IAC Plans to Curtail Ask Jeeves Search Ads

NEW YORK IAC executives said they would probably reduce the number of ads returned by its newly acquired search engine, Ask Jeeves.

During IAC’s second-quarter conference call, chief financial officer Tom McInerney said the Emeryville, Calif., search engine would cut its paid listings to come more in line with other search engines. Ask Jeeves currently returns up to nine text ads on the top of its search results pages, compared to two for the same search on Google, which also shows advertiser results along the side.

Ask Jeeves plans this month to begin selling the top search advertising listings itself through a Google-like pay-per-click auction, with Google ads filling in the rest. Ask Jeeves and Google have a search ad distribution partnership through August 2007.

McInerney said the move would lead to decreased revenue from Ask Jeeves in the near term, but IAC expects an improved user experience would result in more searches and more clicks on ads in the long term.

IAC closed its $1.9 billion acquisition of Ask Jeeves two weeks ago.