About a year ago, I opined that Wikipedia was quickly becoming a “standard reference,” meaning it was a base repository of information about a subject — the starting point. This is reflected in how high Wikipedia rates when searching for notable people.
What I think this points to is the emergence of “super sites” — Web sites so popular and well-cited that they transcend “standard” search results and become the expected location for information about that person.
To test the theory back then, I searched for eight people, and listed how high in the ranks their Wikipedia page appeared. A year later, I thought I should do it again, and the results bear me out. In most cases, the Wikipedia page was markedly higher in the results than a year ago.
- Bill Clinton: now 2nd result (was 3rd result), +1
- Condoleezza Rice: still 2nd, +0
- George W. Bush: 2nd (8th), +6
- Jesse Owens: 3rd (5th), +2
- Ted Turner: 2nd (6th), +4
- Bill Gates: 2nd (7th), +5
- Johann Gutenberg: 1st (9th), +8
- Pat Robertson: 3rd (9th), +6
Back then, I also postulated that IMDb was going to be the same for entertainment personalities. Sadly, half of the people I checked where already 1st, so there’s not much to compare — they’re still first.
Will Amazon do the same for books? I looked over on my bookshelf, and Googled for the first few books I found:
- Confessions of an Economic Hitman: Amazon page is 1st
- How to Say It: 1st
- Purple Cow: 3rd
- Battlefield of the Mind: 1st
- Architecture for Dummies: 3rd
- Content Management Bible: 1st
- Managing Enterprise Content: 2nd
In the three cases where the book wasn’t first, it was only behind the “official” site of the book, from the author or associated company. Interesting.