Ask.com Acquires Largest Global Q&A Social Network ASKfm
Leading Q&A Brand Replaces ASKfm Leadership; Makes Fostering a Safe Platform for Users to Ask and Answer Questions the Top Priority
OAKLAND, Calif., Aug. 14, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Today Ask.com, the leading brand for online questions and answers and an operating business of IAC, announced it acquired ASKfm, the world’s largest Q&A social network, which facilitates question and answer exchange across its global user base of 180 million monthly unique users. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
ASKfm has grown organically since its inception four years ago to reach 180 million monthly unique users in more than 150 countries around the world, with its largest user base in the United States. Available on the web and as a mobile app, ASKfm generates an estimated 20,000 questions per minute with approximately 45 percent of its mobile monthly active users logging in daily. To date, the mobile app has been downloaded more than 40 million times.
“This acquisition extends Ask.com’s Q&A brand leadership to ASKfm’s massive mobile-focused social platform,” said Doug Leeds, chief executive officer, Ask.com. “It’s a natural entry into a market segment and platform where Ask.com has been looking to expand.”
Users of the immensely popular service create profiles to connect and engage with others through a question and answer format. Unlike other social networks, users on ASKfm express themselves by choosing to respond to questions, which can be asked anonymously. Once approved by the user, questions and answers are posted to an individual’s public profile, enabling a unique form of self-expression.
“ASKfm has seen phenomenal usage and engagement because of its compelling take on social expression: describing yourself through the lens of what others want to know about you,” continued Leeds. “Now under Ask.com leadership, the plan for unlocking its true potential will focus on making the experience even more engaging, while significantly increasing the investment in safety.”
ASKfm was not previously affiliated in any way with Ask.com or its parent company IAC. In connection with the transaction, existing outside ASKfm investor Rubylight will retain a minority interest in the business. ASKfm’s founders will no longer be involved in its operations or retain any equity.
Following the departure of the previous ASKfm leadership, Ask.com has kicked off its comprehensive safety strategy with the appointment of digital safety veteran Catherine Teitelbaum, former director of global safety and product policy for Yahoo!, to the newly-created role of Chief Trust and Safety Officer at ASKfm. Renowned digital safety expert and youth advocate Annie Mullins will lead ASKfm’s safety efforts in the United Kingdom and Europe, working closely with Teitelbaum.
In connection with pursuing the acquisition, Ask.com partnered with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and MarylandAttorney General Doug Gansler in the creation of parallel agreements under which ASKfm will implement a set of best practices focused on increasing the safety of its services. Announced today, the agreements underscore Ask.com’s commitment to partnering with government and law enforcement in an effort to create a safer and more engaging product experience.
“Today’s agreement shows once again that regulators can work with technology companies both to encourage innovation and protect consumers, including our youngest digital citizens,” said Attorney General Schneiderman in a statement today. “I applaud Ask.com’s leadership in working with our office to design a program that protects ASKfm users from cyberbullying and other harmful content. We would hope that this collaboration serves as a useful model for other companies in the digital space.”
With more than 100 million global users, Ask.com is a leading online brand for questions and answers and an operating business of IAC (NASDAQ: IACI). More information is available at www.ask.com or http://blog.ask.com.
ASKfm is the world’s largest Q&A social network where more than 180 million members in more than 150 countries connect and engage by asking each other questions. ASKfm has just been acquired by Ask.com, the leading brand for online questions and answers and an operating business of IAC (NASDAQ: IACI).