The topic in my  new media class this week was search engines and advertising by using web search services like Google, Yahoo or Ask.   Some were surprised that search engine sites  get paid to place search results at the top of the list.   As part of our research for this topic, we were to read an article from 2002 titled Straight Story Search Engines by Laurianne Mclaughlin about search engines and advertising.  I have to admit, I really can’t remember what Google looked like in 2002 or if I could tell the sponsored ad results from those considered “real.

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It seems very easy now to identify search engine results as being either paid for or real.  Google identifies sponsored ads by highlighting and isolating paid results on the right side of the page.  Yahoo.com includes actual shopping results when an item such as digital cameras is queried.  When searching for digital cameras on Ask.com the top of the page yields Amazon.com search results for digital cameras.  Obviously these are sponsored links.

So the question is:  Did you know that advertisers pay to have their products placed strategically in search result lists?  Do you think there is anything wrong with that?

I don’t see anything wrong with sponsored links–as a matter of fact, if I’m researching an item like digital cameras, I want the top results to also include links to places I can buy a digital camera.  That way my comparison shopping is easier and I know that these companies are up to date enough to understand the importance of marketing well in this digital era.

 

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