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Thursday, August 24, 2006

AOL Search Data

Yes we all know that AOL made data available that could be used to identify people -- if you were that sad and had that much time to browse through 2.27Gb of search data.

Ken McCarthy notes that Lee Gomes (from the Wall Street Journal) showed the top searches from this data.

And I quote from :  

"Of the 17.15 million searches in the database, here were the most searched words in order from the most to the least:

1. free
2. new
3. lyrics
4. county
5. school
6. city
7. home
8. state
9. pictures
10. music
11. sale
12 beach
13. high
14. map
15. center
16. sex
17. Google"

There's a lot more analysis that Ken notes and further analysis offered in the comments section of the post too.

He also says that really there is nothing we don't already know. But it's great to have confirmation of what we know still applies.

One particular point Ken draws and which I fully agree with is that "New" and "Free" are at the top of the searches. These are top keywords that long dead direct mail experts tell us are powerful appeal to us humans.

As I've said before, and will no doubt say again, human psychology doesn't change much, if at all. That means a direct response principle that worked in the 19th century is almost guaranteed to work in the 21st century. 

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