In a heart/wallet-felt blogpost, Ask.com President, Doug Leeds has announced that the company is ditching its efforts to be a search engine and going back to being a question and answer service. This means that they're scaling back by 130 employees and two offices (one in New Jersey, one in China). Since they've started out, they've been ping-ponging all over the place in terms of what they wanted to be but now it's clear that they are meant to be and always were a question and answer service.
This changing back into a question and answer service doesn't automatically solve all of their cash flow problems. Reeds says, “Make no mistake that execution of our Q&A strategy still requires a great deal of technology investment and technical innovation, much of which is search-related, involving crawling and indexing the web’s breadth of questions and answers, and using search-based algorithms to route the right question to the best potential answerer.”
Ask.com started out as Ask Jeeves and has evolved into many different types of services over the years, receiving both fair and unfair criticism. Let's hope this step works for them and they finally find their footing.