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Report on Consumers Lack of Understanding On How Search Engines Work

Consumer Web Watch published a new report, 66 pages in pdf – False Oracles: Consumer Reaction to Learning the Truth About How Search Engines Work Results of an Ethnographic Study.

  • From the abstract: “Many online consumers think of search engines as online tools that help them to quickly find Web sites most relevant to their keyword queries, particularly when they are unsure of where to surf next. This trust in search engines may make them vulnerable while online, as they are largely unaware such navigation sites often accept fees in exchange for giving advertiser Web pages prominent placement on their search results pages. A year after the U.S. Federal Trade Commission determined there was a need for “clear and conspicuous disclosures of paid placement” on search engines, Consumer WebWatch’s research findings show consumers still cannot always tell what is “paid” search versus “pure” or “algorithmic” search on America’s most popular search engines.”
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