Ask Jeeves

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Ask Jeeves is an Internet information retrieval company founded in 1996 by Garrett Gruener and David Warthen in Berkeley, California. The RODA Group, a venture capital firm, were early investors. The original software was architected by Gary Chevsky. Rob Wrubel joined the company as CEO in 1998 and led the company until late 2001, when he was replaced by Skip Battle. The current CEO is Steve Berkowitz.

Ask Jeeves owns a variety of popular web destinations including ask.com, ask.co.uk, ajkids.com, teoma.com, excite.com, myway.com, iwon.com, bloglines.com and several others. The combined traffic to its properties places Ask Jeeves in the top ten parent web companies in the US, as rated by both comScore and Nielsen//NetRatings in September 2004.

The original idea behind Ask Jeeves was the ability to answer questions asked in natural language. Jeeves is the name of the "butler" (illustrated by Marcos Sorenson), supposed to be the person who fetches you the answers of any query you ask. The character is based on Jeeves, Bertie Wooster's fictional butler from the works of P. G. Wodehouse. The company develops technologies for web-wide search, and competes with other search engine companies, such as Google and Yahoo!.

Ask Jeeves was the first commercial question-answering search engine for the World Wide Web. It supports a variety of user queries in plain English (natural language), as well as traditional keyword searching and strives to be more intuitive and user-friendly than other search engines. Ask Jeeves sold the same technology used on the ask.com site to corporate entities including Dell, Toshiba, and E*Trade. That part of the business was sold to Kanisa in 2002.

Ask Jeeves-owned Teoma search technology uses subject-specific link popularity to compute "authoritativeness" of a search result. The Teoma technology also incorporates patented click popularity techniques, originally from DirectHit search engine, Ask Jeeves acquired in 2000.

Ask Jeeves stock has been trading on NASDAQ stock exchange since 1999, under the ticker symbol ASKJ. Ask Jeeves was the 51st best performing stock out of 3229 companies on the NASDAQ for 2003. The price of Ask Jeeves stock soared more than 500% throughout the course of the year.

In March 2005, Ask Jeeves was sold to IAC/InterActiveCorp, a media holding company founded and run by Barry Diller, for $1.85 billion.

See also: List of search engines

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