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Last Updated: Friday, 10 February 2006, 17:46 GMT
Search site retires iconic Jeeves
Jeeves, Ask
Jeeves' days are numbered
Jeeves the valet who for a decade has overseen searches on the Ask website is about to be sacked.

By the end of February the iconic valet will disappear from the site he has graced since it debuted in 1996.

The decision to axe Jeeves was taken in September 2005 but he stayed in place while the company investigated how users felt about the change.

The removal of Jeeves has been driven by a broader effort to re-brand the Ask search site.

Friendly face

The shadow of redundancy first fell over Jeeves in March 2005 following the purchase of Ask by IAC/InterActive for $1.85bn (970m). Soon after the deal was signed, IAC boss Barry Diller declared his antipathy towards the valet.

The decision to use Jeeves was taken by the creators of the Ask site to differentiate themselves from rivals and to put a friendlier, knowledgeable face on the internet.

He underwent a re-fit just prior to the IAC purchase which saw him lose weight and appear in a series of adverts for the site. In the future, Ask Jeeves will only be known as Ask.

Rachel Johnson, Ask's vice president of marketing in Europe, said: "We can confirm that we are repositioning our brand and that Jeeves will be retiring."

The broader rebranding of Ask comes as all search engines include all manner of other services alongside the basic finding of websites for users.

The initial decision to axe Jeeves was greeted with dismay by many and a campaign to save the valet briefly flared into life.

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