In an interview with NPR Marketplace recently, Google Executives and others had a few rather interesting statements about the famous ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ button on their website.
Perhaps best known for the George W. Bush ‘miserable failure’ and Tony Blair ‘liar’ gags, the button has been a staple of Google since the beginning. But what purpose does it serve at this point in Google’s evolution?
Tom Chavez, head of Rapt, an agency that determines how much space on web sites is worth to advertisers, said, “Basically you have $110 million of revenue loss per year associated with that button.”
“That’s because the company makes a lot of its money by selling ads on its search results page. People who are “feeling lucky” never see that page, and therefore Google’s ads, because the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button automatically directs them to a non-Google site.”
Marisa Mayer of Google estimates that only 1% of their searches are done with the the button, and Sergey Brin admits that he almost never uses it.
“The reason it’s called ‘I’m Feeling Lucky,’ is of course that’s a pretty damn ambitious goal,” said Brin. “I mean to get the exact right one thing without even giving you a list of choices, and so you have to feel a little bit lucky if you’re going to try that with one go.”
So why keep it? Jacob Nielsen, a web usability expert, believes it’s for Google to retain a human face on what has become a staggering juggernaut of a corporation.
Asked what purpose it serves, Nielsen said, “By loosening up their reputation, by sort of still maintaining this feeling of, ‘Oh we’re just two kind of grad students hanging out and having a beer and having a grand old time,’ not you know, ‘We are 16,000 people working on undermining your privacy.’”
Story via NPR