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September 22, 2005

'Ask Jeeves' Butler To Retire



Courtesy of TechWeb News

The smiling butler that has welcomed visitors to search engine Ask Jeeves for nearly 10 years will soon be laid off.

The dapper Jeeves is getting the ax as the result of the takeover of the Oakland, Calif., company by IAC/InterActiveCorp., run by media mogul Barry Diller. It appears that Jeeves is too much of an anchor to the past.

Research has shown the well-known character has made it difficult for the search engine to convince people that it is good for all types of searches, and not just for answering questions.

"As a result, the character may be phased out as the prominent icon of the brand, although no timeline or details have been determined," the company said Thursday in a statement. "No final decisions have been made with regard to a new brand name, which we are also exploring to help signal the overall improvement of our search engine."

Diller, however, was more direct when he spoke Wednesday at the Goldman Sachs investors conference in New York, as reported by Newsday.

"Jeeves will disappear, and we will probably be called Ask or Ask.com," Diller, whose company acquired Ask Jeeves in July, said.

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