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Old September 16, 2003, 04:03 PM
Michael Ross (Aust, Qld)
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Default Be careful using this to spot trends - it's not quite what you think

These graphs show the number of webpages with the searched-for term, in them.

In other words... leading up to Y2K there would have been many pages with Y2K in them, if for no other reason that term was used heavily by the news media, it was discussed on discussion boards, etc.

Beanie Babies... people put up a personal page listing what they are into - Hog Chasing, Nascar, Russian History, Beanie Babies. As those people "move along" in their life, they let the webpage expire. The number of pages with the searched-for term decline. Add news media write-ups. And it distorts the actual interest in the topic.

Kite Boarding. Same goes here. All the graph shows is the number of pages with that term. And all that might mean is that kite boarders are starting to write webpages about their sport.

I liken it to retail stores. Suddenly - it seems - certain types of store pop up everywhere. Only to just as suddenly disappear a short time later.

It doesn't mean the public is into what the store sells. Just that a lot of store owners try to make money from that product range. Their disappearance indicates the true public's interest.

Seeing a graph of "search terms" searched for, however, is a more true indication of what people are into.

Michael Ross

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