IAC-owned Ask.com has acquired popular question/answer service Ask.fm for an undisclosed amount, the company announced today.
Ask.com (formerly known as AskJeeves) is a Q&A search engine that focuses on answering natural language questions. The purchase of Ask.fm changes that and shows that the site is finally willing to embrace social media.
Ask.fm operates like many other popular Q&A services like Quora, where users ask questions and allow others in the community to respond with the best answer. Touting itself as the largest Q&A service in the world, Ask.fm claims to have 180 million monthly active users, predominantly using the service from mobile devices.
As terms of the deal, Ask.com also worked with the New York attorney general on a set of “best practices” for the Q&A service to ensure it properly combats cyberbullying. Ask.fm dealt with criticism a few years back after being linked to a string of teen suicides. (And in light of the recent suicide of beloved actor Robin Williams, that topic is getting some much needed discussion now in the media.) Ask.com is also bringing on Catherine Teitelbaum for the newly created position of chief safety officer.
Prior to the purchase, a large chunk of Ask.fm’s employees were moderators tasked with watching out for cases of cyberbullying and conversations that might prove dangerous to the community, as the New York Times points out.
Ask.fm’s leadership team and founders will not be sticking around after the sale to Ask.com, the company said.