Friday, October 21, 2005

We're # on all major search engines!!!

How's that for quick growth??

Type in Save Jeeves, and this blog and related links will fill the first page of results on all the major search engines. That's right, not only on Ask Jeeves, but also Google, Yahoo, and even the oh-so-colorless MSN (hopefully not to be outdone someday by an equally colorless ask.com)

A few days after the creation of this blog, only one search engine ranked this page (it was #2 result on Ask Jeeves -- go go search technology!) After the BBC and other articles started pouring, I then watched the results climb the ranks and now we're sitting pretty at the top.

Thank you to all of you posters, the news outlets, and the very large number of bloggers and blogwatchers that have picked up the story!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Article on TheStreet by Jonathan Berr

Nice new article on TheStreet, covering the Save Jeeves movement. I'm also gladdened to hear that it's not just people at Jeeves, but also some people at IAC that think this is a bad move for the company.

http://www.thestreet.com/_tscs/tech/jonathanberr/10247987.html

Monday, October 10, 2005

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?
Consumer: Yes
Research Company: Do you remember him doing natural language queries?
Consumer: Yes
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!

Friday, October 07, 2005

Keep up the good work!

Again, thanks for your words and your overwhelming support. Your comments and thoughts continue to come in, and are being read not just by me, but by the people at Jeeves at well. Please continue to spread the emails around, tell your friends, your local paper or any other media outlets you have access to. Also, if you can, take a moment to contact the people at Ask Jeeves or IAC at any of the links below.

http://sp.ask.com/docs/about/aj/contact_us.htm

http://webk.ask.com/contactus

http://www.iac.com/index/contact_us.htm

Tell them that you want our beloved butler/valet to stay!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Thank you all Jeeves Fans, and the BBC!

Well, it looks like we're now being covered by the BBC. I've placed a link to the article on this page, and want to thank the people who have commented thus far for their enthusiasm and eloquence. Please keep it up, I expect some US papers will be covering us soon enough.

I'm still trying to sift through all the wonderful comments, but there are getting to be so many and there are so many outstanding observations I'm both overwhelmed and moved at the creativity of you, the everyday users. I'll try to keep up as best as I can, but the most important thing is to keep spreading the word, send out emails, tell your friends, send messages to Jeeves and IAC company sites, post on newsgroups and blogs, wherever you can, until the company leadership gets the message.

Also, my sincere apologies to our UK friends, but we yanks do use an alternate (if somewhat cruder) form of the english language, and to us -- the Jeeves character is a butler. (In fact, here a valet is a person who parks cars for a living). But if valet is the term and spirit in which he was created, I'm okay with that as well, and I stand corrected. I hope this publicity and his continued usage on the Ask Jeeves site as the internet's MOST recognizable face brings many more young readers to discover the joys of PG Wodehouse.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Jeeves Users Speak Out!

This blog hasn't even been widely distributed yet, and already there is good feedback. Please keep the post coming, and let the people at Jeeves/IAC know what a terrible mistake it is, that they are about to make.

+++edit - we have now made the BBC, and other papers are sure to follow, keep it up folks!!! your comments are astounding and powerful+++

In this post I will keep track of the best comments and arguments posed by the Jeeves fans!

Anonymous said...

It still seems to me that Jeeves has not been used to his full potential. Maybe he goes to a new country everyday and teaches people about the world by having him shown participating in some local custom, cuisine, festival etc...

People like to go check out what he wears for holidays, so maybe make things like that more often.

Also, what was up with the commericals -- why did they show people like William Hung instead of having an animated Jeeves? That would have been awesome. I was so dissappointed with them, and it must have cost a lot. It seems like another lost opportunity with Jeeves.




Sarah UK said...

I am the mother of a bright 6 year old girl who loves the internet, the wife of a heavily dyslexic man who stuggles with the reams of useless information discovered by other search engines and a university educated heavy internet user myself. We all "employ" Jeeves nearly all of the time!
He is the human face of the internet and one of the most recognisable company logos of the modern net. He adds a degree of personality, humour and warmth to the impersonal internet search.
Axing him would be the biggest mistake that Ask could make. Without Jeeves I don't see any reason why I or my family would opt to continue using the site.
My little girl often says "Jeeves will know Mummy", can you honestly imagine her building that level of attatchment to the impersonal Google or MSN search engines? She and I are surely representative of the future of the internet?
The whole point of the internet is choice is it not? I choose humanity and warmth.
SAVE JEEVES!



sheina in argentina! said...

"You cannot be serious!!" I am now in South America and always use Jeeves, which invariably gives me the best replies on an international level. The only time I use others is when I want to look up "pages in Argentina" only - and what's the point of removing Jeeves, who is the very essence of the site!
... and as for "unwanted toolbars, etc", just click on "view", "toolbars" and untick (if there is such a word) AskJeeves bar! Perhaps this is too complicated for some users!
Long live Jeeves.



Anonymous said...

Classic business error being made here by ASK. They have got a bunch of highly paid consultants in to advise them what to do. Now put yourself in the consultants shoes and ask yourselves.

"Should I advise 'Do Nothing' or should I try and justify my extortionate fee and suggest something radical"

The answer is plain to see.

They chose the latter easier option.

Question.

Would Shell get rid of their icon?

Ask the customers what they want



Anonymous said...

