E-Commerce Thrives on Search and Privacy

dell takes a slice at apple with super thin latitude z dellz closed

Two new studies highlight patterns in the online retail market place: first, market research firm Hitwise finds that online retailers get almost 25 percent of their traffic from search engines, while Carnegie Mellon finds that online shoppers will pay more if a retailer works to protect their privacy.

First up, Hitwise finds that sites in its Shopping & Classifieds category got 24.95 percent of their upstream visits from Internet search engines during May 2007. The number isn’t actually a very large increase from May of 2006, but the balance of the search traffic has changed, with Google accounting for 15.55 percent of Shopping & Classified traffic, an increase of 8.7 percent, leaving the rest of the search engines to duke it out amongst themselves for the remaining 10 percent of the category’s overall traffic. The other gainer since 2006 has been social networking site MySpace, now accounting for 3.15 percent of the category’s upstream traffic—an increase of over 86 percent compared to the year before. And the top beneficiary of that MySpace traffic? Ebay.

Meanwhile, a study from Carnegie Mellon University finds that online shoppers are generally willing to pay a little extra to buy from retailers who make it easy to determine how consumers’ privacy will be protected. Led by associate research professor of computer science, engineering, and public policy Lorrie Cranor, participants using the Privacy Finder indicated they were more likely to buy from merchants with good privacy policies, as identified by Privacy Finder—and they were also willing to pay about 60 cents extra on a $15 purchase to buy from a site with a privacy policy they liked. Privacy Finder relies on data published using the Platform for Privacy Preferences (P3P) to present information on sites’ policies.

“Our suspicion was that people care about their privacy, but that it’s often difficult for them to get information about a Web site’s privacy policies,” said Cranor. “People can’t act on information that they don’t have or can’t understand.”

The study examined 72 people who were given $45 and and asked to buy two items—a package of batteries and a vibrating sex toy. Some used Privacy Finder, but others did not. Interestingly, users made about a third of their sex toy purchases from sites ranked with “high privacy” ratings by Privacy Finder—but made 50 percent of their battery purchases from high privacy sites. Cranor said they’d expected shoppers to be more concerned about privacy when buying a sex toy than they would be when buying batteries, and hopes additional research will clarify consumers’ motivations.


Formula 1 is putting data in the driver’s seat, and not all racers are happy

After a single weekend of racing, a Formula 1 pit crew typically pulls around 2TB of data from the car. Everything, from tire pressure to the temperature of the track, is recorded and analyzed in the name of boosting performance -- and not…

Here's what we know about the Dark Souls developer's next game

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is the latest game from Dark Souls and Bloodborne developer From Software. Here is everything we know about the new game, including its setting and combat changes.
Movies & TV

Comcast launches Xfinity Flex, a $5-a-month service aimed at cord cutters

For $5 a month, Xfinity Flex gives existing Xfinity internet subscribers a 4K- and HDR-ready set-top box that can stream video from YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, as well as free TV from apps like Cheddar and ESPN3.

Upcoming zombiefest Days Gone boasts 30-plus hours of story-driven content

Days Gone, the first PlayStation 4 title from Sony's Bend Studio, looks to offer a different type of zombie game. Here's everything we know about the forthcoming title, from the setting to its gameplay.
Smart Home

Smart light switches have become more affordable: Here are the best ones

The ability to control the lighting in your home can have a big effect on your living space. To have more control over your lighting, check out the best smart light switches on the market. 
Smart Home

Update your kitchen with the best refrigerators you can buy in 2019

There are tons of factors that go into buying a fridge, from size and capacity to color. It takes lots of testing and research, but we've chosen the best refrigerators to get you started, regardless of what you're looking for.
Smart Home

Walmart serves up a rare deal on the Google Home Max at $100 off

Some deals are predictable and others are pre-announced, but today Walmart posted a rare deal: $100 off the powerful Google Home Max. Since it rarely goes on sale, waiting may not be prudent. If you want one, grab it.
Smart Home

The best smart locks to increase your home security in 2019

A good smart lock should offer a combination of security and convenience. Fortunately, these devices keep your home protected, your family safe, and your belongings secure from possible intruders.

Suck up the savings with these vacuum cleaners on sale for $100 or less

Keeping your floors clean around the home is a constant chore. To help make things a whole lot easier, we've picked out some great vacuum cleaner deals available right now, from full-sized upright models to robot vacs.
Smart Home

Is your coffee maker hiding mold inside? Here's how to clean it

Are you a coffee drinker? If you brew your coffee at home and you don't clean your machine, you could be drinking mold, yeast, and other bacteria. Here's how to clean your coffee maker.

Walmart drops prices on Google Home Hub and Lenovo smart displays

Walmart slashed the prices of Google Home smart displays for two highly regarded Lenovo models and the original Google Home Hub. We can't think of a better way to improve your smart home setup and these deals can help you save up to $100.

Amazon lowers Echo Dot cost and slashes price of the Dot and Smart Plug bundle

Amazon just unleashed extraordinary price cuts on third-generation Echo Dot smart speakers. The Alexa device is back in stock following the blowout sales last holiday season. The Echo Dot is the best-selling Alexa smart speaker worldwide.
Smart Home

These best outdoor security cameras will keep porch pirates at bay

Worried about porch pirates stealing your packages, or intruders entering your home? Always be in the know about who or what is on your property by installing one of these outdoor security cameras.
Smart Home

Your Instant Pot can do it all. Research says it has another important function

Researchers at Dakota State University tested a variety of pressure cookers for sterilization and found that Instant Pot provides enough pressure and heat to kill off food-spoiling bacteria.