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Monday, 13th August 2007

New TV Commercial from Ask.com Debuts in the U.S.

Like we've done in the past, since this post deals with Ask.com, where Gary is Director of
Online Information Resources,
we're requiring those of you accessing this post via the RS home page, the need to click again to read the full text in case you might want to quickly skip it. Remember, both ResourceShelf and DocuTicker are independent of Ask.com and both involve other people and organizations.

By Gary Price
In the past few days, Ask.com has started to air a new 30 second television commercial in the
U.S. In my view, it's just what the doctor ordered. I think the new spot is simple, innovative, fresh and like the common like many other things involving Ask, illustrates that core search and IR is still core to what Ask is doing these days.

You can view the tv commercial online.

I'm not a part of the advertising team at Ask but I hope similar commercials are in the works because there are many more features and services that can be featured in this manner along with using variations on this theme. It's also quite easy to see how libraries could use this commercial concept to highlight various services that they offer. Perhaps the first visible image in the commercial would be a human being, an information expert, a librarian. This would remind people that libraries and research are more than just a few databases.

It's difficult to say a lot in 30 seconds. However, the cliche about many times actions speak louder than words is accurate and this commercial shows in that small amount of time (without a single word being spoken) will hopefully illustrate some of what makes Ask.com a powerful research tool that's worthy of a spot on your online research .

Of course, the obvious goal is to have people visit the Ask.com site and see for themselves some of the features that not only make Ask.com different (being different just so you can say you are different can only go so far) but also can make the search process easier, faster and more efficient for researchers whose online research includes web search.

Btw, if you're interested in receiving a more in-depth overview (longer than 30 seconds :-)) for your colleagues in your school or library, feel free to let met know. I do this often and the entire Ask.com team appreciates the feedback.

I'm happy to see Ask moving forward with this and hopefully similar tv spots in the future.

For me, one of the most enjoyable parts about working at Ask.com is sharing with people the services we provide and are adding regularly. Plus, the fact that many of these features, tools, presentation are different than what's seen elsewhere and like I said earlier, differences not just to be different but to provide a better search/research experience.

In my role it's also exciting to not only get feedback but then to share it with people who maintain and build various features.

Some of the tv spots that aired prior to this commercial were viewed unfavorably by some. Of course, that's advertising and that's human opinion. It's impossible to please everyone. I have seen reviews of a single presentation I've given go from "lots of great content" to "I would have been better off staying at home watching The Beverly Hillbillies.

Frankly, this is not only the case with advertising campaigns but just about everything else. Just go to one of the thousands of web sites or web services (an area that's growing rapidly) where people can share their views and opinions. From events in the news to which is the best smartphone to purchase to where they should go for dinner on a first date. You'll regularly find 10 people saying that the book/movie/song/automobile/hotel/restaurant was awesome! Excellent! The Best! Then, you'll read further or go to another site and find 10 different user comments saying that the same book/movie/song/automobile/hotel/restaurant was terrible, a waste of time and money, provided terrible service and something to stay away from.

Heck, we now have services like Wize.com that takes user generated reviews from various sites, aggregating them, and then assigning an overall score to them. Yes, measuring opinions can be a full time job.

Last week also just saw the launch of automobile review (beta) from U.S. News & World Report.
In this case, US News is aggregating reviews from, "top automotive critics from media companies, consumer research organizations, and other sources."

See Also: New TV Commercials Have Also Started to Air in the UK. Barry Schwartz has links
to them here with commentary from Search Engine Land readers.


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