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Sunday, June 18, 2006

Ask.com Gets Treasure Hunters Wrong

A week or so ago it was annouced that ASK.com would be the official search engine of NBC's new reality show Treasure Hunters. For those who havent seen the show, it is essentially a copy of CBS' Amazing Race with a treasure hunting theme. I'm hooked but Ask.com needs to do some tweaking to their relationship with the new show.

All throughout Treasure Hunters there is a 'play-at-home' type game with simple trivia questions. Now if I am Ask.com, I am getting a hold of these questions before hand and making sure that users who watch the show can find the answer in the top result. Even if there needs to be a little gaming of the results, as the search engine underdog you have to do what you can to get the users hooked.

My thinking is that you make the answer the top result or near the top so that when a new user comes to Ask.com to find the trivia answer it takes them one search. As the search engine underdog you have to hope they find out how unbelievably easy it is to use and how accurate the results are (even if you are cheating). Otherwise, what is the reasoning for paying all that money for that sponsorship?

To do a little comparison I went 3 major engines (Google, Yahoo, MSN) and compared them to Ask.com's results using the same query to answer the question as it was presented on TV:
"Thomas Edison NickNamed his Kids?"
Google had an answer at #1, Yahoo at #1, MSN #10 and Ask.com had it at #8. Being as the show is so new they still have time to correct this otherwise Ask maybe wasting a lot of money on their sponsorship.

I bet if Jeeves was there, he'd have them straight!

By Evan Roberts at 09:29 PM | Comments (0)

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