SES Keynote: Ask Jeeves Chief Sees Long-Term Google Partnership

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SAN JOSE, CA -- Though Ask Jeeves just launched its own paid search ad program, that doesn't mean it wants to sever ties with Google, Ask Jeeves CEO Steve Berkowitz said yesterday in his keynote speech at the Search Engine Strategies 2005 conference.


"We love the Google relationship. I can see it lasting forever," he said.


Yet Berkowitz said that 2007 -- when its search partnership with Google ends -- is a "long way away," and that Ask Jeeves will continue to focus on creating relationships with advertisers directly.


"This is not about negotiations with Google, it is not about ... Microsoft and Overture," he said. "This is about our focus on developing our relationship with advertisers. We need to understand conversion and deal directly with the advertiser."


Berkowitz also addressed other questions he has been asked since Ask Jeeves' acquisition by InterActive Corp. in July, such as whether Ask Jeeves will change its name.


"We're looking at everything, [but] there is very little chance we won't go with Ask or Jeeves, or Ask Jeeves," he said. Still, Ask Jeeves executives have made no decision on a name change. The company is "just doing a lot of research right now."


"The butler is safe, he's just trimmer," Berkowitz joked.


In the future, Berkowitz hopes to use IAC properties iWon, with its broad consumer platform, Excite and other brands to grow Ask Jeeves.


"I think you're going to see from iWon an interesting promotional opportunity -- it continues to give away over $4 million a year," he said. "IWon can become a real piece of glue in the IAC network -- using that user base, that gaming platform, as a way to tie together the match.com, Evites, HSNs and the Ticketmasters of the world."


The company is still "trying to figure out what to do" with Excite and its global presence. And it likely will use the MyWay brand as a portal for licensing.


Christine Blank covers online marketing and advertising, including e-mail marketing and paid search, for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters


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