Ask.com’s Latest Ploy: Coupons

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IAC-owned Ask.com is now serving up coupons, along with search results. A new service called Ask Deals aggregates coupons and deals from across the web. Users who search for a term like “cheap Halloween costumes” see offers at the top of the search results page; a new “Deal $” tab also lets visitors sift through various offers. Ask says it’s introducing the feature because of the poor economy. In a blog post, Ankur Choski, Ask’s director of search technology, says that the number of queries for “value-related terms” has increased by 50 percent so far this year and that 60 percent of consumers say they are using coupons more often.

But while there may be a demand for an Ask Deals-like service, it’s doubtful that it will impact Ask’s market share very much. Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) is already playing the save money by searching card with its Bing Cashback program, while Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) already has a very similar service in Yahoo Deals, which launched in August. Meanwhile, actual Ask.com innovations — like more sophisticated “related search” suggestions and playing up “instant answers” to queries — have not budged its market share, which continues to hover at around 4 percent.

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