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BizReport : Trends & Ideas archives : April 11, 2007

Wilfers waste time on the web

The internet has spawned a new group of individuals who aimlessly wander the web and who are not quite sure what they logged on for.

by Helen Leggatt

This new breed of users are called wilfers. They surf the web without any real purpose, often forgetting what they were there for in the first place. The term is derived from the phrase "what was I looking for?"

The U.K., it seems, is full of wilfers. Almost a quarter of the 2,412 Brits surveyed by YouGov for, admitted they had spent 30 percent or more of their online time wilfing.'s Jason Lloyd said, "Although people log on with a purpose, they are now being offered so much choice and online distraction that many forget what they are there for, and spend hours aimlessly wilfing instead."

Wilfers, it seems, are most likely to be distracted by the pull of shopping sites, followed by travel and news sites, with men being the biggest culprits. Surfers over 55 years of age were three times less likely to be wilfers than those under the age of 25, said the report. As marketers tune in to what works in attracting clicks, the eye-grabbing pop-ups and display ads are luring consumer attention away from their original purpose at a time when they may have an online shopping itch to scratch.

Tags: wilfing

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