Internet search portal Ask Jeeves has blamed the online advertising slump for an earnings shortfall greater than previously forecast.

The company warned that the loss would be around 50 cents per share ($18 million in total), much higher than previous predictions of 33 cents per share.

Explained president Adam Klein: “The broad-based economic slowdown has caused weakness in the online advertising market [and] advertising pricing pressure”.

Ask Jeeves also announced that chief executive Rob Wrubel would be replaced by George Battle as an interim appointment. Battle stated that the company was “reviewing its 2001 growth targets”, but predicted profitability by Q4 next year.

News source: Financial Times