It’s normal for big companies to make big mistakes, but this one is just so damn stupid. According to rumors the search records of three months of AOL search are downloadable for who ever wants them. If you used AOL search then your ID and all searches performed under this ID is for me and the rest of the world to see.
In a disclaimer attached it says the records are to be used for research purposes only, but any idiot can guess that the records weren’t meant for people like me. So first lets put some of you at ease! No personal information can be found in the records, after all very few people are able to couple the searchers ID to his name. So no worries there.
So why is this embarrassing for AOL! Very simple which self respecting company wants their private information on the internet. You might think that this information is useless, but for search engine optimizers its a pot of gold. Let me explain you why.
For internet marketers it’s important to be found. And to be found you need to know what people are looking for. So in that sense this information is priceless. It tells these people exactly how to advertise their pages so the most people will find them. Not only does it tell which keywords are used often, it also shows which websites were chosen from the search results. This information provides these marketers with a change to see how the searchers think and act in search engines, well AOL search in specific.
If these search records were of a short period like a few days or a week then it would do little good, but as it is I’ve seen data for about three months and over 20 million searches. That’s a lot of information about how people search and what they are looking for!