- My Mentorship at Ask.com
Ask.com is a popular website that people visit to get their questions answered. I had the chance to have my own experience at Ask.com through the Spark Oakland program – a national mentoring program for middle school students. I was matched with the public relations team at Ask because I like to write. My mentors were Valerie Combs, vice president of corporate communications and Suraya Akbarzad, senior PR manager.
My experience at Ask.com was unbelievable and I met a lot of new and professional people. I thought it was going to be boring and old fashioned. It wasn’t - the offices were decorated with cute and fun toys and the people look like they really enjoy their jobs. I also saw that Ask.com cares about their users.
For my Spark project, we decided to do a social media campaign. The first piece of the project was this blog post! Together we discussed the activities of each day and began writing the post. We knew we needed pictures to go with the post so we went to the roof of the Ask.com building and took pictures under the Ask logo. As you can see – I had a great time! We also worked on a Facebook post and a tweet to help spread the word. We came up with hashtags for the posts and tweet. An Instagram post will be coming later tonight from our Discover Night presentation.
My experiences throughout the mentoring program showed me how companies work on social media campaigns and other company announcements. My mentors showed me the different Ask.com sites and social media channels and taught me what their jobs are all about. I was even able to get a sneak peek of the company’s end-of-year announcements.
I really learned a lot at Ask.com and am excited to present my project at our Discovery Night showcase tonight!
- Angelica, Student at Bret Harte Middle School, Oakland
- Ask Ranks 2013's Top Viral Videos and Memes
Who doesn’t love a good viral video? Ask ranked the year’s most popular viral videos and memes.
The Dove Real Beauty Sketches and Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield’s rendition of “Space Oddity” made the top video list while an unflattering Beyonce and a photo-bombing Bill Clinton were among the most popular memes of 2013.
Did your favorites make the list? Check out the full list at theKnow.com!
- Suraya Akbarzad, Ask.com
- My First Week at Ask.com
My first week working at Ask.com was also my first week working in any sort of corporate environment, so when I signed on to join Ask’s Customer Care team in Oakland, CA, I had no idea what to expect.
As a recent graduate with a B.A. in Psychology, my lack of experience in customer care and the corporate world at large left me wondering what Eric McKirdy, Manager of Global Customer Care at Ask, thought I could bring to the team. After my first week, I discovered that psychology, understanding how and why people behave, react and respond the way they do, has lent itself to my new job more than any prior training could have—which is exactly what Eric believed to be true when he hired me. Eric operates under the belief that rather than waiting for a user to file a complaint with our website, being proactive and interacting with users on a personal and one-to-one basis will create an overall more positive experience for each person that visits our website. This means getting rid of automated responses and instead, working individually with each person to understand how we can improve their experience. With thousands of people visiting the site every day, and with Eric’s unique approach, I understood why he considered a thorough understanding of behavioral psychology to be more valuable than prior experience in customer care.
I quickly learned to throw out all expectations I had of life in the corporate world. As I walked through the office, I discovered they were filled with bright pink inflatable unicorns, a life-sized chess board, and a kitchen filled with more snacks than I ever had in my own pantry. From the flexible dress code (“jeans and t-shirts if you’d like”) to the “take what you need” vacation policy, employee satisfaction seems to be one of the top priorities at Ask. The company policies emphasize the idea that people who are happy and excited to come to work each day are far more productive than those who feel restricted or micro-managed in the work that they do.
On my first official tour of the office, I was introduced to the company’s CEO Doug Leeds, who I’m sure had many (far more important) things to do. And yet, Doug took a few minutes to welcome me to the office and ask about my background, without giving any implication that he had somewhere else to be. Doug’s welcoming nature is the most consistent and striking aspect of my first week at Ask. Every coworker has offered me advice and encouragement, as well as a look inside the work that they do behind the scenes of the well-known Q&A website. As I am learning the ropes of my new job, I have found that I am surrounded by extremely intelligent and experienced coworkers who all have one thing in common—they are happy to be working at Ask.
Every day that passes is another day filled with new experiences for me—and I feel lucky to be joining Ask at a time when the company seems to have some exciting changes around the corner. I look forward to working with such a dynamic group of people, and will be sure to share more glimpses inside the unconventional headquarters at Ask.com!
- Amy Horowitz, Global Customer Care Technician, Ask.com
- 2013's Most Popular Questions and Search Terms Unveiled!
As another year draws to a close, Ask took a stroll down memory lane for a look back at the questions and searches that drove your curiosity the most in 2013. Babies reigned supreme in the search world this year, with top overall news and celebrity searches about North West and Royal Baby Prince George.
Ask users followed the buzz around Miley’s VMA performance and made sure to set their DVRs for the series finale of Breaking Bad. You also turned to us to answer questions about this year’s more serious matters like Typhoon Haiyan and the recent government shut down.
Check out the full 2013 list - did any of your questions make the cut?
- Suraya Akbarzad, Ask.com
- Happy Hump Day!
Have you checked out theKnow yet? Whether you’re in the mood for a quick nugget of entertainment or something more intellectual, theKnow promises to deliver. And just in time for Hump Day, check out this recent viral video:
- Suraya Akbarzad, Ask.com
Content powers the web. Be it user generated, curated, professional, or marketing driven, content is usually what pulls you online, and if it wasn’t, compelling content is sure as heck the thing that will keep you there.
