The really good news is that the search engine is also cutting down on the number of ads it displays and it will clearly display sponsored links in the results page. The new design goes live at 10pm tonight.
It's much cleaner. They now have "related link" for Web and Picture. I wanna see "Related Link" for news, products, etc...
It seems that their banner is very important to them. They won't let it go. It takes up alot of space at the top. I don't know, I think they should find a solution on converting banner ad to some other form of advertisement.
my suggestion. Take out the banner Ad and put it in the current "featured sponsor" and rename it to " Banner Ad". Then change "featured sponsor" to a text based ad, like google adword. This will eliminate the annoying wasted space the current banner ad takes up. If I were askUK user, I'd be annoyed at how much real estate the Tag-Along FRAME is using.
jeevesguy, the tag-along frame in askUK takes up too much space.
The banner is there for good - ask.co.uk have just signed an agreement with Touch PLC - who will be acting as resellers for the banner (see [webmasterworld.com...] ).
The change of format at the bottom of the page is interesting. Previously this contained a drop down box for all the main PPC engines (a space saving way of displaying LOTS of PPC results). This has been replaced with a simple "Seach these other sites" format. Unless anyone sees differently, it also looks as though Ask.co.uk has abandoned Espotting results, along with DirectHit, DealTime and Kelkoo results. Overture, Mirago and WebFinder remain. New additions are Lycos.co.uk and Last Minute (for travel terms). Anyone know why Ask.co.uk would agree to link to Lycos.co.uk (a competitor)?
Overall this change will probably make the page load much faster (not calling in results from others/less html) - but will reduce further the number of clicks these links at the bottom get.