The unintentionally funniest--and most poignant--line from Ask Jeeves CFO Steve Sordello's presentation yesterday at a Lehman conference came during his analysis of Ask Jeeves' brand awareness.
"Ask Jeeves has 80-85% aided brand awareness," Sordello told the audience. "That means, you go up to somebody and ask Do you know what Ask Jeeves is, they'll say Yeah, it's a search engine."
Sounds good, right?
Unfortunately, Sordello continued, unaided awareness is only 20-25%. Ask people to name search engines, and Jeeves only comes up one out of four or five times. "People know about us," Sordello explains, "they just don't recall us."
Yes. And people know who Weird Al Yankovic is, they just don't recall him.
Like all public companies with a hot past and a deteriorating future, Jeeves is trying its best to keep up with the Googles, buying up a slew of companies and turning on the spending faucet. "We think marketing here is gonna tremendously help close that gap" between those who know about Jeeves but don't bother to use it, Sordello declares rather hopefully.
It's a happy thought. But the reality is, Ask Jeeves' 15 minutes of fame--like Weird Al Yankovic's--looks just about up.
I'm Not Making This Up