IAC got serious about its Ask property this year, investing $100 million in the United States alone on a bizarre “Ask the Algorithm” campaign that even sunk to the depths of using the Unabomber as a marketing tool. Unfortunately for good taste there’s nothing like a bit controversy to draw attention to a service and Ask’s traffic was up this year, proving once again perhaps there really is no such thing as bad publicity.
Direct traffic on Ask.com grew from 29.8 million unique visitors in November 2006 to 46 million in November 2007 after dropping to 24.4 million in February for an impressive 54% growth rate.
Ask subsites saw some amazing growth rates, but mostly off very low bases. The Algorithm has a growing market in Europe, with Ask Spain experiencing 2062% growth rate, Ask Germany at 3006% and Ask France with 606%.
Some humble pie from me: back in May I slammed Ask.com for its advertising campaign suggesting that it was too clever by half; I haven’t changed my dislike of a campaign that suggested that “The Algorithm constantly finds Jesus” but the numbers don’t lie: it worked and worked well. Congrats and Christmas well wishes to the team at Ask; you’ve still got a long way to go to catch up to Google, Yahoo and Microsoft but at least you’re heading in the right direction, and competition is always a good thing.
Ask’s full numbers below: