Ask.com returns to its roots with make-believe butler
When the Ask.com search engine launched in 1996, it was known as AskJeeves.com and was built around a sort of marketing cartoon character named Jeeves, a traditional English butler. The idea was that you could search by asking a question. You know, the way people throughout history have sought knowledge. And then Jeeves would return an answer. It was a cute idea but it didn't really work much different than Yahoo or Alta Vista and people soon outgrew the need to use question marks in searches so they changed to Ask.com and tried to be like everyone else. Now, the old model is back! Ask.com is working on building a network of people to be able to ask and answer questions. Yahoo has had success with Yahoo Answers and Google recently bought Q & A startup Aardvark.