Thursday, October 11, 2007

Search Engines: Seventy-two percent of online users report ...

Seventy-two percent of online users report experiencing " search engine fatigue," impatience and frustration at not being able to find information they need.

Suffering from Information Overload? You Aren't the Only One!: 72 Percent of Consumers Report Having ``Search Engine Fatigue,'' Reports Autobytel    

Independent "State of Search" Survey Finds 3 out of 4 Online Consumers Leave Their Computers without Finding What They're Looking For

85 Percent Wish for a One-Stop Shop to Find Everything Related to Cars, Including Purchase, Service and Accessories

IRVINE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--According to a new, independent Kelton Research survey commissioned by Autobytel Inc. (Nasdaq:ABTL) and released today on the "state of search," a whopping 72 percent of online searchers are experiencing "Search Engine Fatigue," meaning they become impatient or frustrated when they are unable to quickly find the exact information they need. Of those experiencing this modern day ailment, three out of four physically leave their computer without finding the information they are looking for.

Given that 90 percent of all car buyers1 use the Internet to shop for a vehicle, these consumers are prime candidates to experience "Search Engine Fatigue." In fact, the new Kelton Research/Autobytel survey found that nearly 40 percent of Americans describe finding the "right and relevant" car-related information on the big search engines - such as Google and Yahoo! - as overwhelming and time-consuming. Nearly a quarter of those surveyed said that they have actually put off purchasing a car because they found the overall car-buying process too overwhelming or frustrating.

Considering the size of the automotive industry, estimated by several sources to be well over $1 trillion, including new and used vehicles, accessories, parts, service and repair, and taking into account the thousands of automotive-related sites on the Internet, it's no wonder that online automotive information seekers, in particular, are suffering from information overload.

Survey Shows Online Car Shopper Frustration Growing

When seeking specific car-related information, 86 percent of consumers feel big search engines have limitations or drawbacks. But their frustration doesn't end with the search engines. The survey found that online automotive researchers are also frustrated with third-party sites, such as, and More than two out of three (67 percent) feel that these third-party sites are "mostly similar," without offering "substantial differences." Thirty-six percent of consumers indicated they have to visit other websites to make sure they get the comparative information they need to make decisions.

Originally, the Internet helped to eliminate the days and hours car shoppers were forced to spend traveling from "dealership to dealership" to research and find the best deals. Now, in 2007, with the tremendous influx of information available on the Internet across all categories, online automotive consumers appear to be spending more and more time going from "site to site" to gather all the information they need to make informed decisions. Overall, according to the Kelton/Autobytel survey, the average consumer is visiting five different websites to find what they are looking for during the auto research process.

In the survey, when asked to choose from a "wishlist" of what they would like from an automotive website, the largest block of consumers (37 percent) said they would like to have access to the Internet's full range of automotive information in order to receive the most relevant information they are seeking. The survey also found that large percentages of automotive information seekers are looking for services, products and information beyond vehicle purchasing. In fact, 85 percent wish there was a one-stop shop for everything related to cars including purchase, service and accessories.

Alternatives Are Out There

The good news is that innovation in the online search industry is picking up. Vertical search sites that return only relevant industry-specific results have popped up in the travel ( and health (WebMD) categories. Today, Autobytel's next generation consumer website,, officially launched. The site is designed to connect consumers to all things automotive from across the Web, a site where shoppers can find cars, parts and accessories; see thousands of vehicle photos and automotive-themed videos; research to buy vehicles based on the vast amount of available information, including local dealership details; learn from the best automotive publishing brands and writers; and belong to communities focused on their unique automotive interests.

The official "State of Search" study was conducted May 2007 and involved 1,001 nationally representative Americans age 18 and older who have Internet access. The survey results indicate a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent at a 95 percent confidence level.

Autobytel has prepared a white paper, "The State of Search," which discusses the results of the survey in more detail. A copy of the "State of Search" white paper can be obtained by contacting