Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Search engines return similar results for e-commerce comparison shopping

03.02.2006


Consumers who go to multiple search engines looking for the best prices or products may be spending more time than needed, says a Penn State researcher.

In a recent study, Dr. Jim Jansen discovered no significant difference in the effectiveness of five popular search engines in helping consumers find what they were looking for.

"What we learned is that there is little benefit for consumers who occasionally shop online to visit various search engines for product comparisons as those engines basically return nearly identical results in terms of effectiveness," said Jansen, assistant professor in the College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST).



The study also indicated that sponsored links-those that are paid for by businesses-- are no more relevant to consumers than organic or non-sponsored links -- those returned automatically by a search engine’s algorithms.

But Jansen said some advantage to using niche search engines designed for e-commerce can be gained for those consumers who primarily do online shopping.

"Basically, e-commerce search engines will give consumers one more relevant result in a group of 40 links," Jansen said. "This isn’t a significant increase for consumers conducting a single search, but for people doing numerous searches every day, the performance increase could be considerable."

The study, described in "The Effectiveness of Web Search Engines for Retrieving Relevant Ecommerce Links" will be published in July’s Information Processing & Management, Vol. 44, Issue 4, involved 100 e-commerce queries, five major search engines and more than 3,540 returned Web links. The study is available online at http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ipm.2005.09.003.

Independent evaluators analyzed each link for relevance, comparing the original query with the returned results. From their analysis, Jansen and co-author Paulo Molina determined the five search engines returned nearly identical results in terms of relevance. At the time of the study, Molina was a student in the Smeal College of Business at Penn State.

The search engines represented the five general types of searching services that can support e-commerce searching. The individual engines selected and the categories in which each belongs are Excite, a meta search engine; Froogle, an e-commerce search engine; Google, a general-purpose search engine; Yahoo!MarketingServices, a pay-per-click engine; and Yahoo!Directory, a directory of categorized Web sites.

While it is estimated that 80 percent of Web users start with search engines, little is known about their effectiveness in helping consumers locate relevant e-commerce information. Niche search engines, such as those designed for e-commerce, are assumed to perform better in returning relevant results than all-purpose search engines.

Not so, Jansen concluded.

"E-commerce search engines or directory services do return slightly more relevant results per query, but for most consumers, the difference is minimal," the Penn State researcher said.

Niche search engines targeted to specific markets such as technology, retail clothes or sports equipment may be the way to increase the number of relevant results, Jansen said.

The study also reports that evaluators don’t perceive sponsored results as more relevant than organic links. In fact, the reverse is true as the evaluators judged the organic links as more relevant, he noted.

"That finding has implications for Web search engines supporting e-commerce searching as well as for businesses desiring to sell on the Web," Jansen said.

Future research will focus on a more detailed study concerning ranking of sponsored and non-sponsored links to evaluate their effectiveness for consumers.

Margaret Hopkins | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ipm.2005.09.003
http://www.psu.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Real-time feedback helps save energy and water
08.02.2017 | Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg

nachricht The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>