Ask really threw me for a guilt trip. I stand by my criticism of their ad campaign (as I think do most) and a poor man’s review of their traffic suggests it hasn’t delivered (though, admittedly, Compete data is incomplete and only through May). Then again, through my investigation , I found Ask performs well when searching for products and services.
It seems I need to update that investigation.
Ask leaped ahead of Google’s Universal Search with a redesign of their SERP being dubbed Ask3d. A clean 3 paneled results page moves the search box and refinement options (Narrow by, related searches, related names, etc.) to the left, making sponsored results more prominent in the center of the page. I can more easily overlook the box and variables unless I need them, allowing me to concentrate on the content without having to scroll down to ignore the Ask branded material.
To the right are the accessories Google has tried to integrate, to my dissatisfaction, within the search results: images, music tracks, weather, news, events, and encyclopedia. Again, keeping the SERP clean and specific to search results while other valuable content remains within reach.
Way to go Ask!