Why Do People Search for Facebook?

Search for Facebook

Every year, I ask the same question around the end of December. Every year, I answer my own question by saying that people are going to eventually learn the difference between going directly to a website by typing a domain name into a browser and typing the same thing into a search engine like Google.

Every year, I get disappointed. Enough is enough.

The most recent yearly report of the most searched-for terms according to Hitwise demonstrates that year-after-year, people are dumb. This isn’t some elitist statement that non-tech-savvy people are dumb, nor is this an insult against people who use search engines to find various websites that they should already know about.

Wait. Yes it is.

Facebook Google

Look at #5 and #8 on the list. People search for “facebook.com” and “www.facebook.com” for whatever reason. They do it a lot, apparently, as they’re both on the top 10. Why? Why would anyone go to the search engine or type in their browser’s search bar the full URL of the site they want to visit? They then have to click on the search result to get to the page. It’s an extra, unnecessary step.

What do searches like “yahoo.com” and “ebay” tell us about people? Simply, they don’t know how to use the internet. They rely on search engines to answer even the most mundane questions such as “what do I type into my browser to get to yahoo.com?”

People fail my faith test in humanity every year. Maybe 2012 will be different.

Leave a Reply


  1. I’ve seen friends do this and it drives me crazy, I don’t even have the energy to tell them the right way… I’ll make it my mission in 2012 to spread the word!

  2. How many of these searches were made to search for information about “facebook”, or “yahoo” (rather than the just the address)? I know that if I want to find out something about them (such as news articles, blog posts, etc.) I would just enter the name in a search engine.

    Do you have some more details? These should be considered first before assuming that people are dumb.

  3. Namgazoo

    Talking about the ecolical impact of a google search is probably a key!
    I’ve had educated smart students doing this and explaining to them that an unuseful / dump search has an impact on environement, as google has to cool down servers and uses electricity to run those servers!
    To make it clear to them I use the catch phrase :
    ” A search, a tree!” not true! But it actually works!
    Also explaining the usefulness of the URL bar is a plus! 😛
    Educating the masses is hard! Most people I meet think google is the internet!
    Cheers and happy NY2K12

  4. duh

    Actually, you’re wrong and they’re right. Every time I want to use any site, such as my bank or Facebook, that I want to get RIGHT and not a phishing site that’s off by one character, I type the word into Google instead.

    Entering a URL when you care about getting to the right location is the wrong thing to do in 2011. That’s what you did in 1995.

  5. James

    Also one of the things that might affect the results is that if you type facebook into the address bar most browsers will do a search for it.

  6. It’s quicker to type just “facebook”, hit ENTER and then on the result than to type out http://www.facebook.com and hope you did not do a typo….

  7. It ain’t dumb. Having several separate input fields for web information retrieval is super-dumb. I use whichever has my cursor at the time.

  8. David Cooksey

    What does having basic knowledge about the Internet have anything to do with humanity? Please tell me this is an attempt at satire.

  9. jag pop



    I can click the dropdown list of URLs in my address box (IE)
    I can type ‘fa’ in Google – my homepage – and autocomplete does the work.
    step 1) fa
    step 2) click (right click gives me the option of opening a new window, by the way – hey!)


  10. kev

    wow these comments just prove how bad people are at using simple software like browsers. to Mark Owen, if you wanted info on Facebook you would just type Facebook into the search engine, the point the OP was making was people are typing the full url into a search engine which is plain stupid. and all the people saying about miss-spelling the url, most browsers remember previous visited sites, for me to go to Facebook all I have to do is type “fa” into the address bar and it does the rest

  11. AKron

    I search for FaceBook because I’m in denial. I don’t want to have a FaceBook account. I don’t want to “Like” people, or “Tag” their crap. I don’t keep a bookmark of my account because then I’d know I was a Facebook member, which I deny. I don’t want to be a part of the crowd mindlessly posting worthless crap I think others might enjoy. They probably wold enjoy what I post if they weren’t so busy posting mindless crap of their own.

  12. Darshan

    If you use google chrome and type ‘Faceb’ [sic] into the address bar, Chrome will automatically start searching the word in Google for you. That way, by the time you’ve finished typing in ‘facebook’ and pressed return, chrome will do a google search instead of taking you to the actual domain.

    I guess this accounts for a lot of the searches of the word Facebook

  13. I search for both Google and for Facebook because while the top result is usually a direct link to the domain, further results on the page are generally news.

  14. Shaun Whitaker

    Just use Speed Dial in Firefox… BOOM! Also the phising argument is very valid. But there are also indications on your screen like the address bar turning green and the lock in the address bar that indicate what level of security the site paid for.

  15. James H

    What can happen to some people is that they type in the address, just as the focus is shifted to the search engine. Other people just get a bit confused from time to time where they should type an address into, and just sticking to the one, Google, is just easier. Fair enough you find it irritating, but seriously, it’s just not that fucking important, unless of course it drives you so insane you go totally postal, pogo around and teabag all your local politicians.

  16. Mil

    We are talking about people who keeps using numbers like “1234567” as passwords =/
    And I think the pinishing argument isn’t true: At this moment, you have a lot of indications on the screen, like green address bar, the level of security, etc. The people has to pay attention.

  17. Joey Mason

    Facebook is jsut cool like that.


  18. PeopleAren'tDumb

    This is why Chrome has the address bar serve double-duty as the search bar.

  19. Mike

    Joey Mason is a douche bag, we should DDoS his shitty ass website for spamming.

  20. duh: you said:
    Actually, you’re wrong and they’re right. Every time I want to use any site, such as my bank or Facebook, that I want to get RIGHT and not a phishing site that’s off by one character, I type the word into Google instead.

