It appears that Ask.com is now implementing support for the Sitemaps protocol that they got behind back in April.
One of our readers commented here notifying us that Ask.com added a pinging service for autodiscovery. Checking further, I found the details on how to ping Ask.com is its Webmaster Help documents. In addition, try this link you can see how an example pinging attempt looks.
How does it work? From Ask’s help files:
Once you have prepared the sitemap, add the sitemap auto-discovery directive to robots.txt as follows:
SITEMAP: http://www.the URL of your sitemap here.xml
The sitemap location should be the full sitemap URL. Alternatively, you can also submit your sitemap through the ping URL:
http://submissions.ask.com/ping?sitemap=http%3A//www.the URL of your sitemap here.xml
Please note that sitemap submissions do not guarantee the indexing of URLs. To learn more about the protocol, please visit the Sitemaps web site at http://www.sitemaps.org.
I don’t know exactly when Ask.com launched this support, but I’m checking on the date.
Now, my only question is, when will Microsoft implement Sitemaps autodiscovery?
Postscript Barry: Vivek Pathak, Infrastructure Product Manager for Ask.com, has given me some dates on this release:
— autodiscover: downloading and processing began on April 18, 2007
— manual submit: setup of ping URL on April 10, 2007 at 5pm