Showing posts tagged askdotcom

Moving Up The Ladder

By askdotcom // April 9th, 2014

Ask loves bringing in young minds and giving them the opportunity to learn and grow within the company. Former intern Joey Hinojosa was recently hired as a full-time Search Marketing Specialist at Ask! We talked to Joey about his journey to and through Ask, and some suggestions for turning an internship opportunity into a permanent position.

Q: How did you get your position as an intern here at Ask?

Joey:  I originally applied for another position, but I was coming right out of Sac State and was kind of under-qualified for the position. I never got called back for that job, but I’m glad I still met with Ask because two months later I got an email with an offer for a marketing internship, so I took it!

Q: What was your major at Sac State? How did that prepare you for your internship here at Ask?

Joey: I started out as a Psychology major, but switched into Business Marketing my senior year. I definitely learned the fundamentals of business marketing through classes like advertising, B2B marketing, consumer marketing, business statistics and marketing case studies. However, I feel like I learned the most at internships I had while I was in college. That’s where I learned how to plan and execute marketing campaigns which really prepped me for my internship and job here at Ask.com. Also, once I started my internship at Ask, I was able to grow my skill set to include display advertising and implementing marketing campaigns as well as learning how to navigate through a corporate business environment.

Q: How did you work to secure a full-time position?

Joey: There was a lot of hard work involved. I had weekly 1:1’s with my manager, where we set both short and long-term goals. I was proactive in learning new tools that would make me an asset to the marketing department and Ask. I would set up regular meetings with my peers to help me in areas that I was struggling in.  I would help people out in other departments, which showed that I was a reliable person who was willing to go above and beyond for the company. I was involved in a lot of the extra-curricular activities hosted by Ask so I could get to know more of my fellow colleagues.

Q: Any advice for future interns?

Joey: Cross train—don’t work in just one department, which will limit you. Try to get as much exposure to other departments or within departments. Network within the company and don’t be afraid to ask questions. And go out for drinks or coffee once in a while.

Q: Favorite things about working at Ask?

Joey: The unlimited paid-time-off (PTO) policy. For someone young who loves to travel, that’s super important. The overall environment here is pretty relaxed which is really nice.  And I’ve been fortunate enough to work with a great group of people that I can learn from and relate to. Oh, and the kitchen—I love the snacks!

- Ask.com

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Women 2.0 2014

By askdotcom // February 24th, 2014

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(Photo: Obie Felton of Google.com at Women 2.0 2014 SF)

Ask has always supported women in technology – in fact, approximately 50% of managers here at Ask are women, a rarity among tech companies. Ann Semeraro, Senior Director of Consumer and Market Insights at Ask.com, attended the recent Women 2.0 conference in San Francisco and gives us a quick run-down of the conference highlights and some key takeaways.

Q: What was the overarching theme of the conference?

Ann: Women 2.0’s mission has always been to increase the representation of women in tech companies, especially at the executive level, and to increase the number of women who are founding their own companies. This year’s conference really honed in on the experiences women have founding their own companies and women who are actually a part of the investment stage of companies – either for their own companies or as part of VCs. While women founding their own companies has been happening for years, we’re now seeing an increased number of women participating on the investment side of the equation.

Q: What was your favorite session to attend?

Ann: I really enjoyed the talk Obie Felton gave about Google [X]. She spoke about how Google starts out by identifying big problems that affect millions of people, and then tries to solve for these issues using radical, almost unrealistic solutions. The group believes that by starting with the story they want to tell, they can then use those narratives to inspire their engineers and teams to conceptualize the solution, refining their ideas into something tangible.

Q: Who attended the conference?

Ann: There were many young women, early in their careers and some who were even in college! That was really refreshing to see the younger generations seeing the benefit of these types of conferences and making connections with today’s leading women. There was a mantra throughout the conference, “Give and get”, to help attendees get the most out of the sessions and the event. The thinking is to both give and get something out of each interaction. Give some information about yourself that would be helpful to who you’re talking to. Give an introduction connecting two women who might benefit from meeting one another. And get a new connection for yourself. Get information on the next event that suits your goals. Get a new mentor! This mantra is one that any women can apply to networking events, their own jobs and in other aspects of their lives.

