More Coverage on Save Jeeves Campaign, and Some Personal Responses
I've added links to blurbs from the San Jose Mercury News, Search Engine Journal, and others who have picked up on this site. Thanks as always to those who are publicizing this site, and have linked to this page. Please continue to spread the word and make links to us.
Also, despite the overwhelmingly positive response generated so far, there are a few interesting comments people are making that I'd like to remark upon.
First is a common quip that I have chosen to use a Google product as a platform for this movement. Considering that I wish to protect my identity, it should be more than obvious to anyone with even a tiny understanding of technology why I would do this. If I used Bloglines or any other AskJeeves resource to do this, they could much more easily find out who I am (not that I believe I'm doing anything wrong, I simply don't wish to cause any bad blood, or bring negative lashback upon friends who still work at the company). I also considered buying savejeeves.com or a similar site (others have written to me that they too considered it as well) -- but I worried about the performance of the site and the price of the bandwith if the story should be picked up by a major news source (and a lucky decision it was, considering the BBC article). Blogspot has been a fine choice of a platform so far.
A small number of posters claim that this is all just a publicity stunt on the part of IAC and Ask Jeeves. Of course, I considered that possibility myself, but I think it's unlikely at best. I heard and read that the IAC leadership was never fond of the butler/valet to begin with, and I suspect it is a baseless bias -- a sort of "I didn't invent it so it can't possibly be good" attitude -- that is behind the move. Oh yes, there were the public statements that "studies were done" and "research was conducted" -- and that brings me to my next point...
A lot of posters also point out that this is a classic case of what happens when you pay too much attention to consultants, or -- worse yet -- pay consultants large sums of money to validate your own foregone conclusions. As one poster insightfully pointed out, if you were a highly-paid consultant asked to do a study on a very contraversial move (which obviously would not even be considred unless someone very highly placed wished it to happen), would you have the nerve to say "Well, we believe your brand is fine, but some of your marketing efforts or monetization decisions have really sucked" -- or would you just throw them a bone and tell them they *might* be on the right track with their rebranding? Even the wording on the announcement shows how very flimsy the argument is for removing Jeeves: they site user "confusion" over what the site can do. Is taking the personality away from your brand the solution to user confusion? Should "Burger King" just go by "Burger" in order to take marketshare away from McDonalds?? I can just imagine how this survey went:
Research Company: Have you heard of Jeeves before?
Research Company: Do you remember him doing natural language queries?
Research Company: Do you think the site still does those?
Consumer: Uhhh, yes.
AxeJeevesExecs: We've heard enough! See?? They are confused!! Time to Axe Jeeves!
There were also a handful of comments about a couple of hundred bloggers not making a difference. Yet, this site hasn't even existed for a week, and as any web researcher will tell you, for the tiny minority of people that will actually take the time to type in a response to an article, there's a large majority that may have a similar opinion but simply can't be troubled to make a post. (Though I imagine it would be much easier to simply stop visiting a search site because it's just not as appealing anymore) Also, the greatest percentage of Jeeves users are not likely to even know about this blog yet, nor would they be aware that their beloved mascot is about to get dumped. Their first notification will probably be the moment that they go to the AskJeeves website and are greeted with a dull ASK, staring at them blankly, with no butler/valet to liven up the party.
And of course, there's also the die-hard google fanatics that just come here to flame. To them, I urge them with a challenge to try some searches and see for themselves which engine answers better. Jeeves won't beat Google every time, yet Google most certainly won't win every time either (in fact I'd bet Jeeves would get the edge if a wide enough variety of queries were used). Of course, these die-hards would probably never switch anyway, no matter how full of page-spam Google gets, whether or not AskJeeves uses the butler/valet, just ASK, or a talking iguana.
In the end, I'm glad for the publicity Jeeves is getting through this site, I just hope that some of the higher-ups will take note and reconsider their ill-fated choice (I would also bet that there's probably a large number, if not a majority of execs that probably feel that it's a bad idea, but are afraid to naysay the other bigger power-players). Of course, I could just be wrong about everything, and perhaps this really IS just a very clever ploy by Barry Diller himself, who by all accounts is a very, very bright man. Stranger things have happened, and I can only hope this is the case.
Thanks again for tuning in!