Click: What Millions of People Are Doing Online and Why it Matters

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Overview

What time of year do teenage girls search for prom dresses online? How does the quick adoption of technology affect business success (and how is that related to corn farmers in Iowa)? How do time and money affect the gender of visitors to online dating sites? And how is the Internet itself affecting the way we experience the world? In Click, Bill Tancer takes us behind the scenes into the massive database of online intelligence to reveal the naked truth about how we use the Web, navigate to sites, and search for information--and what all of that says about who we are.

As online directories replace the yellow pages, search engines replace traditional research, and news sites replace newsprint, we are in an age in which we've come to rely tremendously on the Internet--leaving behind a trail of information about ourselves as a culture and the direction in which we are headed. With surprising and practical insight, Tancer demonstrates how the Internet is changing the way we absorb information and how understanding that change can be used to our advantage in business and in life.

Click analyzes the new generation of consumerism in a way no other book has before, showing how we use the Internet, and how those trends provide a wealth of market research nearly as vast as the Internet itself. Understanding how we change is integral to our success. After all, we are what we click.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Do Americans really spend that much time surfing porn sites? Which demographic visited Anna Nicole Smith's Web site most frequently? Who reads Perez Hilton? More than mere trivia nuggets, the answers to these questions define online behaviors among a varied mix of Internet users. Tancer, who leads global research at Hitwise, an online market research company, guides the reader through the search patterns among 10 million Internet users, challenging myths and making new discoveries about the psychology of consumers, illustrating that clicks speak louder than words and can reveal unspoken truths about individual drives that are not expressed via other forms of media. Everyone from marketing managers who want to know how much power social networking sites wield in the online market to political pollsters trying to decipher the disconnect between exit polls and election results would be advised to heed his research. Witty and invaluable in its insights, this book is destined to become a primer for online marketers and usability experts while shedding new light on the mindset and curiosities of the average Web surfer, i.e., your friends and neighbors. (Sept.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Reviews
Unilluminating overview offers few new insights into how and why we use the Web. Tancer is the general manager of global research for Hitwise, which analyzes the web-browsing habits of ten million Internet users in the United States. Aggregated and analyzed, he asserts, this data "can reveal a great deal about society"-who American users are, what they're interested in and how those interests change and evolve over time. Unfortunately, his conclusions are intuitive and simplistic rather than surprising or complex. For example, it's hardly a revelation that Americans spend a lot of time looking at pornography, or that they might visit porn sites more frequently when they have free time on their hands, such as during the summer or over Christmas vacation. Nor is it remarkable that people are more likely to search for a particular celebrity by name after that celebrity has been arrested, had a baby or died. Tancer certainly delivers on the first part of his subtitle. He gives a broad sense of what people are doing online, from searching for porn and obsessing over celebrities to trying to lose weight and participating in social-networking sites. He's less capable when it comes to explaining why it matters that affluent teenage girls search for prom dresses in January, or that searches for quick-fix diets peak just after New Year's Day. The book includes plenty of data and year-old buzzwords-"today's age of texting, MySpace pages, and that old standby, email"-but few insights into what all that adds up to, or why anyone should care in the first place. Fails to address the significance of Americans' online habits. Agent: Melissa Flashman/Trident Media Group
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781401323042
  • Publisher: Hyperion
  • Publication date: 9/2/2008
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Bill Tancer is the General Manager of Global Research at Hitwise, an online competitive intelligence company. In addition to his weekly column, "The Science of Search," on Time.com, he has been interviewed and quoted widely in the press, including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, USA Today, Business Week, Forbes Online and CNN Money. He has also appeared on NPR, MSNBC, Dow Jones Market Watch, CNBC, CNN Radio and CBS Radio.
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Table of Contents

Ch. 1 PPC - porn, pills, and casinos 13

Ch. 2 Getting to what we really think 33

Ch. 3 Prom in January 49

Ch. 4 Failed resolutions and the false hope syndrome 69

Ch. 5 Celebrity worship syndrome 87

Ch. 6 What are you afraid of? : and other telling questions 101

Ch. 7 Web Who.0 119

Ch. 8 Data rocks and the television-Internet connection 141

Ch. 9 Women wrestlers and arbitraging financial markets 155

Ch. 10 Finding the early adopters 171

Ch. 11 Super-connectors and predicting the next rock star 185

Epilogue Who we are and why it matters 199

Notes 205

Glossary 211

Index 213

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 24, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    The best book on internet searching to date

