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Click: What Millions of People Are Doing Online and Why it Matters Hardcover – 2008

3.8 out of 5 stars 83 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 2008
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--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Tancer, a search-engine data miner, takes a look at our culture by evaluating the millions of search queries on the Internet. He crunches the numbers to quantify our desires, our fears, our quest for knowledge, and our aspirations. From porn to prom dresses to politics, the content of our search queries reveals much about our private thoughts that we would not reveal to loved ones, friends, or a stranger taking a survey. His lists include the top “fear of” searches; fear of intimacy and fear of rejection were ranked high, while the fear of public speaking, usually sited as number one, came in at number nine. “How to tie a tie” just beat out “how to have sex” in the how-to category, with “how to levitate” clocking in at number six! For businesses, searches can reveal surprising information that dispels assumptions about customer behavior, such as the seasonality of clothing purchases. Tancer brings humor, clarity, and insight to the trends that are revealed by the ways we seek out and consume information on the Internet. --David Siegfried --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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 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. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion; First Edition edition (2008)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0023RSZJQ
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.8 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,693,924 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is a great book. First, however, a few words about what it is - and what it's not. It's not a primer on how to get more customers to the website for your your small business. It's not a technical tome on search optimization. It's not the be-all and end-all on the psychology of online behavior.

What it is is something in the same vein as Blink, or Nudge, or Freakonomics. In other words, the author looks at some data and, in a lighthearted way, makes some interesting connections that tell us some very interesting things about ourselves.

In this case, the data is what criteria people enter into search engines. The idea is that this information helps reveal a true picture of ourselves. Ask yourself, what would you trust more when it comes to surveying people's attitudes on pornography - a telephone (or in-person!) survey or detailed data about what people type into a search engine late at night in the privacy of their own homes?

The fun thing about this book is how much data the author has at his fingertips and how much fun he has in seeing odd patterns develop over time or in finding odd correlations - and then trying to figure out why.

Take, for example, prom dresses ... There is an expected bump in searches right before prom time - but also one at the beginning of the year. Why? Well, it turns out that there are basically two different customer groups. One is the girl - social, fashion forward, probably a little more traditional, richer - who is really into it. She reads the fashion magazines that feature prom wear (and that come out in January) and then starts preparing.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The book is written in an acedotal style that is distracting from the message of the book; it is similar to listening to a person with ADD or a person jumping around the web on semi-related web links. The underlying message that real-time consumer/web user data is very powerful when you have access to it and know what you are doing is hidden below the self-grandizing of the author.

The author makes references to searches / research that only someone who has access to the search data of his firm (name left out intentionally) through out the book. It is annoying as no one but a client of his firm could really attempt what he describes in the book. Note: You will not get great insights into what can be done. He only hints at it as the searches being described would be fairly obvious to someone familiar with the data being gathered by the author's firm or other firms specializing in web traffic information gather. It seems that he is looking for potential consulting gigs with other businesses.

The book is clearly an informercial for the client's firm. There are not great insights to be had by reading the book. The chapter on why prom dress searches spiking in January could easily be answered by asking a teenage where magazine ads for the Prom start to come out -- a pretty obvious logical why to find out. If the author has described his methods from the ground up including what data was available, the book would be much more useful for someone new to web marketing and what data is being gathered by web information companies.

The prose is not terribly well written. The author uses a circular style of writing that takes a while to get to the "wheat" amongst his self-grandizing "chaff".
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
When I first received this book I was expecting it to be a business book that talked about general search related strategies and how to utilize search to make your business better. What I got, in "Click", was a book that took me into the revealing world of online research and opened up my eyes to concepts, trends and behaviors that I never knew existed. It was a wild ride; an interesting ride; and most of all one that left me wanting to know more about online search and what secrets the data holds.

All of us tell little white lies. We all holds back the full truth more often than we will admit. Our partners, our family, our friends -- they only get a portion of the whole picture. Yet to a perfect stranger we are willing to tell the whole story. We leave nothing out; we spill our emotions, our fears and our curiosity to it without a second thought. That stranger in the night? None other than your search engine of choice. It knows more about us and what we do than our closest friend or trusted life partner.

The data reveals more about our habits and beliefs than many of us want to even admit to ourselves. We tell search engines more about out hates, our fetishes, our hungers and our pains than you could possibly imagine. When our collective searches are pulled together and analyzed, they reveal fascinating habits and trends amongst different parts of the population. Things that no survey could come close to telling us.

This book is not only suited for business people who want to understand how to analyze click and search data, but also for those of us out there who want to understand and know more about the sociology of the web itself. If you are anything like me, you will finish reading this book with a lot more questions running through your mind than before you started. If nothing else, it will help you see the Internet -- and people -- in ways you never have before.
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