SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Liz McMillan, Sean Houghton, Glenn Rossman, Ignacio M. Llorente, Xenia von Wedel

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Ask.com Acquires Largest Global Q&A Social Network Ask.fm

Leading Q&A Brand Replaces Ask.fm 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 Ask.fm, 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.

Ask.fm 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, Ask.fm 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 Ask.fm'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 Ask.fm 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. 

"Ask.fm 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."

Ask.fm was not previously affiliated in any way with Ask.com or its parent company IAC.  In connection with the transaction, existing outside Ask.fm investor Rubylight will retain a minority interest in the business. Ask.fm's founders will no longer be involved in its operations or retain any equity.

Following the departure of the previous Ask.fm 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 Ask.fm.  Renowned digital safety expert and youth advocate Annie Mullins will lead Ask.fm'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 Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler in the creation of parallel agreements under which Ask.fm 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 Ask.fm 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."

About Ask.com
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.

About Ask.fm
Ask.fm 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. Ask.fm has just been acquired by Ask.com, the leading brand for online questions and answers and an operating business of IAC (NASDAQ: IACI).

SOURCE Ask.com

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