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Click: What Millions of People Do Online and Why It Matters
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Click: What Millions of People Do Online and Why It Matters

3.52  ·  Rating details ·  665 Ratings  ·  130 Reviews
What time of year do teenage girls search for prom dresses online? How does the quick adoption of technology affect business success (and how is that related to corn farmers in Iowa)? How do time and money affect the gender of visitors to online dating sites? And how is the Internet itself affecting the way we experience the world? In Click, Bill Tancer takes us behind the ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published September 2nd 2008 by Hachette Books (first published August 18th 2008)
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Jun 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
Accessible but satisfyingly geeky look at our collective online lives. Tancer's enthusiasm and curiosity about his data thrilled me. Great case studies (he looks at everything from prom dresses to Tila Tequila to Dancing with the Stars) and funny, clean prose. My only complaint? It's too slight--I want more data and graphs and charts. Now.

(Note--I read an arc, not the finished book.)
Megan Brisbin
Nov 15, 2010 rated it it was ok
Bill Tancer, the General Manager of Hitwise Global Research, writes an insightful book about the internet and the use people get out of it. Being that Tancer works at a research company he is very good at getting useful information for the readers to have. He presents many valuable arguments for what the majority of people do on the internet and how often search engines are used. He searches to find out how many people actively use the internet and how many participate in search engines and page ...more
David Natiuk
Jan 02, 2011 rated it liked it
"I Love Data" would be the theme of this book and one of Bill Tancer's signature lines. Click is a journey into the information collected online from tens of thousands of internet users and what this data says in its purest form. And what it says is often fascinating and different than what we might expect.

I believe the most fascinating aspect of online collected data is that is might give us a much more accurate window into people's real interests, habits, activities, even fears. A major proble
Mar 15, 2009 rated it liked it
Bill Tancer has immediate access to a fantastic resource - the searches performed across the Internet. He can be listening to a TV program in the background, hear an interesting item, and instantly execute a query to see what the online world of multitudes of searches reveals...this is a benefit of being general manager of Global Research at Hitwise.

I just happened to glance at the cover of this book in passing and picked it up for a quick read (it's only about 200 pages with charts throughout).
Feb 27, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who can say "I love data" without irony.
Recommended to Alan by: Powell's City of Books
This was a short book, but engaging and entertaining. The examples with which Tancer illuminates his points, such as his explanation of the observation that prom dress searches spike in January rather than April or May, are specific and counterintuitive enough to be very interesting. I'm jealous of his access to such specific aggregate data - his job sounds like a fun one.

Tancer does get it wrong sometimes, though. His book came out just a bit too early to take into account the final results of
Mar 02, 2009 rated it it was ok
Bill Tancer is not a writer. What that means is that this collection of anecdotes while interesting don't amount to any of the insights one generally expects from this sort of book. So while the blogs posts and PowerPoints these case studies started out as were probably quite entertaining, there's really no reason to read this book unless you're looking for entertainment.

This is no criticism of Tancer. He loves data and the one thing the book does do is provide a bit of infectious enthusiasm for
Sep 06, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: technology
My review: Eh.
Additional comments: Parts of it read like an elaborated resume, or sounded like someone at a job interview. It wasn't exactly what I was expecting, so I'll take the blame for some of my disappointment.
Oct 13, 2008 rated it it was ok
Really nothing special. I expected more than a series of "neat things Bill Tancer figured out with Data!" A HitWise press release in hardcover disguise.
Merell Turner
“Hello, I’m conducting a survey on behalf of _________ market research firm. Would you be able to answer some questions about your interest in online pornography “(p17)? Imagine a call like this just as you are about to sit down to dinner. How do you respond to a question of this nature and is there any reason to believe that you are answering the questions truthfully? You are more than likely going to abstain from answering such private questions. So how does a market research firm get honest f ...more
Jazmin Rambeau
Nov 11, 2010 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 17, 2010 added it
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Nov 10, 2010 rated it liked it
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Feb 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite
In recent years there has been a deluge of books that deal with the amazing ways that Internet has been changing our lives and the important insights that we have acquired about ourselves from this powerful new platform. And yet, most of these books leave something to be desired.
Bojan Tunguz
May 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
In recent years there has been a deluge of books that deal with the amazing ways that Internet has been changing our lives and the important insights that we have acquired about ourselves from this powerful new platform. And yet, most of these books leave something to be desired. They rarely go beyond what can be gleaned from the headlines by any above-average curious person. Oftentimes they focus too much on extraneous details of the life cycles of internet companies, and neglect to shed much l ...more
Aug 13, 2008 rated it it was ok
The two stars are for some genuinely interesting content, including a look at the disparity between what people genuinely fear and what they claim to fear and insightful commentary on how people will ask a search engine questions that might be better served to a close friend ("Why did he leave me?" for example).

However, for most of the book, I was considering mailing a highlighted copy to my favorite feminist blog for a snarky dressing down. The author seems stunned by things that are 100% comm
David Roberts
Mar 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
The book I read to research this post was Click: What We Do Online And Why It Matters by Bill Tancer which is a very good book which I bought at a car boot sale. The author of this book uses sites like Hitwise to measure online research by the general public. Obviously when there are big disasters like Hurricane Katrina that tends to become among the most searched for items. Interestingly when Anna Nicole Smith the playboy model whose life was like a soap opera died prematurely many people put i ...more
Dec 13, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: educational
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
This was a fascinating book. It's amazing how much data is collected by those watching the internet. Tancer uses a very relaxed conversational style to explain some of the more technical and broader ideas. It's not hard to get lost when he's explaining the parameters for a dataset that he's compiled to help back up an argument.

