Migrated Ask Media Group’s 11 Websites from Arbotron Legacy CMS to WordPress


Headquartered in Oakland, California, Ask Media Group holds a portfolio of websites with a combined monthly reach of 245 million people globally, with 500 million unique monthly page views. Among its brands is the iconic site Ask.com – originally Ask Jeeves – founded in 1996.

Multidots was leading the migration of 11 digital properties of Ask Media Group with a combined 50,000+ media post articles within 12 weeks. In addition to successfully migrating the properties from Arbotron Legacy CMS to WordPress Multisite within this timeframe, Multidots created a central content management console, optimized workflows, and adapted the content structure to be fully compatible with standard Gutenberg for WordPress.

The Story of Ask Media Group

Ask Media Group is a performance marketing company with a portfolio of digital properties, including Ask.com, Askmoney.com, Bloglines.com, and Reference.com. Its portfolio of content reaches 3% of the global population, which is made possible, in large, by the variety and volume of content it produces.

However, this level of content volume became increasingly challenging to maintain due to the outdated CMS of the digital properties. Not only were they disconnected, but various features and modules received little to no support from the CMS developer.

As a result, Ask Media Group’s brands were missing out on efficiency gains that come with a centralized, optimized system, more expanded analytics capabilities, and greater improvements in audience engagement, among others.

Ask Media Group determined that migration to WordPress would be the best course of action. It engaged the services of Multidots due to the company’s extensive experience in the WordPress ecosystem and past work with major publishers like News Corp, SiriusXM, and others.

The Challenge of Efficiently Migrating 11 Properties without Sacrificing Crucial Features and Modules

Ask Media Group understood the opportunity cost of inaction – the longer it waited to migrate its property out of the legacy CMS, the more it missed out on the improved monetization and audience growth opportunities offered by a flexible CMS like WordPress. 

However, migrating such a large volume of content – 50,000+ posts in total – is not a straightforward task: 

  • Each website required complex ad implementation.
  • There was a missing central content management console/dashboard.
  • Many of the features/modules/business logic required reverse-engineering due to limited support from previous CMS developers.
  • The content structure was not compatible with the standard Gutenberg WordPress editor.
  • Complex editorial workflow and advertising management had to be translated into the WordPress ecosystem and further optimized.

Why Ask Media Group Partnered with Multidots?

Multidots was one of the agencies invited to submit a proposal for the migration. An Inc. 5000 company, Multidots has earned a reputation for world-class expertise in managing complex WordPress-based projects for publishing clients and boasts a portfolio of past clients that includes companies like Tropicana (PepsiCo Venture), Association of American Publishers, and Storyful (Newscorp Venture).

Multidots was selected to complete this project due to its proven track record of successfully executing WordPress projects for enterprise clients in the publishing space. This specialization affords Multidots the depth of expertise that few other agencies can compete with.

How Multidots tackled the Migration Project

The following websites were part of the migration:

Due to the complexity of the project, Multidots put together a dedicated team of engineers and project managers.

  • The first step was to conduct a joint review with the client of all the features and business logic needs, followed by solution design.
  • Multidots utilized WordPress’s Multisite feature to organize Ask Media Group’s properties into a network. Combined with a content syndication approach by the central site to each individual, the Multisite feature provided the editor with a unified dashboard to manage content for all sites.
  • Multidots used WP-CLI, a command-line interface for WordPress, to build custom scripts to convert data into a WordPress-compatible format, which allowed the team to migrate the data in bulk.
  • The team developed various custom Gutenberg blocks to ensure compatibility and provide editors with a seamless editing experience.
  • To fulfil the complex advertising management needs of Ask Media Group, Multidots developed a custom plugin to define ad rules across sites and made it reusable across multiple sites.


1. Migrated 11 websites within 12 weeks with zero downtime

Through careful planning and close collaboration with Ask Media Group’s team, Multidots executed the project within the proposed timelines, ensuring that none of the client’s digital properties experienced downtime.

2. Created and future-proofed a centralized management system

In addition to creating a central dashboard via the Multisite feature, Multidots improved analytics integrations to provide editors and other stakeholders with a unified, user-friendly view of the performance of individual properties. The custom ad management module implemented by Multidots gave Ask Media Group complete flexibility to manage ad placement to tweak the revenue. Furthermore, with this implementation, Ask Media Group can take site-specific action, update the layout and design of each site, implement site-specific content strategy, etc. It can also easily roll out new verticals/sites and integrate any third-party solutions. On top of that, Multidots used the migration as an opportunity to provide the client with the ability to scale up or down its ecosystem by equipping the team with a WordPress environment optimized for a headless approach in the future.

3. Reduced publishing time by optimizing workflow processes

Post-migration, Ask Group Media’s editors can publish an article within two minutes on WordPress due to the improvements Multidots implemented in the workflow processes, the custom Gutenberg blocks it designed, and the content syndication system it developed.

Overall Results

Ask Media Group was pleased with the results – both the flexibility and adaptability of the new system and the timely execution of the complex migration project.

Furthermore, the client reported improved user engagement that was due to the incorporation of modern design elements. Advanced event tracking and search API enhanced the properties’ analytics capabilities.

When the Multidots proposed that they could migrate 11 sites in 12 weeks, I was very skeptical and wasn’t really sure that it actually seems doable! But they did it. It’s a pleasure working with the whole team.

Grow Your Property. Migrate to WordPress.

Do you want to enhance your digital property’s monetization and audience growth capabilities?

Schedule a free project consultation with one of our solutions architects today! Schedule a Free Consultation Call