Ask.com is largely abandoning the search engine effort and will now become a question-and-answer service. The e-commerce company IAC/InterActiveCorp, which had paid $1.85 billion in 2005 for Ask.com and then invested heavily to make the search engine more competitive against Google.
With this change in strategy, Ask.com will avoid competing against companies with far greater resources while also reducing the cost of maintaining a search index with billions of pages, Doug Leeds, Ask.com’s president, said in an interview
Ask.com will lay off 130 workers and close its offices in Edison, N.J., and Hangzhou, China. The remaining employees will be consolidated at the Web site’s headquarters in Oakland, Calif.
Ask.com would continue to offer search on its site, but it would no longer compile an index of the entire Web. .Ask will cease developing its own search technology based on computer algorithms, and will instead rely on algorithmic search provided by an undisclosed partner.