2.06.2008

Ranking Woo

You can get an interesting glimpse of the online culture through the search terms entered most often in search engines like Google. Google's Zeitgeist is a fascinating comprehensive look at what we've been searching on during the past month, and their year end review gives a nice retrospective glance over our shoulder. In case you're wondering, for 2007 the fastest rising search term had to do with a little thing called the iPhone. Heard of it?

But maybe you want to know what people are entering in to those search engines right now. Enter Google Trends. Updated hourly (if not sooner), this is a great resource if you care to follow the herd. "Blooter" and "Juicy Campus" happen to be the hot topics as I write. I actually started a blog last year, posting about anything that was ranked among the top 20 hottest trends. I got a lot of drive by visitors, but I'm dubious about using this as a strategy to make money online. For one, it was a LOT of work and, given the random nature of the blog, the was no visitor loyalty. And the trends are fleeting, so by the time the post was uploaded, that particular search term had cooled.

Keyword Discovery provides quantitative data on search terms which can be used to generate a rank order of the terms. Naturally, I fed their query tool some words of woo, along with a few others for reference, to generate the following list.

sex....................6,085,197
monster..................433,893
jesus....................323,508

fairies..................218,774
ghost....................195,603
ufo......................180,195
fairy....................179,978
science..................164,595
god......................132,234
astrology................115,083
religion.................114,050
tarot....................111,429
alien....................101,026
supernatural..............91,579
bigfoot...................72,724

evolution.................61,133
spirit....................59,711
psychic...................42,012
paranormal................29,485
chiropractic..............29,425
Sylvia Browne.............28,397
esp.......................26,737

Kevin Trudeau.............21,203
crop circles..............18,728
alternative medicine......15,477
aura......................15,466
reason....................14,777
mystic....................14,232
stock market predictions..13,110
creation..................12,813
intelligent design........12,761
conspiracy................12,459

atheist...................11,937
logic.....................11,465
new age...................10,556
homeopathy.................8,512
astral.....................7,996
metaphysics................7,764
Randi......................7,701
afterlife..................5,610
woo........................4,687
parapsychology.............3,978

clairvoyance...............3,477
alien abduction............3,288
Uri Geller.................2,682
pseudoscience..............2,060
logical fallacy............1,937
skepticism.................1,806
quack......................1,452
debunk.......................353


Skepticism falls at the bottom of the list, but "evolution" trounces "intelligent design", "science" reigns over "religion", and "Randi" defeats "Uri Geller" in yet another domain. However, I can't form more than a passing judgment on these results. For one, I really don't know what the latency of this data is nor do I know the details of how it is gathered. I presume that a lot of this is driven by news stories and top TV programs - basically whatever happens to tickle our culture right now. Then again, order of magnitude differences are telling. That "psychic" far outranks "skeptic" (which is even lower than "skepticism") indicates that skepticism has yet to make it into the big time. Watching this list over time should provide an indication of how the "market" is being penetrated and by whom.

As for me, I just want to see "woo" climb the ladder, even if I have to enlist the help of one Kwon Sang Woo to make it happen. Whatever it takes. Eyes on the prize, baby.

Your Woo is strong, but mine is stronger.
And sexier.

2 comments:

Skidoo said...

But evolution may be ranked higher because the faithful are researching their enemies.

The skepTick said...

Bigfoot must have a lot of enemies...or admirers!