Study shows the
second- and third-place search engines are gaining users.
the best overall consumer experience among major web search
engines, but Yahoo and Microsoft's MSN have made significant
gains in popularity since May 2004, according to a study
by Keynote Systems. Participants in the survey also chose
Google as the search engine they would most likely use
in the future.
and MSN are the top three search engines, in that
order, based on overall consumer experience, Keynote found
in a survey of 2,000 consumers. Ask Jeeves and Lycos round
out the top five, the San Mateo, California-based web
performance monitoring company said.
Google also leads
the study's "Future Usage Index", which indicates
the likelihood of consumers to use a specific search engine
in the future. However, Yahoo and MSN made significant
gains in the Future Usage Index relative to their performance
in the last study, published in May 2004. Keynote also
reported a jump in the number of users who call Yahoo
and MSN their primary search engines, as primary Yahoo
users jumped by 20 percent from the last study, and primary
MSN users increased by 30 percent.
Yahoo and MSN
also grew in popularity compared to Google, said Bonny
Brown, director of research and public services at Keynote.
The report attributes MSN's improved consumer rating to
the search engine's decision to separate its sponsored
search results from non-sponsored Web results.
Creating an overall
enjoyable consumer experience is crucial for search engines,
Keynote reports, because 75 percent of participants in
the study said they use one search engine primarily. On
the other hand, 50 percent of participants said they would
change search engines if they were unhappy with their
search results on a given search engine.
its study, called Customer Experience Rankings for
the Search Engine Industry, on data gathered from a group
of 2000 US consumers age 18 and older. Although the research
is conducted independently, at least some of the search
engines involved in the rankings are Keynote clients.
"Some of the [search engine] companies are customers,"
Keynote spokesman Dan Berkowitz said. Keynote does not
disclose names of its search engine clients, he said.
used the internet at home or in their offices, they were
monitored by Keynote throughout the whole process. "We
asked (participants) first to do a product search for
tennis shoes or a vehicle, or local searches like looking
for movies and restaurants, eventually moving to more
complex tasks like planning vacations," Brown said.
The research panel was compiled through
a series on online recruiting methods, including opt-in
email lists, partnerships with large portal websites,
and sometimes from third party recruiters to acquire
more specific demographics. Participants receive a $10
gift certificate to Amazon.com for each study they complete.
Despite the company's
top ranking, a Google spokesman declined comment on
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