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Ask Jeeves to partner with

In a bid to bolster its e-commerce efforts, the natural-language search company will partner with to feature consumer product ratings on its Web site.

In a bid to bolster its e-commerce efforts, natural-language search company Ask Jeeves will partner with to feature consumer product ratings on its Web site, the companies are expected to announce Monday.

Through its Deja Ratings service, ranks various products based on consumer reviews by unpaid volunteers. The Web site features more than 800,000 consumer ratings, covering more than 35,000 products and services, according to the company.

"We are pleased to extend Deja Ratings and reviews to Ask Jeeves customers," Mark Cantor, vice president of business development for, said in a statement.

Ask Jeeves has scored numerous contracts to provide corporate Web sites with natural search services, including a deal earlier this week with Microsoft to partner on the software giant's Ask Maxwell online help service.

The company, best known for its cartoon mascot butler, has also taken steps to expand service in the consumer market. The pending deal comes about a month after Ask Jeeves launched a shopping channel aimed at directing consumers to products on the Web.

Although Ask Jeeves already offers links to product reviews on its site--for example, toy reviews from company spokeswoman said the deal will provide consistency for reviews across the site.

Yesterday, Ask Jeeves was hit with a patent infringement suit over its natural-language query technology. The suit was filed in Boston by a pair of professors from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

"We intend to aggressively defend against the suit," said Ask Jeeves spokeswoman Heather Staples, who added that the suit was without merit.