2002/11/20
 
02:30

Bandwidth and Bandwagons

I said it before, and I'll say it again: physiognomists!

Those of you who tuned in on Monday will recall that I tried to increase traffic to my site by mentioning a group that might be trying to find themselves on a search engine. This has not caused my web site to exceed its bandwidth, however.

In recent years, the best trick was to mention Britney Spears. If you could include the phrase "wants to have your baby" in there somewhere (as I just did), you stood to bump up your traffic considerably.

Alas, according to the Google Zeitgeist page, the nubile Ms. Spears is no longer the big draw as she once was – at least not in the world at large. For some reason, she's still the #1 most-searched-for item in Canada. In the USA, this week, it's "Election Results". That isn't gonna last, but it's early in the week, so I'll mention "Election Results" again to move up on the search engine listing from #293,895 to #293,893.

To save you time, here are the next 9 most-searched-for items on Google:

"ramadan", "jennifer lopez", "merlin santana", "veterans day", "winona ryder", "shania twain", "sopranos", "bubonic plague", "national airlines"

If you think I put those in there just to build up my hit counter, you're right: I have no shame.

The most egregious offense of this nature in days of yore were sites that listed every word in the English language. You might think, "What possible value could that have?" I used to think the same thing.

Recently, however, the Ontario Skeptics asked me to draw up a list of "everyday items that most adults or adolescents would recognize" (for use in a test of psychic ability). That's harder than it sounds. (Oh, yes, each item must also be small enough to fit into a filing box and ideally should not be prone to biting or exploding.)

Go on. Make your own list. You'll look around the room and (like me) run out of ideas before you get 200 items on the list. Unfortunately, I was supposed to come up with a thousand such items.

In desperation, I remembered those silly sites that listed every word in the dictionary. I went looking for them, but it turned out that most search engines have wised up to this trick. So I had to locate a bad search engine to locate them.

Y'know what? There are a lot of words out there. A few of the words on the list appeared to be typos, but no, they actually existed. For example: "Tmesis". Looks short one vowel, doesn't it?

I gave up after processing "A" through "T". I still had 33,600 words to go and I'd only managed to compile 400 "everyday objects that can be recognized yadda yadda".

It occurs to me that you might want to have a look at the list I've compiled so far. I'm sure lots of people search the net for "Apple", "Banana", "Cat", "Dog" and so on. Just think how many people would visit my blog if I posted that list!

Also, just think of how few of them would ever return.

In retrospect, I guess it works out best in the long run if I make an effort to be interesting, instead of cheating. So I'll try to give you the naked truth, instead of make money fast schemes and articles about free tickets to Major League Baseball games.

Yes, quality is the way to go.

Boobies.

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