Ask Jeeves will lose the eponymous butler and rebrand as Ask, Diller told investors.
Jeeves is dead.
Barry Diller told investors on Wednesday that Ask Jeeves, recently acquired by IAC/InterActiveCorp, would drop the butler and go forward with the Ask brand.
"Jeeves will disappear, and we will be called Ask or Ask.com, probably Ask," Diller, IAC's chairman and CEO, announced at a Goldman Sachs conference. "Not that I don't like that fat butler, though he's actually a thinner butler now."
Diller said the company had conducted research to confirm his instincts that the Jeeves character was not creating the desired image for the company. He had hinted about his plans to get rid of the butler at an investor conference in August.
Jeeves got a makeover a year ago, slimming down and getting a more modern look. The move was not enough to make the character relevant to IAC's vision of what Ask will become.
"This is a very big business for us. It is potentially the glue for almost all of our services," Diller said. "Getting that integrated with the company is probably the next priority."
Ask will become the hub for many of IAC's properties, like its Citysearch local search business, and its various retailing and online services businesses.
The company is in the midst of an agency review to see who will guide Ask through its rebranding The company declined to comment, but reportedly has narrowed its search to incumbent TBWA/Chiat/Day in San Francisco and independent shop Hanft Unlimited in New York, which handles IAC's Match.com.
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Kevin Newcomb joined ClickZ in August 2004, covering search marketing and other online marketing topics. He has been reporting on web-based businesses since 2000.
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