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Ask.com to Cut 130 Engineering Jobs, Drop Algorithmic Search Technology

Algorithmic search technology is out at Ask.com and question-and-answer is in, as Bloomberg reports that parent company IAC will slash 130 engineering jobs and pull out of the search-engine business to focus on the online Q&A part of the business.

The search unit will be based in Oakland, Calif., with the affected jobs in Edison, N.J., and Hangzhou, China, and IAC will invite 20 of the New Jersey engineers to move out West, Bloomberg reported.

Ask.com president Doug Leeds told Bloomberg:

(Google has) become this huge juggernaut of a company that we really thought we could compete against by innovating. We did a great job of holding our market share, but it wasn’t enough to grow the way IAC had hoped we would grow when it bought us.

“We’ve realized in the last few years you can’t compete head on with Google,” IAC chairman and CEO Barry Diller added.

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Ask.com to Shutter Bloglines Oct. 1

Oct. 1 will be the end of the line for Bloglines, as Ask.com announced in a blog post that it will shutter the Web-based RSS reader and news aggregator to refocus on its Q&A business model and due to the emergence of social-media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

From the blog post:

Primarily, it’s about focus. Our focus here at Ask is on building out our Q&A offering. Our beta, released

in a very limited fashion at the end of July, is seeing steady community growth with an answer-to-question ratio of 2:1, which underscores the fact that people are motivated to provide answers. Another encouraging metric: On average, users who are active within the community are asking two questions per day. These early numbers build on the competitive advantage we already have in the marketplace — the fact that 30 percent of the searches on our site are already in the form of a question — and are further proof that Ask needs to continue its tight focus on delivering the best possible answers to users.

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