I’m not sure who J.D. Power or his associates really are, however, they are apparently experts at giving out awards to trucks and search engines, among other things. Most recently, J.D. Power & Associates ranked Dogpile the top search engine in terms of customer satisfaction.
For those who are unfamiliar with Dogpile, it is essentially a search engine that takes results from other engines, such as Google, Yahoo! and MSN, and amalgamates them into one list. Within this list there are both organic results as well as ads. Some might feel that this format tricks users into clicking on ads–thereby making money for Dogpile–that they thought were normal organic links. After all, Google, Yahoo! and MSN all display their ads in blue banners along the top and in a small column on the right. Surely, this is the preferred tactic for the majority of users, right?
If Dogpile has the highest customer satisfaction rating, it means that Dogpile users are getting what they want more often than do Google, Yahoo! and MSN users. Therefore, doesn’t this suggest that people might actually prefer ads to organic listings in many cases? After all, if you are a shopper, ads will be much more helpful whereas if you are doing researcher, organic listings are probably the way to go.
Online advertising is almost a four-letter word. No, not physically–it’s actually a 17-letter or 18-character word, if you include the space–but it often gets treated as if it were. Tell someone that you work in online advertising and their face will scrunch up as if they bit into a lemon. They’ll follow this with a something on the order of, “Oh no! Not those banner and pop-ups; is that you guys?”
“No, no, no!” I’ll respond. “We’re the good guys. We help you find stuff you’re already looking for.” I promise you that your new acquaintance will walk away unconvinced.
So, thank you, Dogpile, for proving that search ads are probably a lot more helpful than people think. Whereas Google, Yahoo! and MSN throw the ads in locations that very few people ever notice, Dogpile treats search ads as if they were as relevant and helpful as an organic listing. And, according to their satisfied customers, they are making a great argument that they might be right!
Of course, it could be posited that Dogpile’s customer satisfaction rating is so high simply because anyone who’s still stubborn enough to use Dogpile instead of the big three is probably doing so because, for whatever reason, they just really really like it.
But I’d like to think that search ads are just a lot more helpful than people give them credit for, so let’s stick with that!