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It's able to interpret what you're looking for better than anyone else. It's really good at guessing what you're after.
The results are (generally) less spammy than what I see elsewhere. BUT (it's a big one) Ask's results are stale - very stale.
294 - March
940 - April
1037 - May
1278 - June
3290 - July (projected)
This website only has around 1,200 pages. So I'm starting to wonder:
Is Ask finally going to come around and provid "fresh" results? If so, they might be a contender. They are doing a lot of advertising in the NY Metro, which is a very expensive market.
Let me guess, poor rankings for you = poor search engine.
I haven't seen any published data on relevence, but a couple of months ago I conducted a test (which consisted of a series of about 10 questions from a grade school homework assignment) Ask did the best job of interpreting the search query and returning the appropriate results.
And for the record, I probably get less traffic from Ask then I should. But that doesn't make me sour on their search engine.
I know a 1 year old website in one off my categories that has an Alexa rank better than
I know alexa rankings are not definitive, but within the top 100,000, they're quite good,,,,,
As for spidering it has purges on some of the sites we work on but i recently noticed one site getting a real pounding by the bot, i mean very heavy spidering, normally where ive seen this in the past the site in question has improved in the ask search results - we will see this time.
In conclusion, i notice ask is increasing its bot activity over all so perhaps it is about to deliver something.