    Entering a URL when you care about getting to the right location is the wrong thing to do in 2011. That’s what you did in 1995.

    IN REALITY – This is actually wrong, people regularly googlebomb their phishing pages to be at the top of google search results, unless you check the URL those sites are MORE likely to be a phishing site…. Most major website owners buy similar domains with common typos in them (see gppgle.com – google.com) . Searching for a website just adds an extra step and more confusion and uncertainty. I don’t see people changing their habits in this respect though, i see this being an ongoing thing for the next 20-30 years…. good luck changing that mindset!

  21. I did a blog post explaining this a while back.

    Generally, the idea is that Google searching is a memory aid. People might remember “facebook”, but they forget if it’s a “.com”, “.net”, or “.org”. I do a number of “useless” Google searches:

    * Spell-checking a word. Google is still the handiest tool for finding the word you meant to type, but can’t remember how to spell.

    * Looking up arcane “magic spells” – in my example, it’s how to install TTF fonts on a Linux system. It’s that kind of knowledge you only need when setting up a new system. It’s like your tax records; you only need to remember it once a year, so you always have to re-teach yourself how to gather the records together and process them every year.

    * Bookmark overload. Over time, your bookmarks become so messy that it’s easier to search Google for what you want than it is to scroll through a list of 900 bookmarks looking for the one you need. For instance, if I ever need to find this post again, I’ll probably never remember a word like “soshable”, but I’ll remember it was about “searching for Facebook”. How’s that for meta-irony?

  22. ppq

    this is why they don´t wanna type www. in their adressline!


  23. gideon777

    Screw facebook. It lends nothing to the human condition. It is a meaningless invasion of privacy. It’s just a page in the ether, and everyone is duped to think it’s anything worthwhile. Everyone who works there just sits around “tweakin” their meaningless page. Zukerburg is a sap-lookin’ User Fool who needs his ass kicked.

  24. Batman

    While I completely agree with you, it’s these dumb-asses that keep me employed. If everybody were able to easily work a computer/surf the web, companies wouldn’t need guys like me to hold their hands while they boot up their computer.

    If only people actually took more pride in acquiring knowledge, the world would be a far more interesting place. Instead of plopping their fat-asses down on the couch after work to watch some mindless crap on TV, why not take a few minutes to learn how to COPY AND PASTE A FILE from one folder to another. It would make their lives so much easier as they wouldn’t be brought to tears when they can’t complete a simple task at their desk. Seriously, people lose their fucking minds when they can’t get a computer to read their every thought in advance.

    If I had to use a tool – in this case, a computer, every single day of my life, wouldn’t it just make total f’ing sense to take the time to learn how to use the bloody thing?

    Even some of the most intelligent people I know seem to lose all common sense as soon as they sit in front of a computer. Those very same people will read all the fineprint when opening a new bank account, applying for a new credit, signing their mortgage papers… but they WILL NOT read the fineprint when installing an application that says, “If you do not uncheck this box, we will install SPAM on your computer”. And then they cry about it after they’ve blindly installed 18 toolbars in their web browser of choice (usually IE).


  25. bob

    It makes complete sense to search for common websites because you do not risk spelling errors.

  26. Frank

    They search for it because they don’t know the frigging difference between a search bar and an address bar. So the answer is that people are stupid.

  27. TaxChurches

    typing facebook followed by “ctrl” and “enter” simultaneously will complete the “http://” and “.com”
    This will work in all browsers and all websites… One hotkey and you’re there.

  28. While I think a lot of people are NOT computer savvy, I still don’t think they are dumb. A bigger reason for your frustration is that people are creatures of habit. I have no idea why anyone would type in the full url to search for a household name, but I do understand why they would not enter in their url in the address bar… by habit, we search using Google’s search box whether it’s a url or just the word ‘facebook’.

  29. Ria

    Wow, all the idiots posting mean comments here seem to lack one key piece of knowledge: most browsers have the search bar and the URL bar AS THE SAME THING. When I want to go to facebook, when I was on Firefox, all i had to do was type “facebook” and hit enter. Now that I’m on chrome, when I do that, Google automatically redirects it to their search engine so they can make money. I think most of you are forgetting that Bing, Yahoo, Google, and every other search engine out there pretty much gets paid every time someone clicks. That’s why there are so many search engine landing pages for dead domains. CHA CHING! Not internet dummies, just greedy companies.

  30. ChristopherColumbus

    For a marketeer, you don’t know much about people

  31. toru

    just i finding my friend she is name LATA.if she have facebook.she will must come and contact with me one time in life.i think facebook must help me.

  32. If you have Google set as your home page, then the cursor defaults to the Google search bar and not the browser. So, type ‘facebook’ into Google and ‘www.facebook.com’ will be one of the top search results, and you are then just one click away from your target site. That is just one way to get there. It may not be the way the developers intended, but it kind of works.

    The other way is to click away from the Google search bar into the browser, type ‘facebook.com’ and hit enter.

    So its either:

    1. Hand to mouse, then cursor to browser url bar
    2. Type ‘facebook.com’

    1. Type ‘facebook’ into Google bar you arrive at
    2. Hand to mouse, click on the top search result

    Both journey’s take about the same effort & time, ad they both involve one mouse action and one keyboard action, although you don’t have to type the ‘.com’ part into Google.

    However, if you chose option one and accidentally type ‘facecook.com, you will end up at the wrong page. If you type facecook.com into Google, the top result will be ‘did you mean facebook.com’ and you are still only one click away from your target page.

    So typing into Google can actually be quicker, because the cursor is already in place and you only need to type facebook rather than facebook.com – if you make a typo, you’ll still be in the right place.

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