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Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Searches Increasingly Look for Business, Not Porn

Research from Penn State and the University of Pittsburgh have found that web users are searching more for business and e-commerce resources, and less for sex and pornography. The researchers examined Internet usage patterns and archived searches over several years.

Researchers noted that sex-related searched comprised 20 percent of all searched in 1997, as opposed to 5 percent today. By contrast, shopping-related searches increased by 86 percent in the same period.

Reasons for this shift are multiple, and may include such factors as:

  • The growing acceptance of the Net as a business and productivity tool
  • The general growth of e-commerce, and users' increased comfort level with shopping online
  • The prevalence of anti-porn firewalls and strict policies against accessing adult content in the workplace
  • The increase in the number of women -- who would rather shop than look at porn -- online
  • Fears that adult websites may contain viruses or spyware
  • After seven years, anyone interested in adult content has probably downloaded all the porn they can ever use anyway
The study also found that users seek immediate gratification in their searches, using about two words per search and looking at the first few sites that a search brings up. Hence, the importance of search engine placement, including paid placement.

Source: Techdirt