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Britannica's Weird Link Scheme  (View post)

mc [PersonRank 3]

Thursday, January 4, 2007
14 years ago3,865 views

Britannica must be getting desperate. Any search on Google for a notable figure or location or object generally gives Wikipedia in the first page of result, with Britannica nowhere to be seen.

Infact trying random famous nouns just now gives a startlingly high hit rate for wikipedia on the first page. Like 100%. I never consciously noticed it was always there due to a high number of navigational queries I tend to do. I'd bet if you did an unweighted average across all queries they must be the most successfuly ranked web page.

(On a related not, how on earth is www.encyclopedia.com ranked above wikipedia for the term encyclopedia)

Mathias [PersonRank 1]

14 years ago #

Well, desperate or not, this is actually one of the smarter things I have seen so far. People "abusing" this feature for getting free access to Britannica can be seen as an negligible side effect. If this thing will result in several thousand more links to Britannica, it may also lead to several people signing up for their subscription program.

[put at-character here]mc: someone has already done this study (at least a similar one), it was mentioned in this blog a few months ago (somewhere)

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regarding encyclopedia.com, at least they do show some content (licensed from Columbia, same as yahoo.com and several others..)

mc [PersonRank 3]

14 years ago #

Mathias: Thats a fascinating study, thanks for the link. Although their conclusion is rather inaccurate as they say wikipedia does well for "general search queries" when their methodology looked at searches involving wikipedia article headings. (i.e. biased towards wikipedia due to the weight given to exact matching of words and order in a title/url and so on)

I agree its a very sensible thing for EB to do, I'm just surprised they realised this. I think they would be better off getting rid of subscriptions completely, but their business model probably wouldn't make this tenable, I guess increased ad revenue won't be enough to cover costs.

Mathias [PersonRank 1]

14 years ago #

[put at-character here]mc: Regarding "getting rid of subscriptions completely", Britannica could answer: "Been there, done that".

There used to be a time in which ad-powered web sites could not XXXXXXX a huge overhead of bureacracy in a 70 year old company.

Since EBI has become a privately owned company, there is no direct way to tell about the current state of this company. They might be doing fine, with or without financial help from its owner.

(XXXXXXX = this blog does not allow me to use the word r e f i n a n c e)

alek [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

It is pretty clever ... but I bet at least one person out there uses this approach to "spider" their entire site and duplicate their content – D'OH! ;-)

Mathias [PersonRank 1]

14 years ago #

[put at-character here]alek: what's the difference to buying an account at Britannica online (optional: with a credit card number that has been fallen off a truck) and spidering the content?

Michael Martinez [PersonRank 5]

14 years ago #

A link farm is a group of Web sites that all link to each other. Since the sites would only be linking to Brittannica, it's not a link farm.

In fact, it's a neat way of passing value to both Webmasters and readers in exchange for another kind of value.

I like the idea. Brittannica's content is more reliable than Wikipedia's overall, regardless of what the limited study comparing scientific articles indicated. The non-scientific sections of Wikipedia are filled with spam and propaganda. At least Britannica is not subject to that kind of blatant manipulation.

This thread is locked as it's old... but you can create a new thread in the forum. 

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