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No such luck. This was simply a headline designed to suck readers into a brief news story. Oh, and by the way, why don€™t you respond to the question, €œWhat do you think is the best search engine?€

For the record, at 10:30 am EST on Thursday around 8,600 votes had been cast and the clear winner among respondents is Google with 69 percent. Yahoo is the only other company in double figures with 16 percent. Voting was the only way I could see the results, but I felt a little silly doing it. I really felt like a sucker when a multi-media ad popped up for Fisher Investments.

Marketing is my background so Forbes gets a few points for getting me to play their game. However my business is analysis and both the headline and the results are deceptive. Asking which search engine is the best is a little bit like polling people about the best college. The results are meaningless. What concerns me is that Forbes is likely to publish the raw data without any analysis.

That does a disservice to the search engine business and the media industry.

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  1. Forbes’ lazy and pandering “Best Of” approach does a disservice to more than the search engine business and the media industry. Offering a user poll under the guise of fact-finding journalism and bestowing a “Best” award perpetuates relativism, not sound reasoning. Such “meaningless” information will undoubtedly continue to be requested and reported because soliciting the public for the “best” stamp of approval provides publishers with free, user-generated content (Zagat, Citysearch…) and flatters users. Moreover, the typical user is oblivious to the “meaningless” quotient of such exercises.

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