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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

April 26, 2012 at 12:00 AM

Ask.com offers Seattle pool time, game shuttles or coffee

Seattleites may see some unusual activity by Ask.com next week.

The question-and-answer search service is launching a new promo campaign in the area, asking residents about their “most popular wish.”

There are three wishes from which to choose. The one that receives the most votes will become reality, through the largesse of Ask.com, which is owned by the IAC conglomerate.

The wishes are:

Ease the Morning Commute. If this wins, Ask.com will “brighten up” the post-Memorial Day commute by providing free Caffe Vita coffee at park & ride locations.

Minimize Stadium Traffic. If this wins, the company will provide transportation home from a Mariners game via charter buses and pedi-cabs.

Save the Wading Pools. if Seattleites choose this wish, Ask.com will cover the cost this summer to keep open city wading pools that were closed or had hours reduced because of city budget cuts.

Ask.com declined to say how much it will spend granting the winning wish, but it could get expensive.

Partially closing Seattle’s wading pools was expected to save the city $203,000 when the plan was proposed in 2010. Given recent attendance at Mariners games, Ask.com may be hoping that’s the wish that comes true.

“As opposed to doing something that’s very stunt-driven that’s only benefiting us, we wanted to do something that would give back to the community,” spokeswoman Valerie Combs said.

There are several ways to vote. Ask.com street teams at busy locations will be polling people in person next week. The company will also launch a special website — seattleasks.com — on May 1. Votes can also be submitted via Ask.com’s new “Pollroll” app for the iPhone.

If the campaign works in Seattle, Oakland, Calif.-based Ask.com may replicate it in other markets across the country.

So who would you wish to help — frazzled commuters, baseball sports fans or sweltering children?

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