Ask Jeeves, NSI in customer service partnership

In an ongoing push to bolster its corporate partnerships, the natural-language search company scores a contract with domain name registrar Network Solutions.

In an ongoing push to bolster its corporate partnerships, natural-language search company Ask Jeeves has scored a contract with domain name registrar Network Solutions to answer consumers' commonly asked questions, the companies announced today.

The contract with Network Solutions (NSI) is one of several Ask Jeeves has won in recent months, including a deal last month with Microsoft to offer services on the software giant's Ask Maxwell online help feature.

For NSI, Ask Jeeves will answer user questions such as "How do I register a domain name?" or "How can my business improve its Internet performance?"

"The key benefit is we'll be able to help customers more quickly and easily by answering commonly asked questions," said Cheryl Regan, an NSI spokeswoman. "It's a way to improve customer service."

As part of its service to NSI, Ask Jeeves will gather customer information by analyzing frequently asked questions and providing detailed reports so the registrar can enhance its Web content and direct product development, distribution and marketing efforts, the company said.

Ask Jeeves, best known for its cartoon mascot butler, also has made efforts to expand its e-commerce service. In a December deal, the Emeryville, Calif.-based search service partnered with Deja.com to offer consumer product ratings on its Web site.

Billed as a "natural language" search engine, Ask Jeeves relies primarily on people to sift through data. In the corporate model, however, a list of answers to commonly asked questions will appear on the user's screen, NSI's Regan said.