Both of them bring up some good points, and I completely agree that Ask.com’s marketing campaign about the algorithm killing Jeeves is a terrible one. I don’t know that many people outside of the technology world that know what an algorithm even is, and even those that do probably can’t figure out what Ask means about it killing their former marketing character.
Regarding their strategy with their new contextual network, they MUST find some ways to differentiate from Adsense if they are to achieve. It’s very unlikely that they will monetize better than Adsense can due to the Adwords advertising base that’s really truly advertising to be on Google search results. It will especially be unlikely if they just copy Adsense and don’t innovate on the model. Some of the ideas mentioned in those posts have some legs. Providing the advertiser an image to go along with the text is good, more transparency on revenue shares would be great, but there still needs to be something more.
The bottom line is that publishers WANT their to be Adsense alternatives, and Adsense is vulnerable to the right execution. I’m not sure or not whether Ask.com will be the ones to do it, but you can be sure that there are startups and large established companies that are coming after the market hard.