Ask.com Comes Full Circle

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Ask.com is going back to its roots. The site is once again positioned to be a question-and-answer portal rather than a search engine, exactly the way they started in the Ask Jeeves days.

The goal is to provide quick answers to user questions without the need to click links then read lengthy copy. Ask claims that they are better prepared than ever to tackle this task. Ask President Doug Leeds said, "with 87 million monthly users and more than a decade of Q&A experience, Ask.com is uniquely positioned to answer the long tail of questions that are impossible for search engines alone to address."

In addition to traditional methods of obtaining resources (search results) that are relevant to user queries, Ask.com will tap into Ask member responses to help answer questions, using the "largest Q&A database on the Web," culled from Ask.com's lengthy tenure online.

If successful, this could be the time for Ask.com to shine. It's true that traditional search engines often have a difficult time returning relevant (and recent) results when queries are long and detailed. In addition, 2009 data from Hitwise showed that long queries (eight words or more) were on the rise.

"People never stopped coming to us with their questions," Leeds told The New York Times. "We started out that way, and that's what people remember."

For Ask.com's sake, here's hoping users' memories haven't faded.

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