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Ask.com wants to know what irks you most

Bellevue commuters heading Seattle may get at least a one-day pick-me-up from a promotion sponsored by online search database Ask.com.

An online and in-person poll begins May 1, asking residents in and around Seattle to choose from three options to make life a little easier for a day. Oakland, Calif-based Ask.com will provide the temporary solution for the winning plan, as part of a new marketing campaign to help the site become more involved in communities nationwide.

“We want to show the community a little love, and while we can’t permanently do away with those 520 bridge tolls or promise more sunshine, we can make their days a little easier," said Valerie Combs, a spokeswoman for Ask.com.

The three options deal with morning traffic, problems getting to and from Mariners games and a scarcity of wading pools for kids in the summer.

For those suffering the daily headache of driving to and from Seattle for work each day, Cafe Vita will partner with Ask.com to offer a "pop-up coffee shop" for one morning at a number of park and ride locations throughout the city. If the baseball option is chosen, Ask.com will pay for shuttles and other forms of transportation such as pedi-cabs to take fans to a number of locations throughout the city.

Ask.com will place people throughout the city to speak with passersby about a preferred option, and potential voters can make their voices heard online. Signs hanging over tunnel entrances into Seattle on Interstate 90 will remind people of the contest, as well.

The promotion is the first in a new look from Ask.com, formerly the Q&A site, Ask Jeeves, that focuses on becoming a local presence in communities throughout the country. The company has been moving back in the direction of Q&A searches and hasn't been ready for primetime until recently, Combs said.

"We kind of had our heads down, not focused on marketing while we fine-tuned the product, and now we are back to trying to let people know what we are about," she said.

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