Page one of a one-word search performed on Ask.com returned the usual 10 listings - nothing peculiar about that. However, as I clicked through to the next couple of pages, I noticed something strange going on regarding the number of sites listed per page, which I've outlined below. Page 1 .......... 10 results Page 2 ........... 6 results Page 3 ........... 5 results Page 4 ........... 4 results Page 5 ........... 3 results Page 6 ........... 9 results Page 7 .......... 10 results Page 8 .......... 10 results Page 9 .......... 9 results
Sponsored ads were pretty consistent, didn't seem to have anything to do with it.
Additionally, page 5 to 9 were consistently displaying only pages that had the keyword as the only word in their title, like this:
Widgets This is our site about blue widgets. www.somesite.com/widgets.html
Widgets Our widgets come in all the colors of the rainbow. www.anothersite.com/widgets/index.html
Widgets Here's another site about widgets, blue, red and purple. www.yetanothersite.com/widgets.html
Also worth mentioning is that most of these pages were extremely outdated, sometimes the links even resulted in 404 errors.
I tried some other searches and found the same thing happening, but with varying numbers of search results per page.
I've also noticed the one-keyword search-term and page-title correlation -- and sometimes even on the first page of results.
I've also noticed that their "binoculars" which used to display data about the listed sites from a competitive intelligence company when you hovered your mouse over them no longer seems to work for many sites, and is also very slow even when it does work.
On thing that they neglected to notice when they fired Jeeves the butler was that he used to keep the place running fairly smoothly. It looks like that job is no longer being done, and it's really too bad...