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

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

by Bill Tancer


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 2901401323041
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication date: 09/02/2008
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 1.50(h) x 9.50(d)

About 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, 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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Click: What Millions of People Are Doing Online and Why it Matters 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
lrobe190 on LibraryThing 24 days ago
Bill Tancer is "the king of research". He takes the data he collects and uses it, among other things, to help the business world interpret the data to more effectively market their products. In the process, he is realizing and sharing the huge differences the internet has made in our daily lives, in the commercial world and in every aspect of government. Decision-makers in all of these areas go about making these decisions based on a whole new way of finding, knowing and interpreting data that was never available to us before. With humor and insight, Tancer explains how we are using the data we find online and why it even matters.This was a very readable book and very eye-opening to me.
vpfluke on LibraryThing 24 days ago
This is a rather breezy book about the current use of the internet, particularly when people do searches. The author tries to get into why people do the web searches they do, and it is not always intuitively obvious. This book comes out of his work at Hitwise. In some ways this is a book about the use of google and other search engines. He spends time talking about porn seekers, prom dress finders, dieters, celebrity worship and fears people have. Besides the well-known 80-20 rule, he brings forthe the idea of the 1-9-90 spread, where only 1% of people are active contributors to a site (like Wikipedia), 9% are occasional contributos, and 90% are lurkers. Myself, I would be in the 1% of LT users, and in the 9% with my use of Angfran (Anglican Franciscan) or Wikipedia, and in the 90% for everything else. At the end of the book, he discusses the Early Adopters, and the Super-Connectors.
trav on LibraryThing 24 days ago
This was a fascinating book. It's amazing how much data is collected by those watching the internet. Tancer uses a very relaxed conversational style to explain some of the more technical and broader ideas. It's not hard to get lost when he's explaining the parameters for a dataset that he's compiled to help back up an argument.This is a great read if you are at all looking to position yourself or a business interest online. At a minimum, you'll look at areas of the country differently when it comes time to take action online. The back few sections are really the most valuable for this. In fact, I think I could have read the parts on early adopters and targeting markets and been just fine.Some of the points he makes early on in the book seem a bit more "circumstantial". Such as stating "why" people were searching for certain things and not just mapping out the trends (especially in the area of politics/religion).So I'd recommend this book to anyone in business or following online trends. It is an easy read for both.
wvlibrarydude on LibraryThing 24 days ago
A good look at internet data and how a business/person is trying to use it for finding patterns in the behavior of people. The chapters take you through his process of understanding what factors have to be accounted for in looking at the data. After reading, I did want more emphasis on the problem of trying to understand motivations behind what we click, but again it was a good process. I just wish I had a job where I could interact with data like the author gets to analyze. Must be fun.
Tunguz More than 1 year ago
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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Barbara70 More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.