    In recent years there has been a deluge of books that deal with the amazing ways that Internet has been changing our lives and the important insights that we have acquired about ourselves from this powerful new platform. And yet, most of these books leave something to be desired. They rarely go beyond what can be gleaned from the headlines by any above-average curious person. Oftentimes they focus too much on extraneous details of the life cycles of internet companies, and neglect to shed much light on what really goes behind the scenes that makes these companies so successful. This is primarily the function of the perception, real or imaginary, that the most valuable commodity that these companies have are in fact their unique insights and research, and the people in the know try to guard this information like the family jewels. With that in mind, Bill Tancer's book comes as a breath of fresh air. It is up to date with the latest thinking and research on online data mining and search strategies, and presents information that is not obvious or necessarily intuitive. He is a veteran of the field with years of experience with companies like HitWise that are at the very forefront of search technologies. He provides valuable and often hard to come by insights into how search companies try to measure and make sense of users' online behavior. Many of the examples in the book, like the searches for the contestants on the popular reality shows, are very contemporary and of interest to wider audience. Whether you are a geek with strong interest in all sorts of internet technologies, or just a curios ordinary web-surfer, this book will provide you with interesting and thought-provoking material.

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  • Posted April 20, 2009

    Very Inormative

    Very interesting reading and will probably be a very useful resource for my E-Business classes in school. It is also helpful knowledge for research and marketing applications. It offers insight to consumer behavior online which obviously is different from classic retail and even mail order.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2008

    clickstream analysis

    Tancer explains in a readable and intuitive manner the importance of clickstream analysis. This refers to capturing the Internet traffic of millions of users as they troll the Internet. Typically, they will be using a browser, and going to various URLs and clicking on links in downloaded pages, to in turn go to other URLs. This is combined with the very important special case where users go to a search engine (Google, Yahoo, MSN etc) and then enter queries. The author works for a company that has agreements with various ISPs that gives it access to clickstream traffic, suitably anonymised. The company has this for some 10 million users. From this aggregate, Tancer describes what might be gleaned. He does this by giving examples and anecdotes possibly deprecating a lot of math analysis. It is unclear how sophisticated the analysis is, in terms of automated algorithms. The logic in his examples is impressive, but seems mostly done at the highest wetware level, ie. manual pattern recognition. One piognant moment shines through. He looks at users making relationship related queries to search engines. 'Some of us are so troubled by our interpersonal relationships that, out of desperation, we've chosen to look to the computer servers, algorithms and indexes take make up a search engine to find the answer to our failures'. You might recall Eliza, the psychology program at MIT in the 70s. Purely text based, which, come to think of it, is what most of today's search engines are, for typical queries and results. The people who used Eliza knew that it was just a program. Some confided in it anyway, as though it was a real friend. Granted, the interplay between today's user and a search engine does not have the same mediative style. But it is as though on a much vaster scale, millions have turned to search engines for therapy. Sadly, the book does have some blemishes. Tancer uses the word 'lurker' to describe those who just go to a social network and consume what is offered, as opposed to more creative types who upload content to it. The word is ill chosen, bearing connotations of stalking. Perhaps it was picked for its colourfulness? But the people who do this 'lurking' are the vast majority of users, who do not have any bad intent. Their actions or inactions are little different from an early generation of people who watched a lot of TV. The term for the latter is couch potatoes. Far more annoying are the figures in the book. These graphs and tables have the letters FPO in large bold type imprinted in the centre. Maybe if the figures were on a webpage, this might have been ok, due to the ease with which a viewer can copy them with a browser. But on a printed page, it screws up the visual experience. Another gripe is the poor quality of what we can discern in the figures. They are low resolution screen captures. Text is hard to read. Also, when the figures are graphs, there are often 2 or more curves. There is a legend at the bottom that indicates what each curve means. But the curves are often hard to distinguish.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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