Today we announced that Ask.com acquired an early stage, up-and-coming content discovery platform: nRelate. You can read Mediapost’s take on the news here.

We’ve made no secret that 2012 was going to be a big year for Ask to lay the groundwork for future growth. Over the last year and a half, we’ve doubled down on Q&A, which has yielded significant growth in traffic and profits as well as on mobile platforms, with more than 2 million downloads of our apps.

That’s not to say our vision for Q&A is fully realized yet – it’s evolving based on feedback from our users. And they’re telling us they are happiest with an Ask.com Q&A experience that lets them ask questions, browse multiple answers and discover relevant information that fuels new questions. As such, we want to invest in more answers, in different formats, from more sources – users, experts, media organizations, and of course published, searchable data on the web.

Our increasing focus on answers (content) is not unique. Thanks to the ease of self-publishing, individual consumers, major media companies - even marketers - are producing content at a staggering rate, making content discovery companies like nRelate all the more relevant.

So why nRelate and what are Ask’s plans? First, nRelate founders Neil Mody and Oliver Wellington have built a pretty incredible company with solid technology and phenomenal organic growth across 35,000 publishers with a very small team.  Second, they are two of the most personable, stand-up guys I’ve met in the business (their take on today’s announcement here).

Outside of that, here are the reasons why this investment makes a lot of sense for Ask:

—- We know a thing or two about content discovery.  We’ve been in the business of connecting consumers with information for 16 years and have developed technology to help our users find what they’re looking for faster. We see a huge opportunity to apply these assets and experience to content discovery products for other websites and think the combination of nRelate’s product suite and our technology can be disruptive for publishers looking to juice consumer engagement and improve monetization.

—- We know a few things about distribution too. A top 10 U.S. Internet site, Ask attracts 65 million visitors a month. We already work with partners to access content feeds for answers across areas like health, sports, food, games and travel. Now, more publishers (and brands) will have the opportunity to scale content distribution in the form of relevant answers on a leading Q&A platform, which connects our users to great content as well.

There’s still a lot of work ahead as we dig into our collective technologies and roadmaps and ramp up hiring, but I’m very excited to be a part of this growing market, and apply what I know is formidable technology to creating new and unique value for publishers and content owners.

A big THANK YOU to the Ask and nRelate teams for all the hard work pulling this over the finish line!

DOUG