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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Internet Searchers Look for Less Sex

STATE COLLEGE, Pennsylvania -- People using Internet search engines are less interested in sex sites and more interested in business, travel and jobs than they were five years ago, according to a study led by a Penn State University researcher.

In May 1997, 16.8 percent of searches on the Excite search engine were for sex-related or pornographic web sites. By May 2001, that percentage had dropped by almost half to 8.5 percent, according to an article in the March edition of IEEE Computer, a journal of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

During the same period, searches related to commerce, travel, employment and the economy rose from 13.3 percent in 1997 to 24.7 percent in 2001.

Amanda Spink, associate professor of information sciences and technology at Penn State and the lead author of the study, said the nature of the Internet and its users is changing.

"The content of the web from 1997 has shifted heavily toward commerce sites," Spink said. "Also, the nature of people who search the web has changed. In '97, you probably had a higher proportion of university people, of young guys who knew about computers. Now you have more the average person."