Tag Archives: Search

How Educated Do Consumers Need To Be?

A piece came out yesterday that got me thinking.  The article was a write-up of a study conducted by Harris Interactive for the folks at The Search Agency and you can have a look at the results here.  The highlights are that most consumers have no clue how much of digital works from a business perspective even though they do know how to use the services:

  • 70% of U.S. online adults know how to post to a Facebook wall, but only 54% understand how Facebook makes money
  • More than one-third of U.S. online adults believe search engines sell users’ personal data to marketers
  • Nearly 29% believe that companies pay annual dues for use, while 20% believe that users pay for premium search features

That got me thinking about why that is or isn’t important.  The author of the piece thinks that “it may seem incidental, but a better understanding would produce higher engagement and conversion rates.”  She says this believing that understanding would increase participation.  I’m not so sure.  In fact, it might have just the opposite effect.  Knowing about EdgeRank and how it affects what information passes into your news feed as well as about the plethora of information Facebook has about everyone on the service could bother some folks and scare quite a few others.  Many people don’t understand that the search results they see are skewed (unless they are savvy enough to turn off the personalized results).

Here is a question for you:  do you know how your car works?  What happens when you turn on the ignition?  I can probably answer this for you – you don’t have a clue.  You do know, however, when the car is NOT working.  I think that’s the same with the digital services we use – we don’t need to know how they work as long as we know that they are, in fact, working.  That said, we probably do want to know if our cars are tracking where we’re going and how fast we’re driving (they are, by the way) and I continue to believe that privacy and data collection are big consumer issues that will continue to grow in importance as the details of those activities become more widely known.

What do you think?

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Filed under digital media, Thinking Aloud


Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

Unless you’re in a cave someplace or have abandoned it for Google+, you’ve probably noticed that Facebook did an overhaul last night.  I logged in this morning and while I’ll admit I’m not the brightest guy in the world, I was thoroughly confused.  Many of the new features are clearly designed to compete with things found on Google+ and Twitter, such as circles.  For those of you struggling to make sense of the new layout, Gizmodo did a nice job color-coding everything in a cheat sheet.

I’m a believer in continuous improvement.  I’m not a believer in keeping up with the Joneses.  Here’s why. Continue reading


Filed under digital media, Helpful Hints

The Shotgun Approach

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry this morning about a situation one of my clients is having. They, like many other sites, get a fair amount of traffic from Google. In their case, because they’re a news site, Google News is a key traffic driver as well. A week ago, with no notice or changes to the site, their articles disappeared from Google News and their traffic dropped precipitously. What’s really weird is that the site is still fully indexed in regular Google – only News is affected.
Why am I telling you this? Because while the cause is still unknown we have an idea of what’s doing it and there are larger thoughts beyond our specific case that I want to share. Continue reading

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Filed under digital media