back to article Australia Institute: we’re all mindless sheep

Search dominates how we shop on the Web, Google dominates search, big names dominate Google results, and most people don’t bother looking beyond the first page of search results. Those are the key, and remarkably unsurprising, results of a paper called What you don’t know can hurt you, researched and published by the Australia …


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  1. John Kirkham


    Don't think I've ever missed a chance when setting up a browser for someone, to make sure that their preferred search provider, isn't showing the standard 10 search results per page. Always have gone for the highest eg, 100- google 50- for bing blah...

    And turning off 'filter my results' because Paris, must be seen, in all her glory !

    1. Anonymous Coward 101

      Rephrased to make intelligible

      When setting up a browser for someone, I always make sure that their preferred search provider shows the highest number of results per page instead of the default number. In addition, I turn off result filtering so images may be viewed without artificial restrictions being imposed by the search provider.

  2. Pperson

    Two sides to every story?

    While I won't dispute that people are often "lazy, inattentive, ignorant", there is another side to it: if you cannot find what you want in the first page then subsequent pages returned by the search engine will typically be even worse and it is usually more efficient to massage your keywords until you get the ones that manage to extract the results you want from Google/Yahoo/Bing. In other words, we do what works. When PageRank first came out this was not the case, but nowadays you have to cajole the search engine to give you what you are really asking for. It would be interesting to see how much this is due to 'pollution' by pages attempting to manipulate search algorithms into ranking them higher versus the search engines' own [d]evolution for maximising advertising revenues (the more search terms you are forced to try, the more variety of ads you see).

  3. Eddy Ito


    "... the report concludes that the combination of user ignorance and search placements gives brands with spending power the chance to “dominate the Internet"

    This would be different from... what exactly? Here's a clue, a colleague's grandmother drove 30+ miles to buy pizza because the ad said, "Best pizza in the world!" and... you can do the math.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      30? ha! that's nothing.

      One Friday night, I drove 90 miles just to go to a different bar (than the one I was sitting in when I made the decision.)

      If you remember life before Google (and before finding information on the Internet was a matter of chance.

  4. booshang

    At Least Two sides

    Is it justme? Microsoft is the only member i recognise in the sponsoring organisation (iCOMP)?

  5. Chris 96

    Another leftie fail

    'The paper also says “transparency” should “underlie a range of policy interventions”, or as iCOMP put it in its PC submission, there is a “need to foster an Australian regulatory framework which promotes greater choice, transparency, fair prices, and protection from unfair practices from search engines with significant market power.” '

    That the way: dont encourage people to take more responsibility and actually educate/improve themselves, just call upon the government to take on that responsibility and increase the nanny state interference.

    When will people understand that advancement is achieved by dragging the lower bracket UP, not dragging everyone else DOWN!

  6. Edward (Ted) Gent

    Manipulation of Search Engines

    Please don't forget that search engines use algorithms that can be determined and then web sites changed for Search Engine Optimisation. The creators of SEO plugins for Wordpress for example claim millions of copies sold. Other than making the creator a multi millionaire it distorts the search results to favour those sites which have paid for SEO. Google appears to be trying to neutralise these SEO web sites by publishing guides on how to set up web pages.

    cheers ted

  7. Charles 9 Silver badge

    Why don't I go past the first page?

    Because I take a "tight" approach to searching. I try to be as specific as possible in my search terms, using mandatory words and phrase quotes. This usually brings about one of three scenarios:

    1. I find what I was seeking near the top of the list, and don't have to go further.

    2. Nothing is returned, so I loosen up the search bit by bit until I hit something.

    3. Rarely, the page is full of material that has everything I typed but is irrelevant to what I seek. This is probably the only time I may look in subsequent pages, in case the result got smothered. But sometimes, I turn to revising my search criteria and starting from scratch.

  8. Stuart Duel

    Re: Another leftie fail

    @ Chris 96

    Not another "leftie fail" at all. Just another mouth hired by Microsoft to push their interests in the guise of "better public policy".

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