Search Engine Journal is reporting that IAC has announced today that Jim Lanzone was stepping down as CEO of Ask.com and being replaced by IAC insider Jim Safka. Lanzone is credited with the successful transformation of failing property AskJeeves into what many regard as the webâ€™s best search engine, Ask.com.
Loren Baker notes that Safka was, â€œâ€¦ CEO of Match.com from 2004 to 2006 before becoming the CEO of Primal Ventures, the venture incubating branch of IAC.â€
Lanzone will move to join the Entrepreneur in Residence program at Redpoint Ventures, a Venture Capital firm with offices in Menlo Park, Shanghai and Los Angeles. Through this program, Redpoint fosters entrepreneurs with proven track records. According to their E-i-R page, â€œRedpoint has a successful history of partnering with outstanding entrepreneurs through its Entrepreneur-in-Residence program. By teaming up early on, we accelerate the time it takes to identify a large market opportunity and create a great company to go after it.â€
Jim Lanzone is a figure who is well liked and well regarded by the search engine optimization community. His â€œopen-doorâ€ policy extended to anyone with a good question or important insights and Lanzone was known for reaching out to SEOs through blog comments and personal emails.
Lanzoneâ€™s departure will mark a turning point for Ask.com as it appears to be getting more serious about the business of search driven advertising. Having reformed AskJeeves into a search engine that is arguably stronger than Google, perhaps it is time for him to move on, just to keep things challenging.