Search engine Ask.com no longer crawling the web. Weakly powered by Google?


Many search engine optimization professionals have long hoped that Ask.com, the scrappy search engine underdog, would give the big three (Google, and Microsoft) a run for their money.

In July 2006, we saluted Ask.com by documenting their little known Ask.com API interface. Unfortunately, Ask shut off external access to this interface in March 2007.

Ask’s future became doubtful earlier this year as key management and staff were fired. even wrote Ask.com’s obituary, a bit in jest – or maybe not.

While analyzing web analytics log files, I noticed that

the Ask.com bot, Ask Jeeves/Teoma, stopped crawling my Antezeta web sites on February 22/23, 2008. Yet I see a post from early May in the Ask.com search results.

Either Ask.com changed the name of their crawling bot, rather unlikely when you’re firing people, or they have outsourced their search results to Google. With a significant freshness delay.

And then there were three. Too bad. R.I.P. Ask.com.

Disclaimer: due to Ask’s low market penetration in Europe, I did not verify that Ask has stopped crawling other websites. I hope someone will prove me wrong, but I would be rather surprised, given the bigger picture.

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About Sean Carlos

Sean Carlos is a digital marketing consultant & teacher, assisting companies with their Search (SEO + SEA = SEM), Social Media & Digital Media Analytics strategies. Sean first worked with text indexing in 1990 in a project for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Since then he worked for Hewlett-Packard Consulting and later as IT Manager of a real estate website before founding Antezeta in 2006. Sean is an official instructor of the Digital Analytics Association and collaborates with the Bocconi University. He is Chairman of the SMX Search and Social Media Conference, 13 & 14 November in Milan. He is also a co-author of the Treccani encyclopedic dictionary of computer science, ICT & digital media. Born in Providence, RI, USA, Sean received Honors in Physics from Bates College, Maine. He speaks English, Italian and German.

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