What are Web Surfers looking for?

The infamous AOL Search Data Leak not only exposed the personal searches of 650,000 AOL users searches over a three month period it taught three things:

  • It’s way easy to indentify who someone is through their searches
  • AOL users really are dumber than the rest of us
  • What AOL users are looking for on the internet.*

This article will talk about what they were looking for on the internet:

The top three things they were looking for:

  1. Free Music
  2. Free Pictures
  3. Free Porn

It also sowed just how dumb the people who run AOL are. They honestly didn’t think that there was any chance that people could be personally identified through their search history. Which they’ve been saving and sharing on every AOL member.

More on the searches though. If it wasn’t “free” (first most common word) they wanted “new” (second most common word). The next most common words were: “lyrics,” “county,” “school,” “city,” “home,” “state,” “pictures,” “music,” “sale,” “beach,” “high,” “map,” “center” and “sex.” Speaking of sex, guess who the most searched for person was? Nope, you’re wrong, it was Peter Wentz, boyish singer of pop group Fall Out Boy. Ms. Anderson was second, followed by Paris Hilton

According to a research paper about the data prepared by an AOL-led team, porn was the third most common activity of Web searchers, behind entertainment and shopping.

Here’s an interesting not for anyone who works for a Search Engine or who is developing Search Engine algorithms: 46% of the SERPs were duds! (IE a link wasn’t clicked on them presumably because the materials returned to them weren’t what they were looking for). Evidently about half of those people gave up after the first search because only 28% of all searches were refinements of earlier searches, as users reshaped their queries to make the results more in sync with what they were looking for.

For us in the Search Engine Optimization Business: those searchers who did click on something, in 42% of the time, they clicked on the first link presented to them. That factoid explains why Web sites spend so much money boosting their search-engine rankings.

I hate to keep ragging on the AOL users but they evidently don’t know how to use a search engine a large portion of the searches were direct questions that started with Who, What, Where, or Why. It should be no surprise that about 35% of those writing questions into the search bar didn’t click a link. While I’m on the ugly subject how dumb they AOL users are, the 17th most common search was for Google, Sadly I’m not shocked to hear that some people are so dumb they can’t figure out to type in google.com in their address bar I’ve actually met one of these people before! And yes they were on AOL as yes, they were dumb as a rock.
15% of the searches on AOL included the full url in the search. I guess they just don’t get the whole address thing . . .

Now if your an AOL user and you’re reading this, or if you are in fact “dumb as a rock” please don’t be offended. I don’t mean any ill will by it. Not everyone can be of average or above intelligence. That doesn’t mean your bad or have less worth as a human. Most people that aren’t smart usually have other redeeming qualities like wisdom, strength, speed etc. Some very intelligent people are almost totally worthless or have wrecks for a life (Picasso). Some highly intelligent people lack wisdom have evil intent (Dick Cheney, Karl Rove)
Sure I made fun a little, but I make fun of everyone a little. Want me to prove it? Ask me about the President!

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