Goodbye, Jeeves!

Posted by: Olga Kharif on September 27, 2005

It’s a sad, sad season for P.G. Wodehouse fans. Jeeves, the smart butler from Wodehouse’s books, will soon be leaving search engine AskJeeves.com. Which will no longer be called AskJeeves.com. Barry Diller, whose IAC/InterActive Corp. acquired the site only a few months ago, has recently announced that the site will be renamed due to user confusion over what Jeeves is and can do.

To my mind, this is simply indicative of Diller’s confusion over what to do with AskJeeves.com. His company just spent $1.85 billion to purchase AskJeeves.com. The bulk of that must have paid for the brand name, AskJeeves.com — and that money is now going into the waste basket.

Diller is getting rid of Jeeves at the worst possible moment, just as competition among search sites has reached fever pitch, what with Google's aggressive moves and newcomers such as Baidu.com, the Chinese search engine.

What a waste of a wonderful book character! To me, Ask.com without Jeeves just doesn't have the same appeal. I wouldn't be surprised if the search site goes down in the ratings as a result.

Goodbye, Jeeves! And goodbye, AskJeeves.com's ambitions.

Reader Comments

Arvind

September 28, 2005 5:35 AM

Sad indeed. As you rightly pointed out, ask.com doesn't have it in it.

BTW... Jeeves is actually a Valet/Gentleman's personal Gentleman and not a butler. Of course he did buttle, if that is what what a butler does can be called, on a few occassions.

Pip Pip,
Arvind

dg

September 28, 2005 10:59 PM

I think I'll have to disagree with you. Ask Jeeves has been doing some really amazing stuff - first and foremost - teoma technology. I find their searches to be quite good, and love the extra features like "narrow your search" and "expand your search" which show up in results on broader topics (try jazz). They also introduced http://ask.gifts.com/ which is an interesting alternative to froogle.

I think a rebrand right now is smart as it is a chance to redefine themselves - to show off all their new toys and show they are continuously innovating.

There is another theory about why Jeeves must go. Some think it may be that Diller doesn't like the physical similarities. Pic of the two here: http://rexruff.com/piks/diller_jeeves.jpg

Will

September 29, 2005 6:01 AM

Why sad? Given the line of the article, surely it should have been a happy day.

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Bloomberg Businessweek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, and Douglas MacMillan, dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.

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