Q: What was the key takeaway for you and for Ask?

Ann: It was great to get outside of our own company and hear how tech is being used to solve problems in different industries—healthcare, education, travel, etc. And it was inspiring to hear about the ideas and innovation being circulated through this network of WOMEN. The importance of having mentors and collaborating was emphasized throughout the conference. For Ask, we’ll definitely be looking for ways to get more of our younger and junior female employees to attend these types of events. 

- Ask.com

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Is Social Media Part of Your Customer Care Strategy? It Should Be!

By askdotcom // February 12th, 2014

Calling a customer service hotline is frustrating—that is just a fact of life.  You’re angry because something isn’t working, you can never find the right phone number to call, get re-directed five times, and somehow you end up paying more and getting less. However, consumers are increasingly turning to social media to get faster and more direct attention from brands when in need of customer support. 

I kicked off 2014 speaking at a few conferences in Florida, San Francisco and Las Vegas about the importance of social media in customer interactions. It’s clear that brands are starting to think about social media and have dedicated resources to manage their social channels, but few are making the connection between social media and customer care. Unfortunately for brands, consumers are way ahead of the game and have figured out that if they post their complaints (and praises) to social media channels, they’re more likely to get the brand’s attention.

Below are a few of my personal examples that illustrate how having the proper social media customer support can help leave your users with a better impression of your brand:

What NOT to do: The following Twitter exchange shows an automated response from speaker manufacturer, an example of practically nonexistent social media customer support.

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Auto responses are one thing, but they didn’t even address my question. Even worse than an automated response, this brand’s inefficient customer support is on display for all of Twitter to see.

What TO do:  A quick and personal response to an unfortunate mix-up with United Airlines

It doesn’t take much to provide quick and personalized customer support through social media, and companies who have caught on to this practice have loyal and satisfied consumers.

At Ask, we’ve empowered all of our Customer Care Rock Stars to monitor and fully support our users’ needs – be it on email, phone, chat or through our social media channels.

- Eric McKirdy, Global Customer Care Manager, Ask.com

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Dark Horse Advertisers Maserati and Oikos Emerge As Real Super Bowl Champions

By askdotcom // February 3rd, 2014

While two great football teams played a surprisingly one-sided game last night in New Jersey, advertisers went head to head on creativity and spend during the commercial breaks. Ask.com, a leading online brand for questions and answers, today released data culled from its 100 million monthly users to reveal which big budget Super Bowl commercials were advertising champs among Americans, and which advertisers went home empty handed.

Every year, the biggest brands bring out advertising’s big guns, vying for the winning commercial, with starting spend at around $4 million per 30 seconds of screen time. This Super Bowl Sunday’s ads did not disappoint, with surprise contenders Maserati and Oikos coming out on top as fan favorites, and usual darling Budweiser scoring big points, as expected. Of course not all ads fared as well, with companies like Volkswagen and Doritos surprisingly leaving something to be desired, despite initial buzz. And, against the odds, SodaStream bubbled in search volume on Game Day, even with last week’s censor concerns.

Oikos Connected to a Full House

Talked about for weeks before Super Bowl Sunday, Oikos’ “bromance” campaign, featuring the main characters from the beloved TV series, “Full House,” appealed to consumers’ nostalgia. The hype lived up to the anticipation come game day, despite the yogurt brand having to go up against Super Bowl advertising stalwarts. Leveraging John Stamos’ history with the hit show was a smart move for Oikos, as the ad represented 29 percent of all Ask.com’s Super Bowl commercial searches.

Maserati Steals the Show

Taking viewers by surprise, the high-end car company drove searches for Maserati’s Ghibli ad, accounting for 18 percent of all game day commercial searches and placing it in the top three brands searched for on Ask during game time. Featuring young Oscar nominee Quvenzhane Wallis, people everywhere were impressed by the stunning cinematography of the commercial.

