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Move over Google, Here Comes YP

In spite of the perhaps slightly over-promotional tone of the title, the point of the article is not that of glorifying an obscure search engine. We are simply reporting on the results of a recently completed, third party, blind research poll conducted to gauge the users’ satisfaction with search engine YP. To clear any suspicions from the get-go – yes, the test was sponsored and the comparison needs to be taken within the broader frame of scale and visibility that YP boasts, compared to Google, Bing, and Yahoo. However, the test results are clear enough: users feel that YP delivers better search results than all the afore-mentioned three ‘giants’. The methodology employed during the test sounds trustworthy enough. Here are the facts.

Methodology of the test

Search engine YP asked CrowdFlower, a data analysis company, to test the relevance of their test results. To this end, CrowdFlower tracked some 13,000 local searches each month and polled the users on their satisfaction with the services. The aim of the test was to find out how relevant the query results were for the users, but since there was no way of objectively asking them to assess that, satisfaction was used in its lieu.

In simple terms, users made local queries for various businesses, such as hotels, restaurants, etc.. They then had to compare the results yielded by YP with those provided by Google Maps, Yahoo! Local and Bing local. Search results were presented without brand logos, in order to avoid influencing the users either way. What’s more, YP only allowed CrowdFlower to publish the search results after the completion of the test. According to YP representatives, the test was not meant to be conducted for PR or other promotional reasons, but simply as an internal benchmark tool.

Results

For three consecutive months, YP local search results outperformed those from Google, Bing, and Yahoo, with narrow margins between YP and Google and a significantly wide one when held up against Bing. In November, for instance, 74 per cent of respondents were happy with Bing results, 82 per cent with Yahoo results, 83 per cent with Google Maps results, but 86 per cent were satisfied with YP results. As a matter of fact, YP consistently scored 85-86 per cent in terms of user satisfaction, throughout the three months offered as a sample illustration of the test results. What’s more, they scored better in some rather important categories, such as apartments, car repair shops and services, beauty salons, credit unions, dentists’ offices, insurance, and real estate agencies. And they were on par with the top search engines in some other notable categories, such as car dealers, movie theaters, colleges and universities, and doctors and surgeons.

The conclusion is one that Microsoft has also been trying to make for several years now. The corporation claims its search results are far better and more accurate than those provided by Google. However, they blame their comparatively lower popularity on the ‘brand blindness’ that Google generates. This could also be the case with YP – and who knows how many other search engines out there.

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