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How searchers feel about issues related to paid and unpaid search results


The latest report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project shows that Internet search engine users are naive when it comes to the objectivity and use of search engines. The survey found that 84% of online American adults have used search engines. That amounts to 108 million people. On any given day, 56% of those online use search engines. 87% of online searchers say they have successful search experiences most of the time, including 17% of users who say they always find the information for which they are looking.

Most search-engine users are unaware of the distinction between paid and unpaid results: 38% of those who have used a search engine are aware that there are two different kinds of search results, some that are paid or sponsored and some that are not. The remaining 62% are not aware of this practice. Among the 38% of internet users who are aware of the practice, some 47% of searchers say they can always tell which results are paid or sponsored and which are not. So only one in six internet searchers can consistently distinguish between paid and unpaid search results.


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