Barry Diller's IAC acquired Ask.com (then known as Ask Jeeves) in 2005.
He spent $1.85 billion to compete with Google.
Obviously, it wasn't much of a fight.
“We’ve realized in the last few years you can’t compete head on with Google,” Diller said recently.
Now, finding a return on that investment and a marketplace that Ask.com can own, has been the company's primary goal.
The company has just announced that it is ceasing work on its algorithmic search technology, and will focus its resources on developing its online question-and-answer service--which was the heart and soul of the original Ask Jeeves service.
“It’s (Google) become this huge juggernaut of a company that we really thought we could compete against by innovating,” Ask.com President Doug Leeds said in an interview. “We did a great job of holding our market share but it wasn’t enough to grow the way IAC had hoped we would grow when it bought us.”
Ask.com is currently ranked sixth among search providers, has less than 2 percent marketshare.
Ask will now face competition from startups such as Quora, Formspring, ChaCha and Google-owned Aardvark. Facebook recently began its own Q&A feature, and earlier this year.