Back a few years ago, there was a leak of information by AOL. They anonymized the search data of 650,000 AOL users and made the 36,389,629 searches available to academics for research purposes. Paul Boutin from Slate magazine got his hands on the data and very quickly came to realize that there were seven types of searchers. He published his findings in Slate and then they were republished in The Best of Technology Writing 2007 (an excellent book, by the way, that I highly recommend reading).
So, according to Paul (and leaked AOL data), these are the seven types of searchers:
- The Pornhound - lookin’ for love in all the wrong places! Dedicated to getting that next hit of nudity and inappropriate adult content.
- The Manhunter - trying to find out more about specific people. Could be a headhunter, HR manager, or stalker. (They are, after all, hard to tell apart!)
- The Shopper - they’ve got money burning a hole in their pocket (or a credit on PayPal using up database records). Looking to buy the next great thing they absolutely need until the next great thing comes along.
- The Obsessive - seriously addicted to one topic. They may look for something else from time to time but they always come back to the same thing.
- The Omnivore - they don’t have any specific pattern of searching, they are just searching a lot. They either search for the sake of searching or have an unquenchable thirst to know everything!
- The Newbie - often search for website addresses (mistaking the search bar for the address bar) or searching for terms that make no sense (e.g. “a”, “the”, “allthebestboybandsintheentireworld”)
- The Basket Case - overly concerned with why they are not perfect. Treat the search engine like a therapyst (e.g. “Why am I so ugly?”, “Why won’t Tim go out with me?”)
So, what type of a searcher are you? Leave us a message in the comments.