Ask.com leaves NASCAR: This time a year ago, Ask.com was preparing to make the splash of the season at Daytona. It had a custom-made motor coach, pretty girls dressed in red and white to act as Ask Ambassadors throughout the speedway, and up to 30 new 15-second ad spots. The eager search engine had seemingly thought of everything for its first year of an official partnership with NASCAR and a team sponsorship at Hall of Fame Racing. But as the industry rolls into Daytona this week for the start of the 2010 season, the major question will be: What happened to Ask.com? Despite trumpeting successful results from its sponsorships and advertising in NASCAR last year, the Barry Diller-owned company opted not to return this year, allowing its NASCAR partnership and team deal to expire after one year. A change in leadership -- CEO Jim Safka did the NASCAR deals last year but was replaced by president Doug Leeds in October -- led to changes in marketing. Ask.com spent about $15 million on its NASCAR sponsorships and activation last year, industry insiders said. Its official deal with NASCAR was in the low seven figures, while the team sponsorship cost Ask.com $4 million. The majority of NASCAR sponsors whose deals were up last year renewed, including Dodge, Unilever, DuPont, DirecTV, Kraft, and Procter & Gamble brands Gillette, Old Spice and Prilosec OTC. NASCAR also added Screenvision and Drive4COPD as new partners, with Screenvision being the official cinema ad agency and Drive4COPD, a group that drives awareness and screening for lung disease, serving as the official health initiative. Among the sponsors that didn't renew for this year: P&G brand Duracell, Best Western, Yardman/Cub Cadet, and Kellogg's, along with Ask.(Sporting News/NASCAR.com)(2-8-2010)This news wasn't altogether earth shattering, and it hardly ranks among the top pre-season 2010 stories such as Danica's dalliance with a full-bodied...um, err, uh...oh yeah car, Dale Jr. will he/won't he...um, uh, ahem...oh yeah win again, and the 48 team's drive for five.
But its interesting nonetheless I suppose as the news reflects a bit of current economic news in the dot com space and a buzz metric for NASCAR in general.
I thought I'd search Ask.com for more information about their decision. This is a screen capture of my search results.
Interestingly, here are the first page of results from the same search phrase on Google.