s, because people know us. They just don?t know why we'd like them to get to us. Which is: come to Ask and have any of your questions answered, but also it is a great place to search.

While AJ might have "80 plus per cent" brand awareness I wonder just what the people who are aware of the brand think of the brand. In other words, many people do know and recognize the name Ask Jeeves but it's been my experience, as recently as last week, that Ask Jeeves means "poor search engine" to many people. If I had got a dollar every time someone told me that eThese people need to see that Ask Jeeves 2005 is not the same search engine that it was in 1999 or 2000, I might be able to retire. Getting people to try and regularly use something new or different is a challenge all by itself but AJ's challenge is even more complex since they also need to demonstrate and show those who are already aware of the AJ brand that they've improved (understatement) their search service.