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Metasearch Offers Best Results, Study Shows

By Brittany Thompson

Those looking for the most accurate search engine results pages should stick to metasearch – at least according to a study that was released on May 31st by InfoSpace.

Different Engines, Different Results was the title of the study (word doc), which was a cross-continental collaboration examining overlap and differences in rankings between industry leaders including Google, Yahoo!, Windows Live and Ask.

Some of the information contained in the study echoes what we’ve known for years. The fact that searchers still don’t always find what they are looking for online is more of a burden (both to searchers and to e-business owners) than a surprise.

Survey Shows 39% of Bloggers Publish Sensitive Company Info

E-consultancy has details of a new study by human resources firm Croner, suggesting that up to a third of bloggers risk getting fired due to posting damaging material about their employer.

Croner commissioned YouGov for a survey of 2,000 people which found 39% of bloggers admitted to publishing sensitive or damaging posts about their workplace.

Some companies are now issuing guidelines on employee blogging policy to safeguard against unwelcome disclosures, but the recent case of Petite Anglaise, an English secretary fired from her job as a PA in France for writing about her employer in her own journal, underscores the need for a structured approach.

Does your company have any guidelines about personal blogging?

IAB: Search Doing Well, Metrics Meeting Outcome

The Interactive Advertising Bureau seems to be trying valiantly to stay at the top of the news this week. They’ve released their 2006 Internet Advertising Revenue Report and the results from last week’s closed meeting with Nielsen//NetRatings and comScore.

2006 Internet Advertising Revenue Report: Search is Looking Good
The IAB’s report for last year says that search is looking good: 40% of online ad revenues came from paid or natural search. Search advertising revenues came to $6.8 billion, which is higher than 2005’s $5.1 billion, even though search dropped off an entire percentage point (gasp) from 2005.

Other areas they looked at: “Display advertising, Classifieds, and Referrals accounted for 32 percent, 18 percent, and 8 percent of 2006 full year revenues respectively.”

The full study is available in PDF form.

Price Still Most Important Factor for Retail Success, But Losing Ground

Traditionally, the website selling a particular product at the lowest price has a huge advantage over the competition. However, according to a recent study from Shopzilla, that may be changing.

The survey of about 2,000 online shoppers revealed that 49% of shoppers considered the price to be most important factor in making a buying decision. That is down from 59% in 2003.

So what factor is taking the pace of price? The answer may surprise you–18% of shoppers said that customer feedback is the most important factor. Only 7% picked customer feedback in 2003.

As the web becomes more and more dominated by user generated content, it is obvious that customer feedback about companies and products will continue to grow in importance. This trend especially gives hope to small online retailers that cannot compete on price, because smaller companies should normally have an advantage in customer satisfaction.

Seniors to Take Over Internet Usage in the UK

Hitwise reports today that “silver surfers” aged 55+ are poised to become the largest age demographic of Internet users in the UK. Heather Hopkins, VP of Research for Hitwise UK reports that this population segment has grown 54% over the last two years, now composting 29% of the Internet usage in the UK.

What are seniors looking at? The same things as everyone else, in large part: search engines, adult sites and shopping & classified sites. However, they do spend more time than other demographics on sites about travel and news & media sites. As Heather says, “Cruise, Family, Stocks and Shares, E-Greetings and Yachting and Boating websites receive the highest concentration of visits from silver surfers. Cruise websites, for example, received 48% of their traffic from UK Internet users aged 55+ in the four weeks to 12th May 2007.”

Combating Click Fraud

By Greg Howlett.

A study conducted by Fair Isaacs has concluded that 10-15% of all advertising dollars spent on PPC search engine campaigns are wasted. 

A similar study from Click Forensics in January supports the Fair Isaac conclusion.  Not surprisingly, Google does not agree, claiming that click fraud accounts for less than 2% of actual advertising billing.

As intelligent as Google may be, it is absolutely impossible for them to detect all click fraud, and there is no question in my mind that this problem is far worse than they will admit.

Fair Isaac Study Claims Click Fraud Numbers are Higher than Search Engines Suggest

Fair Isaac is dipping its toe in the click fraud tracking waters, with the release of its own study into fraudulent search engine clicks.

The company, best known for helping evaluate consumer credit-worthiness and reducing credit card fraud, is contemplating the development of a new solution for click fraud. Ahead of any decision, Fair Isaac will present the preliminary findings of its own investigation at a conference today.

After reviewing a handful of Web sites since last August, Fair Isaac believes 10 to 15 percent of the advertising traffic is “pathological,” indicating a likelihood of click fraud, said Joseph Milana, the company’s chief scientist of research and development. “It’s still an early result,” Milana said. “The question remains about how broad the problem is in the entire marketplace.”