Prius Takes Over Dictionary.com

By Matt Van Hoven 

These days we use sites like dictionary dot com a lot more than we do the actual paper-and-binding books. If you’ve ever used dictionary dot com, you know it’s maybe the worst looking Web site of all time. But today it looks kinda pretty, thanks to the Toyota Prius.

Well, the front page looks nice, at least. This Ask dot com property gets massive traffic. It’s a keyword hound and for good reason. So naturally it’s a really good place to drop ads. Except for one nagging little problem &#151 with such a wide variety of search terms, how do you focus the ads to an audience? The MO seems to be keyword-related ads similar to GoogleAds.

The result is a really boring, text heavy ad system that sometimes tricks you into clicking a text banner when maybe all you wanted to do was see what Encyclopedia dot com had to say about the word “alfalfa.”

So it’s understandable that the dictionary (and relatives like encyclopedia, thesaurus, etc) are pretty ugly. The image above is what you see on the homepage today, though. This is a rare thing &#151 when an ad actually pretties up the site it’s on.

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