back to article Ask.com rehires butler Jeeves

Ask.com has redeployed dotcom-era cartoon butler Jeeves in its battle to attract web searchers away from Google in the UK. He's been back since November last year, but the PR operation appears to only have begun today. The fact that nobody really noticed Jeeves in the meantime suggests the firm will need more than a whimsical …

COMMENTS

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  1. Stephen Taylforth

    Hmmm.

    I think I preferred the old Jeeves.......

  2. Benedict

    Jeeves

    I wonder if he still prefers the term "jovial".

  3. Jimmy Floyd

    Dash it all, old boy

    Credit to Ask.com for their persistence. That other advertising campaign (about n% of the world's search data going through one provider) I thought would work but maybe we just weren't paranoid enough then?

  4. The BigYin

    They're still around?

    Not used them in *years*. Google come pre-configured with FF and loads of other thing - why would I go to the both of using ask.com?

    And having just ried their site, despite the Jeeves character, it looks just like a Google rip-off.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    It's results that matter, not logos.

    A while back, in an attempt to personally help break the monopoly of The G, I started using Ask.com.

    It was SHITE.

    So I gave up and went back to the Googleplex.

  6. Edward Miles
    Joke

    Pah...

    ...Is it just me, or does the new Jeeves look more like a banker than a butler? Not the image they want I'm sure!

  7. Simon B
    Alert

    The probem isn't Jeeves going, it's the lack of decent results!!!

    I ALWAYS used Askjeeves / Ask as apposed to Google. I was forced in to using google when ask's results got worse and worse until in the end I HAD to move to google; much to my dispair as I HATE google's work practices and lack of ethics.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @ The Big Yin

    Ask.com is now effectively a provider of viral search engines. Once you've got ask.com stuck on your browser as the default search engine (no prompts, so if you're logged in as an administrator it'll install itself behind the scenes) the only ways to remove it are either to rebuild your PC from scratch or perform some serious registry hacking. Yes you can temporally remove it through Software Add/Remove and the browsers own options, but post reboot it comes back again.

    Personally, with the attitude they've taken to try and get people using their search engine, this is one company who's funeral pyre I'd dance upon.

  9. Norbury
    Boffin

    He's not a butler

    He's a valet.

  10. Chronos Silver badge
    Coat

    Google rip-offs?

    It has to be a Google rip-off really, doesn't it? Google is the de-facto standard for search after all. Anyone who wants to compete is probably stuck with the textbox-search button simple model for its UI, otherwise they're not going to attract punters. Yahoo search, Dogpile, Ixquick, Altavista and Ask all have this UI in one form or another. I seem to recall Altavista was configured this way before Brin and Page had their little misspelling Googasm. [1]

    Google's success isn't just the effective search engine, either. They're now a single sign-on for search, mail, remote storage and other nifty apps. Remember, we're dealing with a majority who probably have a Post-it with their password on it stuck to the monitor. They love simplicity and this is another area where Google shines. Now that the endless September has proven resistant to all efforts by the geeks to reach October with the non-technical growing in number almost exponentially, Google have it all wrapped up and the competition don't stand a chance, regardless of UI. They're the new AOL portal for the masses, a household name and even a verb, regardless of ISP, playing to the cheap seats. We geeks are just a very small minority on the 'net and the ideals of the early 'net are long dead, as evidenced by the marketing "monetization" of the web. It's now just another service for the general public and Google's services fit right in with this, so here is probably the wrong place to discuss the whys and wherefores of search on the modern Internet. Geeks have different needs, we're a niche market and we don't represent the majority of the 'net any more.

    [1] Well, waddaya know? http://web.archive.org/web/19961022174810/http://www.altavista.com/ So one might say Google is an AltaVista rip-off. I'll get me coat...

  11. Ian Ferguson
    Happy

    Hmm

    You mean that 1 in 50 people are using Ask.com?

    I'm going to find the two in my computer and re-educate them, forcibly.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Geolocation fails.

    Ask.com rather unhelpfully and incorrectly directs me to the NL version of the site. I have to go to Ask.co.uk to get the UK version. If they fail to geolocate my IP as as UK IP when every other geolocating site I use manages to get it right, why on earth would I bother using their search engine?

    The new Jeeves looks more like a no win no fee lawyer than a butler...

  13. Sean Bergeron
    Gates Horns

    Shoot....

    Now I have to rename my IRC bot.

    Hmmm....looking for another friendly character discarded....

    He's now "clippy!"

  14. pctechxp

    Some call...

    Microsoft the Beast of Redmond but am far more worried about Google being the all controlling company.

    And their motto is creepy too

    I therefore welcome any competition to that multi-coloured outfit.

  15. Sean Hunter
    Thumb Down

    The butler (or not) has never been the problem

    The problem is that they are a useless search engine. And google have quite a good search engine.

  16. Eric Hood

    Natural langauge

    I find I get better results with google using natural language sentences. keyword searches are good but a sentence can zero in on people with exactly your issue.

  17. Stephen Hunt
    Thumb Down

    Tried it for a day

    Well, I tried Ask for a day and came up with two observations:

    1) Its results were not as comprehensive as google, I got better results on at least one search when nothing relevant was found via Ask.

    2) The branding gets in the way. I do not want to be distracted by cartoon characters or highly stylised buttons / boxes when searching - I want the branding to be practically ignorable (I am not going to the site to get a branding-fix). If it has to be branded, then do that in the results page, not the query page.

    So it is back to google for me.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    alternative

    @"It's results that matter, not logos. "

    @pctechxp

    have you tried http://www.dogpile.com/ ?

  19. Ian Tunnacliffe

    Wodehouse Estate?

    Are they planning to pay any royalties to the Wodehouse estate this time round? I seem to remember that they just blatantly ripped off the character without a by your leave.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    Do I have to ask Jeeves?

    This takes me back to the days of working at ONDigital. An elderly gent asked me, "Is there any other way of searching the internet without asking Jeeves?". I think I pissed myself laughing, I still would.

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