In Will Mainstream Users Ever Learn About The Browser's Address Bar?, Marshall probes a bit into how people use the browser's search box vs. the address bar.
A lot of people seem surprised to learn that tons of people every day are "searching" for ebay.com or aol.com or just "ebay" or "aol" even though they can type those things into their address bar and get exactly what they want.
I think part of the problem is the myth perpetuated by the search companies themselves. They all know that the top search terms every year are not "britney spears" or "ipone" or whatever.
They're domain names or domain names without the .com on the end of them. Lots of people search Google every day for "yahoo." People search Yahoo for "google." And AOL. And eBay. And so on.
They all filter out those "navigational" queries when reporting those things. I'm not sure who they're trying to protect by doing so, but I certainly could speculate.
Everyone in the search business seems to mostly get this. The folks at those big destinations (like eBay) know this too. They have logs. But the rest of the techie population on-line seems to believe that normal people use the web the same we do.
They don't. And they never will.
Get it through your collective heads, please.
People don't get DNS, domain names, or the difference between searching and direct navigation. And since they all know what it means "to google" that's exactly what they do. You can either accept that or deny the truth.
That's why you're seeing numbers like this every quarter.
This ends today's reality check. Please go back to trying to change the world by explaining what the address bar is for. :-)
Oh, here's a bonus tip: normal people can't tell the difference between AdSense style ads and all the other links on most web sites. And almost the same number don't know what "sponsored results" on the Search Results Page are either. It's just a page of links to them. They click the ones that look like they'll get them what they want. It's that simple.
Posted by jzawodn at July 17, 2008 05:21 PM