diberry - 10:40 pm on Apr 17, 2013 (gmt 0)
that's part of that competing with the brand websites "philosophy", we want to do something with the visitors who don't click away on ads once they have their search satisfied; brand sites might have users going in circles but our sites are all too small to run users around for long, we have to really try and do something with them.
That makes a lot of sense, and it's in line with general marketing practices - if you don't have the resources the big companies have, you have to do something better than they do. More personalized service, for example.
Could the "manipulation" simply be the result of unfortunate alignment or user behavior vs brand behaviors?
I'd guess this is almost surely at least part of it. Trying to discern user intent is a big struggle in any company. Hence focus groups, polls, etc., and people still get it wrong all the time. It's just not an easy thing to do.