In search engine world, domains become brands

A colleague sent me an impressive white paper on domains’ role in guiding search engine users. Samuel Ieong et. al. show that domains convey trust: When users are presented bits of information in a search result list, they tend to click on links to well-known domains even if more relevant results are presented very close by. They claim: “Viewing content on the Internet as products, domains have emerged as brands.”

Quick Dutch summary: “Wat de boer niet kent, dat clicked hij niet”.

The paper can be downloaded here: http://ilpubs.stanford.edu:8090/1021/1/wsdm12-domain-bias.pdf

Guest Blog Post on Scientific American

On Rushes and Riches: The “Wild West” Era for Internet Domain Names Is Over as Efficient Markets for This “Virtual Land” Have Emerged

On April 22nd, 1889, large areas of what is now Oklahoma were officially opened up for homestead settlement. At high noon, thousands of pioneers raced from the territory’s borders into pristine land, claiming lots on a first come, first serve basis. Within hours (!), first cities emerged around railroad stations or at other well connected spots, quickly establishing local governments, basic infrastructure and property rights. Despite opposing laws, land claims were directly sold off in secondary markets.

Read my full blog post at the Scientific American website – klick here.