Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Ask.com’s Newest Offer: Discount Search

ask.com dealBarry Diller has tried just about every gambit possible to boost his Ask.com search engine, but he keeps coming up with more. The latest: Coupons.

IAC (IACI) has rolled out Ask.Deals, a dedicated section for bargain hunters and coupon clippers. The site has its own tab on the search engine, but Ask is also featuring it prominently in regular search results: Plug in “cheap ipods,” for example, and you’ll have to work very hard not to end up in the new section.

Can’t hurt. Can it help? Ask has been mired at just under four percent of the U.S. search market for a long time and it seems unlikely that rejiggering its search results will attract new users in significant numbers. It is possible that Ask can boost click-through rates, and thus dollars, though, which would be nice.

Then again, Yahoo (YHOO) and Microsoft (MSFT) are trying variants on the same idea. And perhaps more tellingly, Google (GOOG) isn’t doing much with this stuff at all.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik