Ask.com U.S. President Doug Leeds answers our questions.
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to chat with Ask.com U.S. President Doug Leeds about the new “Question of the Day” feature that debuted this week. Leeds championed the new feature internally at Ask.com and is quite passionate about how it reflects the brand’s larger search strategy.
Leeds informed me that the Question of the Day feature first launched in the U.K. It did so well there, that they’re trying it out stateside.
“Before search, asking questions is the way we got that information,” said Leeds. “We changed our behavior. You couldn’t just ask a search engine a question.”
Ask.com receives queries in the form of a question as a percentage more than any other search engine. Ask.com has been capitalizing on that fact in the last year, sharpening their focus on Q&A.
Last June, Ask.com announced that they had built a database containing 300 million Q&A pairs indexed from various answers sites on the web. By November, that database grew to 400 million and Ask.com launched a new section of their site focusing solely on Q&A.
Featuring a Question of the Day on the Ask.com homepage is just the next step in executing a strategy focused around answers. In some respects, this reflects search behavior that has come full circle.
But as the ten blue links have led to much research, spam and confusion, search engines are increasingly returning to what people really want: Answers. Quick answers.
So does this mean Ask.com is getting out of the general search game and focusing on a niche in search? Leeds sees it the other way around.
“I strongly believe that search is a niche within questions and answers,” emphasized Leeds.
Ask found that prompting homepage visitors with a Question of the Day increased the number of queries written as a question. This was even higher for those who clicked on the Question of the Day.
Searchers who received good answers, which is likely considering the aforementioned database, increased the frequency and attention paid to Ask.com.
“What I’m committed to is getting people an answer to their question,” concluded Leeds.
That commitment reflects a maturing Ask.com, coming into their own by returning to their roots.