Search and content are continuously dependent and intertwined – search engines reward good content by making it easily discoverable to millions of people, while the explosion of digital content fosters growing demand for effective search tools. At Ask, we know this interplay well, hence our current strategy to embrace a more content-rich Q&A product experience. So, naturally, it makes sense for us to experiment with content from a branding and marketing perspective as well. Think about it: what better way to get folks to try out Ask than through compelling content that actually inspires questions?
Enter theKnow – Ask’s first truly unique editorial destination. Our goal is to offer users a different cut of the Ask brand – a different voice and an editorial point of view that (we think) is pretty unique in the marketplace. We strive to answer the questions you never knew you had, fulfilling our promise through intellectual dialogue and/or witty cocktail party fodder. In a nutshell, we aim to deliver the most fascinating and relevant info distilled from today’s headlines with clarity, intelligence and our own brand of humor.
In other words, we’re gonna have fun and we want you to come along for the ride! That might mean some occasional cat pictures, we won’t lie. But we’ll also go deeper. Why should you care about cronuts? Check.
An expose on the woman behind Siri’s voice? Got it. Details on the Woody Allen films no one pays attention to – but should? You’ll find that too. And don’t worry, as the brainchild of a world class Q&A brand, we also have a healthy dose of useful how-to’s, like how to master the perfect downward dog pose, or a guide for all the ridiculous ways you can literally blow wads of cash should you become a millionaire. Oh, and you can get your celeb fix too.
Ultimately, we hope to get those neurons firing and hey, if one of the articles from our fabulous contributors sparks a question, it’s a hop, skip and a jump over to you-know-where!
So take a cruise through theKnow and tell us what you think – the good, the bad and the ugly. What you want to see more of, less of or not at all. We promise you won’t hurt our feelings. And if you like something, by all means share the love on any social network of your choice. Speaking of social, feel absolutely free to like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter. Just saying.
Here’s to the start of something special!
- TheKnow Team @ Ask.com
- Hiding Your Internet Searches? You're Not Alone
The Internet is a great place to find information on everything from news and fun facts to the best restaurants and deals on those new boots you’ve been eyeing. But we all search for much more than what we share with our friends and loved ones. So it got us thinking…what are some of the secrets of how consumers search online? Enter, Ask.com’s Online Consumer Search Habits study, and the results are quite interesting!
We weren’t surprised to see that two-thirds of online consumers kept searches private from others (we get it) but we were surprised to see that 35% of online consumers kept their searches secret from their significant others!
And it wasn’t just what online consumers were searching but where they were conducting searches that caught our attention. The study showed that we value our alone time on the toilet to conduct online searches. Guess its a good time to focus!
You can see more results from Ask’s online search behavior here.
So…where do YOU search??
- Suraya Akbarzad, Ask.com
- Holiday Shopping in October?!
Well…not quite, but a survey of Ask.com users did reveal that consumers are at least thinking about their holiday shopping strategies. Surprisingly, 40% of respondents said they’re going to skip the crowds and craziness of Black Friday by shopping earlier. And it looks like West Coast shoppers may skip the stores altogether by hitting up online retailers instead. East Coasters, you still prefer to hit the stores to check out the goods, first hand.
Which brands are shoppers most eager to get their hands on? How much will they be spending? And when will they kick off their holiday shopping adventures? Check out the full results of the Ask.com survey here.
- Suraya Akbarzad, Ask.com
- Anatomy of Killer Customer Service - A Fun Interactive Infographic!
Several business trends have emerged over the past few years, one of the most prolific of which has centered around customer experience, and specifically the way companies and brands interact with customers and users. In early 2012, Ask.com revamped our entire customer service approach toward a more personalized customer care experience. That got us wondering how Ask users felt about customer service in general, and the experiences people have on a daily basis.
As the below interactive infographic shows, 2000 of our users shared their thoughts with us. The most telling statistic: 65% of users have had their opinion of a brand changed simply by a customer service interaction! It’s no surprise, since in many cases customer service is the only direct contact a brand has with its users. Yet so many companies still choose to farm out customer service operations to third-party vendors whose employees lack the institutional knowledge to speak authoritatively and confidently about the brand!
Check out some of the other effects of existing corporate approaches to customer service in the interactive infographic and mouse over the customer service rep for examples of great customer support at work!
To share this interactive infographic on your own site, use the embed code below:
<iframe src=”http://www.ogmog.com/INFOGRAPHICS/ASK_OP/infographic.html" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" height="700" width="500" name="csInfo" seamless>Iframes must be enabled to view this content.</iframe>
- Eric McKirdy, Worldwide Customer Care and Technical Support Manager, Ask.com
- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Regift
The new school year is well under way here in the States and in countries all over the world. Unfortunately, not every student has access to the resources that help make the most educational impact. Recently, the Ask.com IT team was preparing some outdated laptops for our e-waste disposal service when an awesome opportunity came along.
We found out about the Uganda Mission Support Project and students at the Zana Christian School in Kampala, Uganda who had two computers for the 85 students to learn computer skills. Looking at the 29 laptops we were about to throw away, it was a no-brainer to wipe them clean and ship them to the school – who would otherwise pay upwards of $700 for an unreliable computer that would crash within 6 months.
Sometimes it doesn’t take much to make a big difference in someone’s lives and we’re glad to see the students in Kampala, Uganda already putting those laptops to good use!
- Suraya Akbarzad, Ask.com