Brand Awareness and the Evaluation of Search Results
We investigate the effect of search engine brand (i.e., identifying name or logo that distinguishes a product from its competitors) on evaluation of system performance. Our research is motivated by the large amount of search traffic directed to a handful of Web search engines, even though most are of equal technical quality with similar interfaces. We conducted a laboratory study with 32 participants measuring the effect of four search engine brands while controlling for the quality of search engine results. Using average relevance ratings, there was a 25% difference between the most highly rated search engine and the lowest, even though search engine results were identical in both content and presentation. We discuss implications for search engine marketing and the design of search engine quality studies.