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More than One-Third of Americans Purposely Hide Online Searches from Significant Others

Ask.com and Harris Study Reveals the Covert Nature of American Search Behavior

OAKLAND, Calif., Oct. 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ – Ask.com, a leading online brand for questions and answers and an operating business of IAC (NASDAQ: IACI), today released its Online Consumer Search Habits study, which revealed that 35 percent of online adults keep desktop and mobile searches hidden from their significant others. According to the study, nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of adults have searched for something they’d like to keep private, with men and younger adults more likely to be secretive about their searches.

The study illuminates the extent to which Americans are glued to their devices – from desktop and tablets to handhelds. A significant portion of adults also conduct web searches in a number of private places and during unorthodox moments, be it on the porcelain throne (28 percent) or during times they’re supposed to be keeping an eye on the kids (15 percent).

Harris Interactive conducted the Online Consumer Search Habits study on behalf of Ask.com on September 4-6, 2013 among 2,022 U.S. adults ages 18 and older.

Findings include:

Clear that Cache

  • Nearly two-thirds of respondents have searched for something they’d like to keep private from others (64 percent). 
    • The most secretive searchers? Men and younger people. Those ages 18-34 (78 percent) are more likely than those over age 35 (59 percent) to admit to keeping searches a secret (by jasminder). In addition, men (67 percent) are more likely than women (60 percent) to have searched for something they wish to keep private.
  • More than one third (35 percent) of respondents keep searches hidden from their significant others, and the same percentage keep searches hidden from their friends.
    • In addition, more than 40 percent keep their searches hidden from adult family members, and 30 percent keep their searches away from their children.

Curiosity and the Call of Nature

  • Out of a given list of places, the most popular option for conducting web searches on handheld devices is ‘while on the toilet’ (28 percent).
  • In addition,
    • 15 percent have conducted searches while watching their children.
    • 11 percent are guilty of searching while at the wheel.

Digital Skeletons in the Closet

  • Almost a quarter of younger respondents (24 percent of 18-34 year olds) have searched for information about an ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend.
  • Medical conditions are the number one search topic respondents want to keep private (38 percent). This is followed by one-quarter of respondents who want to keep searches for sexual content under wraps.

Workplace Woes

  • While it’s no surprise employees use the web for personal reasons during the workday, more than one in ten Americans are actually looking for another job while at their place of work (16 percent).
  • Also happening on the job:
    • 36 percent have looked for items they want to purchase.
    • 28 percent seek out travel accommodations/destinations.
    • 15 percent conduct real estate searches.
    • 14 percent look for celebrity news.
    • 13 percent search for videos.

Heads Up

  • Ouch! Fourteen percent of respondents report they have walked into someone or something while searching on their mobile device.
    • Nearly one in 10 (9 percent) have had – or nearly had – an accident, such as falling down stairs or missing a step or curb, as a result of not paying attention during a mobile web search.

About Ask.com
With more than 100 million global users, Ask.com is a leading online brand for questions and answers and an operating business of IAC (NASDAQ: IACI).  Also available as a mobile service, Ask.com mobile apps have been downloaded more than 3 million times. More information is available at www.ask.com or http://blog.ask.com.

SOURCE Ask.com


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