Web 2.0 and the Right

Robert Cox has an excellent piece at the Examiner today about how far conservatives and Republicans lag behind those on the left in the Web 2.0 world. In particular, Cox discusses the Google/Wikipedia dominance.

To better appreciate the dilemma now facing the right in a Web 2.0 world, it may be instructive to look at one example of how the right is losing in the online arms race — the nexus between Google, Wikipedia and far-left blogs and online forums.

When you are talking online, you are really talking Google, which has become the dominant interface for the Internet. According to a recent Nielsen/NetRatings survey, 55.8 percent of all searches done on the Internet now go through Google (other sources put this figure as high as 70 percent).

And what do Internet users find when they search Google?

Sam Vaknin, an award-winning author and Ph.D, tracked 154 keywords in Google from 1999 to 2006. According to Vaknin’s unscientific study, Wikipedia, launched in 2001, is now the No. 1 search result for 128 out of 154 keywords (83 percent).

Perhaps more significantly, 38 out of 128, or 30 percent, of Wikipedia articles listed as the No. 1 result are one or two sentence “stubs”; 10 of the 128 (36 percent) are “placeholder” articles — empty pages that Google has placed high up in the results regardless of length or quality.

In other words, Google is now manipulating its search results to force Wikipedia entries to the top whether the entry contains useful information or not. Not surprisingly, Google now accounts for 50 percent of Wikipedia’s traffic, boosting Wikipedia to become the sixth most visited Web site in the world (Google is number two behind Microsoft).

The significance of this becomes more apparent when one understands how people use Google search result data. According to an Eye Fixation Study done at Cornell University in 2004, the first two listings in Google search results capture over half of the user’s attention and the first listing is clicked on by more than half of the users.

Through its manipulation of search results, Google has anointed Wikipedia as the preeminent source of information online which raises the question: Who are the Wikipedians and what do they want?Follow the link above for the answer. Cox also looks at Democrat vs. Republican success in raising money for candidates on the internet. Read it all.

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