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The price of unbiased Internet searching

A News.com reader asks what is it worth to you, as an individual, to have unbiased searches from paid advertisers?

     

      
    The price of unbiased Internet searching

    In response to the Nov. 30 column by Charles Cooper, "Paid search? It stinks:"

    While in some respects this is a disappointing and regrettable development, I don't believe that it diminishes the usefulness of search engines.

    To begin with, search engines return a set of results based on key words. You then have to parse those returns anyway. In some cases, the paid placements might have relevance. In others, it's just another link you can decide not to follow.

    One could think of paid placement exactly like the Yellow Pages. For a fee, a company can get a large graphical ad in the phone book which you can't help but see. But buried around them are the more complete listings.

    What is it worth to you, as an individual, to have unbiased searches from paid advertisers? Perhaps that is the question (and the next revenue stream for the search engines) which will address our shared annoyance to this issue.

    James Phillips
    Medway, Mass.