Monday, January 24, 2005

Search Users Are Confused

Combine last weeks lawsuit that Le Meridien won over Google and this news today, I think search engine advertising revenue model is in for a major overhaul.

From Wired News Users confuse search results, ads.

NEW YORK -- Only one in six users of internet search engines can tell the difference between unbiased search results and paid advertisements, a new survey finds.

The Pew Internet and American Life Project reported Sunday that adults online in the United States are generally naive when it comes to how search engines work.

The major search engines all return a mix of regular results, based solely on relevance to the search terms entered, and sponsored links, for which a website had paid money to get displayed more prominently.

But only 38 percent of web searchers even know of the distinction, and of those, not even half --47 percent -- say they can always tell which are paid. That comes out to only 18 percent of all web searchers knowing when a link is paid.

I will have a piece out soon entitled "How Google closes the Gates to Microsoft". There is a way everybody wins in this scenario. Google could dominate search (as well as other apps) in the mobile space.

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