At a time when other net-based companies are trying to *humanize* their cold faces (witness the MSN "Butterfly" and the Vehix... whatever that guy in the black unitard is), it seems oddly miscalculated (aka just plain dumb) to throw out the very thing that makes Ask Jeeves appealing and user friendly -- JEEVES.



Seattle Slew said...

Jeeves Rocks! He's versatile--he can be cool, hip, stuffy, mod, old-fashioned, righteous, you name it!. Absolutely, to get rid of him when he is one of the few remaining "pioneers of the internet", one of the last truly recognizable figures is just maybe the new owners' first step to burying the company.

When seemingly every company out there tries so hard to create ADD-inducing ads with over the top "beautiful people", hip-hop-techno dance tunes & all the other blah,blah,blah that the corporate suits think will sell their wares, Jeeves is doing it up old-school: we recognize him, know him and trust him.

Students, young and old professionals, tech-geeks, et al. would each love to have a personal butler as trustworthy as Jeeves to do his/her bidding; I have "employed" Jeeves for years & don't want to see him end (I even named my horse after him!)

What can I say? DON'T GET RID OF HIM....kudos to Jeeves' artist for keeping the company's symbol fresh, alive, real & fun all of these years!!!!!



Harry Spiller said...

Dear Barry Diller

Our names rhyme
Ask Jeeves is always on time
no need to spend a dime
It'd be a crying crime
sourer than a mexican lime
please don't kill Jeeves cause i'm
sure you'd never clean the grime
squashing our happy butler would leave behind
please pretty please preserve the hottest dude online.

ya dig?

Harley Spiller, fan of Ask Jeeves



AnonJeevesEmployee said...

I am SO glad someone is speaking up about this. Have you seen the past UK marketing campaign for Jeeves? They were phenomenal. You want results? Boot the US marketing firms, or at least have them take notes from the UK marketers. The response to the UK ads was always amazing, and the brand is immensely strong in the UK (and not just because Jeeves was a UK persona).



Anonymous said...

I work in IT. When I start training family and friends how to use search engines, I start them with the friendly face of Jeeves. Some of them have never sought further afield. As for me, it's always one of my two search engines of choice.



Anonymous said...

Mr. Diller,

As a shareholder of IACI I wonder why you would consider dumping your newly acquired brand name face and then have to hire an advertising firm to come up with another logo and then spend more money advertising "your new look."

The valet Jeeves is recognizable world wide and personally I like the knowing smirk on his face. I'd even add his face to the registered trade mark of Ask.com.

I know a friend who even phrases his queries with the word please simply because the valet is watching. I'm sure you have a valet (or two), please leave us with ours.



Callie said...

Please don't axe Jeeves - I used him when I started using the internet and I tell all the young people I teach to use Jeeves to get them started on internet searches. It is a very good intro to search engine too, I still use it regularly. It is much more user friendly than some of the soulless alternatives



Anonymous said...

Sounds like a typical piece of corporate bullshine founded out of change for change's sake, "we know best", and "not invented here". If they turn Ask Jeeves into just another anonymous search engine up against Google etc. then it will undoubtedly fail If IAC are too dumb to realise that then it's their look out -- we've still got Google.



Steve Read said...

What would MacDonalds be without their "M" - what would any company be without it's most recognised logo? Perhaps in the case of Jeeves it is simply that the guys at the top have lost sight of the ground! Fact is - "Jeeves" IS what made the site what it is, and enough people are telling the new owners so - they are just too blind to see and too deaf to hear.Time to WAKE UP!- and stop being so stupid - If it Works, don't fix it!"



Anonymous said...

I wonder if they're calling our bluff and hoping that this will result in getting people who are passionate about Jeeves to drum up web noise about it - creating a campaign (very much like this one) that would stir up loyalty among existing users and raise awareness among non-users.
Heck of a gamble tho...



A. Koontz said...

Mr. Diller,

I know you know a good thing when you see it, otherwise you wouldn't have bought AskJeeves in the first place. I trust Jeeves. Take him away and who will I trust? AskDiller? AskBallmer? Don't think so.

Do the right thing.

A Koontz



Anonymous said...

Please don't axe Jeeves! That's a brand icon for the company, and removing it removes the essence of what Ask Jeeves has always been. As a brand strategist, I cannot imagine what the plain vanilla version of Ask Jeeves will do for the organization moving forward, but I can guarantee you it will not be positive.

Keep your differentiation! That's what makes Ask Jeeves so great.



Anonymous said...

Save Jeeves please! We use Ask all the time and it would be a crime to remove the one thing that attracted us in the first place. Yet another example of big business riding roughshod over companies they take over.

The easy answer if they do get rid of him is to use another search engine. Remember - we have the power at the end of the day.



Anonymous said...

Dear the people at Ask Jeeves,

What is Ask Jeeves without Jeeves the butler? What are you going to replace him with? A talking duck?

Ask Jeeves is the image of your website. If you remove him, he will be very hard to replace.

Yours faithfully,
Chris Lozau
chris4 [(at)] hotmail co uk



Anonymous said...

Without the Butler, I and all of my family members,11 in all, will drop the Jeeves site.



Anonymous said...

If they want to lose users (as apparently they do) they'll go ahead and drop Jeeves regardless of public outcry.

I for one would like to see Jeeves around for years to come. I don't have much hope as the corporate big wigs are usually off on their own tangent and could give a crap less about the views of the consumers of their products.



Anonymous said...

I thought it a monumentally stupid decision from when I first heard about it.

*** Save Jeeves! ***