This is a great read if you are at all looking to position yourself or a business interest online. At a minimum, you'll look at areas of the country differently when it co
Nov 20, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: statisticians, marketers
Caution: first half of book makes references to adult content sites (without being explicit).

This book is all about how aggregate data from Internet searches can predict the future and trends, and can help marketers know when to start their advertising cycles, etc. Bill Tancer shows how people are using the Internet in unexpected ways and how people are using search engines as confidants.

It's pretty amazing stuff, and maybe a little scary to think about it. Everything you type into Google is sto
Oct 27, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: business-books
This book was a quick and interesting read. The point of the book is to demonstrate the power of Web analytics, specifically search engine data, to forecast consumer trends. While intriguing, some of the predictions the author makes are only loosely supported. Through the use of search engine data, he has the "what" (an increase in certain search terms), but often makes assumptions on the "why" that is driving the popularity of these search terms. Indeed, the author even puts forth a few example ...more
Kathleen Garber
May 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
Click is a book for one of these kind of people:

Those in Research.
Those in any business really
Those who like facts and stats
I'm in the third position. I find it very interesting what people search for online.

The book reveals some very interesting patterns that no one could ever have guessed. In fact when shown the data, even the author had to figure out why it would be like it was. for example, searches for Prom Dresses is at it's height during JANUARY! With proms in June, why would people be s
Feb 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
*We are what we click*

A fascinating book investigating the confluence of the online and the offline worlds, Click explores how an analysis of Internet behavior provides a new understanding of human behavior and preferences. In ways that traditional surveys cannot capture, Internet search-term data reveals more about who we really are, how we really chose to live, and how (and precisely when) we are most likely to change. In addition to reflecting our thoughts, fears, preferences, curiosities, ob
Bengisu Gonul
Nov 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Well, the book has really interesting points for example about diets and giving up smoking every New Year. He points out "In January we feel a sense of control in resolving to change." Its typical that most people make these New Year resolutions, no? Another example, American teenagers search for "prom dresses" in January when prom season is not till May, relating this to prom-themed magazines that are published in late December. Its funny I was looking for my prom dress as well in December and ...more
Apr 20, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2009-challenge
Why do search engines show a HUGE spike in searches for prom dresses in January? What is the day of the week that most people search the internet for porn? Just who reads WHICH gossip sites? The author looks at the way America uses search engines, as his company mines the raw data from a few of them, using the statistics for things like better aimed advertising on the web, better positioning of a web site, etc. While it is an interesting subject, it really would have made a better long article i ...more
Nura Yusof
Jul 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Excellent read and yet disturbing on two aspects.

Increasingly, we are becoming too comfortable ""bearing our souls"" online whether through search engines, blogs etc. Whilst on our part, these activities are seemingly anonymous, we have on the other hand, marketers ever willing to exploit this new knowledge to peddle their wares. To take the analogy Tancer used in his book, it's like being in a confessional, and aside from the penance issued by the priest, he's also selling this bunch of other
Jenna Leng
Dec 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: www
This is a fascinating book about our online search habits. Results taken in the aggregate, it tells us more about how our minds work than traditional surveys.

In a time when online anonymity is becoming more transparent, I found it a little frightening that so much can be found out about our thought processes. While the author didn't make a huge point of the fact that this information is collected for marketing purposes (for the most part) so we can become Good Customers, it's easy to imagine ads
Krystina Ramos
Sep 19, 2011 rated it liked it
Since I'm a DM major, I figured reading Bill Tancer's Click would beneficial to read since it deals with web research. For the most part, I enjoyed reading Click because it wasn't stuffy and contained general language to describe an interesting topic. Tancer explores how the relationship between the data input in a search engine and user habits is relevant for the business market. However, it took me a while to figure out that this was the overall message of the book because the author tends to ...more
Oct 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
Bill Tancer is "the king of research". He takes the data he collects and uses it, among other things, to help the business world interpret the data to more effectively market their products. In the process, he is realizing and sharing the huge differences the internet has made in our daily lives, in the commercial world and in every aspect of government. Decision-makers in all of these areas go about making these decisions based on a whole new way of finding, knowing and interpreting d ...more
John Geddie
Feb 09, 2014 rated it liked it
I'm sort of an analytics junkie and it's interesting to see how this 2008 book envisioned the future of looking at user behavior and predicting future trends. (It's still a wonder to me how many companies aren't even considering how to use the data they have.)

It's a fun read, but it hasn't quite aged as well as you'd imagine. I suppose it's a demonstration of how quick things change online, but it's a bit difficult to hear how MySpace owns social media and how Orkut is well positioned to take th
Oct 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
For me this was a fantastic and eye opening read...ive been in the internet marketing industry a for good few years now and not a novice to the idea of researching data and what people search for .. But this made me see differentiates of data from a new and more deeper prospective - sparking new ideas, knowledge and drag way if looking at things I deal with on a daily basis

Highly recommended for any fellow internet market and beyond whether you're a newbie or seasoned pro - you'll be sure to pic
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Bill Tancer is the general manager of global research at Hitwise, the world’s leading online competitive intelligence services. Tancer and his team of analysts are widely quoted throughout the industry on the latest Internet trends. He appears as a frequent guest on CNBC, has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, the Washington Post and USAToday on topics ranging from the sta ...more
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