Ask Jeeves on "convenience search" (ASKJ, IACI)

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Includes: ASKJ, IAC
by: David Jackson

Ask Jeeves CEO Steve Berkowitz made an interesting distinction on his April 27th Q1 conference call between "destination search", where a user goes to a search site such as Google.com or Ask.com, and "convenience search", where a user searches from a search box embedded in a page already being viewed. Those comments look far more interesting in light of Ben Edelman's recent work exposing Ask Jeeves' illigitimate dissemination of toolbars. Extracts:

…search can be divided into two relatively simple categories, destination and convenience. Destination searches occur when a user goes to a site, such as ask.com with the intent to search. Convenience search occurs when a user happens to search because a search box is present…

As we move forward, our goal will be to continue to grow… destination search by continuing to make our search only site even stronger, and convenience search by creating sticky portal experiences, downloadable applications that users want, by signing more distribution deals and that what we believe will be very important, adding our search box on IAC’s property…

Ultimately, our goal is to convert our convenience searchers into Ask Jeeves destination searches... We’ve already begun to do this with some of our tool bar products… Search is also now about searching your desktop... about creating a personal level of information which allows users to save and organize searches and information… about sharing those search results with others. So one common thread we see in all of this is that users will want to enter a broader search world through a simple white search box that can be accessed on any computer through multiple devices.

(Quotes are from the CCBN StreetEvents transcript.)