The phone buzzed in my pocket. It was my sister from Portland telling me about a full-page Ask.com ad in Tuesday's New York Times. It quoted one of my blog posts in very big letters. I haven't seen the ad, but my words, according to my sister: "From now on, I'm going to start using Ask.com..."
At first I felt like a movie critic whose single words--Gripping, Spellingbinding, Awesome!--are lifted from reviews and plastered on billboards. I dug up the blog post. It was a favorable look at Ask, so I cannot say my words were taken out of context. Here's the paragraph:
Are ads, sponsored links and search engine optimization screwing up search results? I just did a little test, and my conclusion is Yes. From now on, I'm going to start using Ask.com and other less popular sites, because I think they're less polluted by all of the above.
I should probably note that despite that bold statement in May, I still find myself typing search requests in the handy Google slot on the Safari browser. This is the giant's built-in advantage, its installed base. Ask will need to knock off my socks a few more times to disrupt my search routines. Just did a little test and searched the post on both engines. Ask responded with one post, the correct one. Google found 85, but put the correct one first.