Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Study questions Google's long-term dominance - News - ZDNet Check out this long quote:

Beyond the threat of copycats looms perhaps an even more disturbing finding for Google. Vividence claims that Google trails behind its rivals in encouraging people to click on advertisements, the site's primary source of revenue. Google ranked last in Vividence ad tests that examined how frequently people followed sponsored links or advertisements.

Ask Jeeves garnered the most clicks on advertisements, followed by Lycos, MSN, Yahoo and Google, respectively. Google provides Ask Jeeves with search-related ad links. Watkins said part of the reason why Google lags behind its competitors is the company's stringent practice of keeping ads well marked, while the other sites sometimes mix solicitations in with regular search results.

"Should Google sacrifice some of its image in order to get more clicks on ads? Maybe yes," he said. "This is a company on the verge of a $2 billion IPO, so you'd have to think that competitors will copy their format, and if these competitors can also sell more ads, it makes you wonder about the future."

End of Quote:

Hello? Does anyone have a problem with this? If Google's competition is getting a better click through rate on their ads because of deception (mixing advertising in with real results and not marking the ads as such), then Google's competition should be charged with fraud. Advertising on TV, the yellow pages, and in the newspaper is clearly marked. It is consumer fraud to make searchers believe they are getting unbiased non-advertising results and then serve the searcher up to the highest bidder.

Talk about a need for information literacy skills. We need to teach our students and patrons how to identify ads and avoid them unless they want a commercial.

Google does not need to change it's search results to be more deceptive. Instead, all the other search products need to change to be more honest.

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