The “Standard Reference” Theory: Two Years On

By Deane Barker on August 13, 2007

It’s been another year, so it’s time to re-evaluate my theory that Wikipedia is becoming a standard reference and will soon be the number one hit for notable people in the world. Consider my two previous discussions here:

Again, I will Google for all the people in my list, and show how their results compare to last year and the year before that.

Those results are compelling: the average placement of the Wikipedia page is:

  • This year: 1.14 (first in all but one case)
  • Last Year: 3.57
  • Two Years Ago: 6.85

Clearly, the Wikipedia page for a notable person is fast being considered the single most important representation of them on the Web.

Two years back, I also checked four media personalities — Cary Grant, Brad Pitt, George Lucas, and Client Howard — to see where the IMDb ranked in their results. This year, their IMDb page was first for all of them. So, the average looks like this:

  • This year: 1
  • Two years ago: 1.75 (two firsts, a second, and a third)

Last year I introduced books to the mix, in an attempt to prove that a book’s Amazon listing is equivalent to a person’s Wikipedia page. Here are this year’s results, compared to last year’s:

These results are much more mixed. Average placement of the Amazon page:

  • This year: 1.85
  • Last year: 1.71

The Amazon page ranking actually got worse.

Until next year…

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Comments

  1. Clearly, the Wikipedia page for a notable person is fast being considered the single most important representation of them on the Web.

    That’s assuming Google Pagerank to be a good determinant of that. Isn’t there some tight relationship between Google and Wikipedia that gives precedence to info in Wikipedia in a Google search? I recall reading of some controversy about that recently.

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