A recent study has shown that most average US citizens do not know the difference between a search engine’s “sponsored listing” (Overture, FindWhat, Google AdWord Results) and real search engine results.
Although this may be wonderful for marketers, such a study may be troubling to the FCC and consumer rights groups.
“Consumer WebWatch asked 1,500 online users whether they knew that some search engines were paid fees to list sites more prominently in search results. Sixty percent said they were unaware. ” FOX Television Report
Who provides paid search results?
Google provides paid results to: Google, AOL, Ask Jeeves, Netscape, Teoma
Overture provides paid results to: Yahoo, MSN, AltaVista, Lycos, AllTheWeb
FindWhat provides paid results to: UCmore.com, Search.com
Although search engines have been trusted for years and do warn users about sponsored listings (actions above and beyond FCC standards), the general public is unaware of such listings.
Will this hurt the credibility of such respected engines as Google and Teoma? Credibility of results is the back bone to the search engine industry. But as we all know, content is a full time job with little reward, unless its marketed.
Educating the public sould be the first step in changing the shocking results of this study!
More articles: Search Engine Watch : Pandia