People Use Search to Find Information. Who Knew?

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Here are some leftovers from the Yahoo press release bin:

Oct. 12, 2005 - Eighty-six percent of new parents-to-be said they use the Internet to search about information on pregnancy, compared with using books (68 percent), friends/family (53 percent) and magazines (37 percent). In the same survey, part of Yahoo Search Marketing's Life Series research, 81 percent of college students rate search as their best source of information, followed by friends and family (64 percent), newspapers (36 percent) and television (24 percent).

Wait, there's more.

Oct. 19, 2005 - According to a poll by Yahoo and the Chief Marketing Officer Council, 55 percent of 322 post-purchase shoppers outside Best Buy, CompUSA and Circuit City stores during Dads and Grads season said they consulted the Internet before purchasing at an offline location.

And that's not all.

Nov. 1, 2005 - Yahoo and Compete Inc. announced key findings from a new study tracking Internet search and transaction activity specifically related to retail apparel Web sites. The study found that search was used by 20 percent of the 25 million unique monthly visitors engaging in apparel activity on the sites Compete tracked.

Yes, search plays a key role in our lives. We get it. Now, tell us something we don't know.

Speaking of everyone's favorite subject, search was notably de-emphasized at last week's ad:tech New York conference. It still was an exuberant, celebratory feast, but it also made me remember shows from several years back. I asked an investment banker whether the industry is headed for another fall, but he said things are different this time. For one, many of the companies are profitable, and as Dana Todd, senior vice president of SiteLab International and president of the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization, told us: "We spent a lot of money in 1999 doing a lot less. This time 'round, we're not buying foosball tables - we're sinking it into brains and innovation."

The sessions I sat in on were informative. Blogging seemed to be the buzzword, but I wonder whether that will be true in two years. The exhibit hall was packed to the gills, and the most unusual company I ran across, by way of its name, was Xanox, a European firm in performance-based multichannel commerce. Somehow, I don't think its executives did much research before selecting that name.

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