Search profiling basics PDF Print E-mail

Search engines are commonly seen by individuals and corporations as a one way street to information: the search engines gives information and internet users take it.

99% of internet users ignore or prefer to ignore that they are themselves a precious information source for the search engine that records all of their requests: the search engine has become, at the same time, an incredible market search tools, an observatory of political opinions, a center of technological watch on companies and an observation tool of consumption habits of any internet user.

Google, AOL, Yahoo and other search engines record, quite discreetly, political, societal, personal and professional profiles of any internet user.

The study I have undertaken aims at pinpointing three search profiling impact in three areas:

  • marketing data management by companies,

  • protection of political and religious choices, as they can be observed by search engines,

  • right of access to personal data, recorded and stored by search engines.

Trough the search profiles of 5 AOL users based on their requests between march and june 2006, our research works account for basic analysis that can be conducted on any individual and set basics for a new area of webmarketing: search profiling.

A profile may be divided into four areas:

  Personal profile

It groups private informations:

  • hobbies (sports, culture, arts, travels...)

  • daily habits

  • private networks (family, friends, couple...)

  • center of interests,

  • exceptional events (thefts, accidents, ...)

  • health (illness, sickness, medical treatments, surgery...)

  • citizen data (home, taxes...)

  • illegal behaviors

  • intimate sphere (search for partners, online entertainment...)

Consumer profile

It consists in all the requests related to product and service consumption:

  • product families searched for,

  • analysis of the purchase cycle of a specific product (identification, supplier research, evaluation, online or offline product purchase)

  • loyalty to or interests for brands,

  • influencers.

Societal profile

It enables an analysis of three information groups:

  • political profile: candidates or political parties, search on current political topics, integration to networks (unions, parties, online communities, non-governmental organizations, lobbying...)
  • civic profile: all that reflect someone's taking part into public life (gifts to or memberships of organizations...)

  • religious or philosophical profile: religious group, religious habits, churches, para religious matters (philosophy, esotericism , sects).

  Professional profile

It analyzes someone's everyday professional life and helps anticipate upcoming changes (training, new job search...):

  • online business intelligence: marketing, technological, competitive and environmental watch (suppliers, customers, legal environment...),

  • professional networks and connections,

  • training: courses, diploma, search for training structures,

  • job search,

  • peripheral centers of interests.

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