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Despite the big push that Ask.com’s latest relaunch got this week, parent company IAC (NSDQ: IACI) doesn’t expect it to set the world on fire. During the company’s Q2 conference call, analysts had a lot of questions about the IAC search vehicle, which is now emphasizing direct questions and answers from within the Ask users. That feature already faces existing challenges from expanding search and community Google (NSDQ: GOOG) and Facebook, something tacitly acknowledged by chairman and CEO Barry Diller.
Diller did have some positive things to say about the IAC search property. “Ask.com has been willing to make changes; it’s been alert,” Diller said when asked about the two consecutive quarters of growing revenue for the search site. “But one thing I want to make clear to investors is that Ask itself is not a large segment of the company. I had hoped it would become one, but I was wrong about that. I was wrong about the competitive landscape with Google. And a lot of our new features that Ask has been sporting has only helped the competition, as they’ve copied us at every turn and they look a lot like Ask.”
Later, he added, “We’ve learned that spending a lot of money on marketing search products doesn’t get you very far,” Diller said. “We’ve learned.”