The Demographics of Search (and A List of The Internet's Most Popular Sites)

TechCrunch recently had a story about a new study which found that  lower-income people tend to prefer Yahoo! and higher-income people prefer Google. 

(Shea's reading over my shoulder and goes “That's funny – I didn't know anyone preferred Yahoo!”)

Anyhow, that made me think about the “Everything You Wanted To Know About the Internet (But Were Afraid To Ask)” public sessions I've been giving in rural libraries for the last month and a half.  I introduce my presentation as “a guided tour of the Internet's most useful and most popular web sites” and tend to have an audience of very new, inexperienced Internet users who are mostly online for e-mail and some basic web surfing.  In very general terms, they've heard of Google, Hotmail, Ebay (but definitely haven't bought or sold anything online!) and occasionally Facebook but that's about it. 

And to be fair, “rural villages” are almost perfectly split between using Yahoo! and Google according to the TechCrunch article while “small towns” skew towards Google.  It's places like “struggling societies”, “blue collar backbone” and “remote America” that spend more time with Yahoo! (Just don't ask me what those different categories mean!)

During the presentation, I also do a section on sites that are useful
for our everyday life in the province – sites for maps, phone books,
local news, etc. and a plug for the
library's web site and all it has to offer.


But for the bulk of the presentation, these are the sites I talk about (with related subjects I cover in brackets.)

Amazon.com (buying online and e-commerce)
Download.com (viruses and keeping your computer secure)
Ebay.com (how sites like Amazon and Ebay among others have leveled the playing field for people in rural areas who are now able to buy (and sell) a massive range of products that used to require special trips to the nearest major centre to obtain in the past)
Facebook.com (online privacy)
Flickr.com (your digital footprint)
Google.com (basic tips to improve your searches, different features of Google beyond search)
Hotmail.com
Wikipedia.org
YouTube.com

Do you notice a glaring omission?  Did my own anti-Yahoo! bias factor into my choice of sites to talk about during my presentation, even when Yahoo is the number one site for traffic on a global basis and one of the top three companies for Internet traffic in the United States

This is also especially ironic given my recent discovery that only three of the four major search engines find my blog – Yahoo! is one that does along with MSN Live and Ask.com.  Google is the only one that doesn't! 

I've only got a couple weeks left but are there any other sites that you'd introduce to an audience of beginning Internet users (er, other than Yahoo?  )

Comments 2

  1. Anonymous wrote:

    Ask.com? Or at least Askforkids.com if they are wondering about homework help for their kids/grandkids?

    Posted 19 Feb 2008 at 11:23 pm
  2. Anonymous wrote:

    Thanks for the tip. I was able to use AskForKids to point someone to free clip art just the other day.

    Posted 29 Feb 2008 at 2:07 pm
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