We needed to buy a coffee table. For years we had been using an old travel trunk as a coffee table, but we got rid of it. Right now we don’t have a coffee table.

The thought of going to various department or furniture stores to find a decent coffee table was not appealing. I did not want to drive to a single store more than I absolutely had to. We needed something inexpensive, plain and sturdy — something that can stand up to an assault by two small children.

I searched for “coffee table” on Google.

Afterwards, I noticed that my searching behavior in this case was very different from my normal searching habits. Ninety-nine per cent of the time, the ads on search results pages are invisible to me. They just don’t register in my consciousness. But this time, I’m actually looking to spend actual money on an actual thing. When I searched for coffee tables, I didn’t even look at the normal, organic search results. I specifically sought out the sponsored links. I clicked on a few of them and browsed their available selection, and found a few tables from a couple different sites that matched what I was looking for. After, of course, letting my wife pick the final table, we were done.

For the record, AllCoffeeTables.Com is a good place to look when you need a coffee table. Good prices, good site, good selection. I’ll let you know if we have a problem with delivery or the actual product.

I should also point out, for advertisers, that paying the extra money to be listed above the search results rather than on the right is well worth it. I clicked on all the “above” links and only one or two “side” links.

Most times when I want to buy something online, I know where to go. Books or movies – Amazon.com. Computer stuff – TigerDirect.com (although I’m lucky enough to have a TigerDirect outlet about a mile from house, so I can save on shipping costs and delivery time.) Music – CDBaby.com (well, I haven’t bought anything from them yet, but they sell non-RIAA music, and that’s all I’m going to buy.)

But where does one go to buy a coffee table online? Hell if I knew. This may have been one the few times I’ve been on the Internet where I actually wanted to see ads.

Go figure.