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August 18, 2014

Ask.com Acquires Question-and-Answer Website Ask.fm


Ask.com is one of the highest ranked websites in the world, and its name is readily recognized by many users. Any other website that closely resembles this one probably generates a lot of visits because of its similarity, but it won't total the 180 million regular monthly users Ask.fm has. The purchase of Ask.fm by Ask.com was probably based largely on the number of visitors it has, even though the name might've also played a role in the acquisition.

The company was founded by brothers, Mark and Ilja Terebin in Riga, Latvia four years ago, whose hands off approach to running the company has been responsible for some controversy in the past. This might have been the reason Ask.com requested the brothers to cash out and leave the company.

The Ask.fm platform has a young audience, which they use to ask one another questions anonymously or by signing with their existing social media accounts. Most of those users are located in the United States, Europe, Russia, and Brazil.

With 180 million regular monthly users, the site is going to give Ask.com a larger customer base that can be monetized, and with a demographic of the 18 and under age group making up 40 percent of all its users, it will be able to capitalize on a segment advertisers are always looking to address.

The controversy surrounding the Terebin brothers was related to the suicide of 14-year-old Hannah Smith, who was dealing with anonymous cyberbullying on Ask.fm. Their response to the incident could have been handled with more tact and their policing practices left much to be desired, which resulted in heavy criticisms from users and government organizations. The criticism got worst when allegation of pages belonging to Islamic extremists fighting in Syria and Iraq were using it as a recruiting tool.

Ask.com for its part has said it will invest millions of dollars by adding more moderators and new tools in order to prevent such incidents from taking place in the future. This includes a deal the company agreed to with the New York attorney general to overhaul the safety policy and procedures of Ask.fm.

The New York state attorney general, Eric Schneiderman said in a statement, "An independent safety and security examiner will be appointed to examine the changes and report on compliance to the Attorney General's Office for three years."




Edited by Maurice Nagle


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