Brand matters

By way of Greg Linden, a research article out of Penn State, “The Effect of Brand Awareness on the Evaluation of Search Engine Results” test the value of a brand when it comes to search results.

The test took four sets of search results from Google and modified the look of the page to look like other search engines, in this case, Yahoo, Microsoft Live Search, and AI2RS. Read the paper, it is short and well written.

What was curious to me was that Yahoo ranks higher in terms of precision than everyone else, which would suggest that people found results from Yahoo to be better, even though a majority of the participants regularly used Google.

To me this is an odd contradiction and, as Greg Linden points out, the study needs to be expanded to shed more light on those results.

What it does suggest though is that while Yahoo is trusted to provide better results, clearly that is not enough to cause them to prevail against Google.

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