The search engine predicts the move will expand its audience by 11 percent or 145 million unique visitors per month. Once the deal is signed and stamped, Ask.com is expected to add more layers such as video and images to entries on Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com. The deal is due to close in Q3 of this year.
Lexico last year agreed to sell to Answers.com for $100 million, a deal that fell through in March. Financial details of the deal between Ask and Lexico have not been announced.
The move comes just a couple of months after the search engine announced it would be shifting its focus to concentrate on a more specific user; the middle-aged, married woman, a decision which would see the company lay off 8 percent of its staff.
Ask.com started out as AskJeeves, a service where users would be able to ask specific questions. The company ditched Jeeves in February of 2006 but announced in March that it would return to the simple question and answer mindset, allowing married women to search for recipes, child rearing, and hobbies.
When the company buried Jeeves 2 years ago, Ask.com’s Senior Vice President of search, Jim Lanzone had big ideas for the search engine.
"People have been conditioned to think that only one brand equals search. It’s time that they realize that Ask is a serious alternative to Google.”
Despite these ambitions the company is no where near Google in terms of visitors and still trails behind the likes of Yahoo! and Live Search.