Expands Web-Based Smart Answers Across New Categories to Address Millions More User Questions

The Sports Network, Lonely Planet, IGN Entertainment and other expert sites combine with people-powered answers to fuel's growing Q&A service

Aug 18, 2011, 08:00 ET from

OAKLAND, Calif., Aug. 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- today announced several partnerships to drive the expansion of Smart Answers across new categories, enabling people to more easily find actual answers– not links – while searching on topics like sports, recipes, travel and music. Ask has partnered with leading brands including Sports Network, Lonely Planet, Calorie Counter, IGN Entertainment and to power the new Smart Answers, which contain an exact answer to a user's question, right at the top of the page. Smart Answers work in concert with's Q&A user community, currently in limited beta, to offer answers from a wealth of sources – both published data and a community of real people – all in one place.

" is unique from other Q&A sites in that we have a real mechanism for scouring the Web for answers to questions, in addition to helping people connect with each other for information," said Shane McGilloway, executive vice president of business operations at "With Smart Answers, users do a search or ask a question and get a clear cut answer from a credible source in a fraction of a second – an approach that yields increased user satisfaction as well as frequency and retention. With the expansion of Smart Answers into these new, high volume categories, millions more people will experience this benefit."

To ensure quality, generates Smart Answers from a select pool of content partners carefully vetted based on criteria like authority, relevance and subject matter depth. Natural language processing is used to match exact answers to specific questions. Smart Answers appear immediately on and within the Ask mobile Q&A app, and can include images, video and, if appropriate, user ratings. Users can then get further information by posing questions to one another in the user community once a Smart Answer is provided.

The food, sports and health categories are some of the most popular on By ensuring more answers across these categories, Ask is continuing its investment in its Q&A experience, which is believed to have contributed to an almost 10 percent increase in user satisfaction scores since last year, according to the 2011 American Customer Satisfaction Index, the largest jump for any search engine or portal studied. 

"As one of the most established players in Q&A, sees more questions than practically anyone, and with a growing number of them sports-related, this partnership makes perfect sense," said Ken Zajac, director of sales for The Sports Network. "Smart Answers help people save time and effort, and make it possible for us to engage with millions of Ask users every day." Smart Answers currently address millions of questions, sourced from existing partners such as Weather Underground and Healthline. Examples include:

About is the number one online brand for questions and answers and an operating business of IAC (NASDAQ: IACI).  The Ask Network of sites is the fourth largest property in the US for unique searches according to April 2011 comScore data with 94 million domestic unique monthly users. also syndicates search and advertising solutions to a network of affiliate partners.