cuts 40 jobs in reorganization

Ask cuts 8 percent of its workforce and plans to focus on core group searching for answers.

As expected, is cutting 40 jobs--8 percent of its work force--as part of a restructuring to refocus the search company toward providing answers to its core audience of women searching on entertainment, health, and reference topics, the company said on Tuesday.
"Today, we unveiled a new direction for," Chief Executive Jim Safka said in a statement. "Moving forward, we will focus on our core customers, and what they come to for most: answers. Our loyal base of 45 million unique users come to for answers at a rate that is three times more than any other major search engine."

Meanwhile, the company said it will be hiring some new employees to help with the transition, as well as add more community-generated responses and look for partners. Teoma will remain part of the search technology, the company said.

The reorganization, Safka's first move since assuming the CEO spot from Jim Lanzone in January, is aimed at helping grow its market share from the current 5 percent. Competing head-on with the Google and the others hasn't narrowed the gap, so the idea is to focus on a core demographic and answers to questions, specifically.

Given that Yahoo laid off more than 1,000 workers last month, Google is suddenly looking at some surprising slow growth in paid search ad numbers, and Microsoft is looking to buy Yahoo to better compete in search and ads, it's not such a surprise that the No. 4 search engine would be hitting snags of its own.

Although, has undergone more cosmetic surgery than most, changing its name from Ask Jeeves, dropping the butler logo, redesigning the site numerous times and shaking up management along the way.

The Wall Street Journal first reported the layoffs.

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