March 5th, 2008 Targets Women

The CEO of announced a shift in the search engine’s strategy yesterday, as reported in the WSJ. He now wants to “focus Ask on its core audience, predominantly women who use the site to ask questions about topics like entertainment and health. To do that, he says, the company will launch new products and enhance its technology through efforts like pulling in more community-generated answers.”

“The new strategy…is a retreat from efforts by former Ask management to broaden the search engine’s audience beyond middle-American, predominantly female consumers, who have long made up its core, to more technologically sophisticated audiences. Just last summer Ask had begun offering search results that combine text, video, maps and other results on one screen.”

The search engine also plans to “refocus the company’s products and marketing on the area where Ask believes it is strongest — searches framed as questions, as opposed to single words or phrases.”

This shift makes so much sense. Rather than competing in an already saturated search market where Google is king, Ask is smart to focus on a niche audience with whom they have already had success. And, by focusing on a niche audience, the search results will be so much more relevant for those users. I love this idea.

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