“Damn the Man!” Ask.com is figuratively shouting at its customers across the pond — the Man being Internet giant and search engine competitor, Google. Ask.com is trying to appear hipper and more anti-corporate than Google in new ads that have started appearing in the UK, reported the Wall Street Journal (Subscription required).
The ads, produced by Fallon Worldwide (a unit of Publicis Groupe), began appearing in mid-March on subway cars, the Internet, and TV. No newspapers because print isn’t exactly hip nowadays. Ask.com is hoping to steal the tiniest bit of business away from Google, as the search engine giant has managed to crush them in the UK (and everywhere else). Ask.com was used for only 4.3% of Internet searches in the UK in January, according to comScore Networks Inc. Who knew that the search engine formerly known as Ask Jeeves even still existed?
Ask’s ads prompt people to join the information revolution and question the sources that their information is coming from on the Internet. It leads people to a Web site — www.Information-revolution.org. According the WSJ, the advertising has led to complaints from people who feel they are being duped by the company when they discover that the ads and the Web site are not what they seem.
The site says (among other things):
Did you know that more than 75% of people in the UK use just one search engine to find information? The same search engine. The biggest search engine. The most popular search engine. Why? It’s not that there aren’t choices, it just seems that most people don’t use them.
In response to that — there is clearly a reason people use Google, Google is the biggest, and Google is sticking it to their competition — Google is just better. It’s a great product from a company that is not only turning out really cool, new products all the time, but also resonates with people of the world because of the values (Don’t be evil.) that the company clearly projects and embraces. The people have spoken and have made a choice.
On a side note about cool products from Google: My favorite new discovery from the Google realm is the ability to txt the search giant with a query and get an instant answer right there on my phone — a service that has already helped me get where I want to go without the hassle of calling 411.
Sorry Ask.com, but your misleading, anti-corporate advertising just makes me want to hoist my I Heart Google banner up just that much higher. It seems it is time for you to throw in your dot.com towel and admit defeat. There is just no dignity in misleading the people you claim you are trying to set free with information.