Moving house_crop

OPINION19 November 2018

Limited choice of online interfaces

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Rory Sutherland questions whether internet searches would be improved if randomness was incorporated.

In 2001, my wife and I did something very strange. We sold our flat in London and moved to a flat near Sevenoaks.

The only strange word in that sentence is the second occurrence of the word ‘flat’. Most people who move out of London use it as an opportunity to buy a house.

As it happens, we found the place in a copy of The Week. There was a two-page feature on apartments for sale in listed buildings and we took a look. We were hooked.

But had we gone about searching on the internet, not in a magazine, there is almost no chance we would have learned of it. Instead, on arriving at, we would have been asked ‘house or flat’. We would have clicked on ‘house’ and been shown no further properties that weren’t houses.

Since you are reading Impact, you already know about ‘order’ effects – that the order ...