Only one in six users of internet search engines can tell the difference between unbiased search results and paid advertisements, a new survey finds.

The Pew Internet and American Life Project reported Sunday that adults online in the United States are generally naive when it comes to how search engines work.

The major search engines all return a mix of regular results, based solely on relevance to the search terms entered, and sponsored links, for which a website had paid money to get displayed more prominently.

Google marks such ads as "sponsored links," Yahoo terms them "sponsor results" and Microsoft's MSN uses "sponsored sites." Such ads are placed to the right and on top of the regular search results, in some cases highlighted in a different color.

Wired News: Users Confuse Search Results, Ads


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