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Last Updated: Friday, 23 September 2005, 15:18 GMT 16:18 UK
Ask Jeeves decides to axe Jeeves
The new Jeeves, Ask
The Jeeves character got a make-over in late 2004
Search site Ask Jeeves is getting rid of the iconic valet that has been its companion since its earliest days.

Citing "user confusion" over what the butler character represents the search site has said that Jeeves will soon be phased out.

There is no firm date for when the character will disappear from the Ask site, but it will soon stop being the brand's most prominent icon.

No decision has been made about a new name for the Ask search site.

Butler begone

The decision about the axing of the Jeeves valet character was revealed in a Goldman Sachs investor conference by Ask owner Barry Diller.

Mr Diller's Inter-Active Corp bought the Ask Jeeves group in May 2005 for $1.85bn (1.03bn).

In a statement Ask said that over the last year it had been investigating user perceptions of the Jeeves character.

Jeeves is named after the extraordinarily knowledgeable and helpful valet character created by celebrated comic novelist P G Wodehouse.

However, Ask's research revealed that Jeeves was getting in the way of people realising that the search site had changed and that it can handle many more types of queries than just straightforward questions.

"As a result," said the Ask statement, "the character may be phased out as the prominent icon of the brand, although no timeline or details have been determined."

In line with a series of changes made to the Ask site last year, Jeeves got a makeover which saw him get slimmer and more tanned.

In its statement Ask said that no decision had yet been made on the new brand name it will adopt to show how the search site had evolved.

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