Budweiser Is Still America’s Best Bud

Piggybacking on the success of last year’s “Best Buds” campaign with the Budweiser Clydesdale, the famous beer brand, known for its popular Super Bowl commercials, brought an adorable puppy into the mix for the sequel. Searches for the ad spiked during the week prior to the big game and remained high with 12 percent of searches going to the puppy love. The beer brand didn’t show its whole hand ahead of Sunday’s showdown however; its “Hero’s Welcome” spot, featuring Lt. Chuck Nadd’s homecoming, drove 15 percent of Ask searches during the game. 

Volkswagen’s Initial Buzz Drowned Out

Playing with whimsical ideas of mythology, Volkswagen created a delightful advertisement that was expected to be a stand out contender, but resulted in a miss. Volkswagen was hardly noticed by viewers, taking home only two percent of all Super Bowl commercial searches the night of the game.

Doritos Fan-Created Advertisements Are a Dud

In keeping with tradition, Doritos’ annual Super Bowl commercial was fan-created. With five contenders released prior to game day, viewers were able to vote for their favorite. “Finger Licker” was the clear audience favorite leading up to Sunday but did not make the top two that aired during the game. The chosen winners were “Doritos Time Machine,” which only saw three percent of Ask.com searches, and “Cowboy Kid,” which fared better at seven percent.

Scarlett Johansson’s SodaStream Makes a Splash

Even though SodaStream was forced to censor their commercial featuring Scarlett Johansson due to a negative mention of the half-time show sponsor, Pepsi, its ad fared decently well in Ask.com searches, owning nine percent of all Super Bowl commercial searches on Sunday night.

Ask.com also took a look at the most popular questions asked around Super Bowl ads the night of the game:

1. Was that Maserati’s first commercial?
2. What is the hashtag for the Esurance contest?
3. Will there be a Full House reunion?
4. Why was there a Scientology commercial?
5. What is Jerry Seinfeld’s new show?

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My Mentorship at Ask.com

By askdotcom // December 16th, 2013

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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 

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Ask Ranks 2013’s Top Viral Videos and Memes

By askdotcom // December 3rd, 2013

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

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Did You Guess the Celeb Baby Bumps?

By askdotcom // June 27th, 2013

Today’s Photo of the Day challenge was themed around celebrity baby bumps. Were you able to guess which celebrity moms-to-be were featured @askdotcom on Instagram? 

Today’s leading ladies were…(drum roll please…)

Fergie!

Jamie-Lynn Sigler

And Halle Berry!

Wishing all the expectant moms a healthy and happy pregnancy and delivery. Can’t wait to see the little babies! 

- Suraya Akbarzad, Ask.com

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Intagram Photo of the Day Challenge 6/20

By askdotcom // June 20th, 2013

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Did you guess today’s Instagram Photo Challenge of the Day? If you said “Rosemary’s Baby” – you were right!

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Directed by Roman Polanski, this 1968 thriller starred Mia Farrow as Waifish Rosemary Woodhouse and John Cassavets as Rosemary’s husband, Guy Woodhouse. The couple experiences strange occurrences in their new NYC apartment and when Rosemary mysteriously becomes pregnant, the mom-to-be quickly comes to believe that her baby is not of this world. Even scarier – she suspects that her sweet elderly neighbors Minnie and Roman Castevet have plans for her unborn child. The only solution is, as the movie’s tag-line says, to “pray for Rosemary’s baby.”

Definitely gave us goosebumps!

-          Suraya Akbarzad, Ask.com

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Instagram Photo of the Day Challenge 6/7

By askdotcom // June 7th, 2013

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For today’s photo of the day challenge we took our questions straight from today’s homepage poll, “What is Prince’s real name?”

If you guess Prince Rogers Nelson…You’re correct!

Prince was born ion June 7th, 1958…Happy Birthday Prince, err…The Artist Formerly Known As Prince…err that symbol thing…err PRN…err….

- Suraya Akbarzad, Ask.com

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