Rumors last week that Ask, the IAC-owned (NASDAQ:IACI) search engine, was about to cut 100 jobs overestimated the body count. In fact, Ask is trimming 40 jobs, or about 8 percent of its workforce. Newly appointed CEO Jim Safka, who replaced Jim Lanzone, is also going to refocus the brand to go after women in their late 30s and older, who already make up a disproportionate amount of Ask’s users (65 percent).
No word on what will happen to Ask’s Teoma search technology (the rumor was that Google would be replacing it, since it already handles Ask’s search advertising). Safka is obviously taking more of a marketing than a technology approach. But without improving actual search results (with technology), Ask is going to have a tough time maintaining its 4.5 percent market share. Ask’s search sites collectively brought in 41 million unique U.S. visitors in January, which was up from December and November, but still below October’s 44 million, according to comScore.