Daily Archives: December 12, 2004

Google Guessing: An Ego-Surfing Game

It’s “Google Guessing”: A new way to be neurotic about your popularity online through the new Google Suggest function, in which Google tries to guess what you want to search on while you’re typing in the word. Here are the rules of Google Guessing:

1. Go to Google Suggest (it’s in beta).
2. Begin typing your name — first and last.
3. Count how many letters of your last name you have to type until your full name shows up in the suggestion window without scrolling. In the case that your full name shows up before you type in a letter of your last name (for example, if your name is “John Kerry”), use the number “0.5”.
4. Note the number of results listed.
5. If you have a common name (you know who you are), click through and count how many pages of references go by before you personally get a mention (this is an updated step).
6. Divide the “results” number of step four by the “letters entered” number in step three, and then (if applicable) divide that number by the number in step five. This is your “Google Guessing Rank,” or GGR for short.
7. Compare your GGR with others for sheer neurotic sport. A higher GGR suggests there are more references to you online and/or that enough people search on your name that Google has a good idea they’re looking for you earlier than later.

In my case it takes three letters of my last name before I show up in the suggestion window, and “John Scalzi” is noted to have 108,000 results attached to it. Therefore my GGR is (108000/3) = 36,000.

How does 36,000 compare? Let’s see.

George Bush (15,800,000/0.5) = 33,600,000
John Kerry (12,000,000/0.5) = 24,000,000
Glenn Reynolds (1,100,000/1) = 1,100,000
Josh Marshall (971,000/1) = 971,000
Neil Gaiman (460,000/0.5) = 920,000
Cory Doctorow (179,000/0.5) = 378,000
James Lileks (242,000/1) = 242,000
Patrick Nielsen Hayden (81,000/2) = 40,500
Dan Drezner (115,000/3) = 38,333

In other words: Meh.

Now, obviously there are flaws with the methodology. For example, not every “John Scalzi” referenced is going to be me, so there’s some noise inherent in the system — which would be even greater if you only tracked your last name (and the noise is much greater if you have a common name — note some of the comments below — which is why I added in step five). Also, this doesn’t take into account name variations (“Daniel Drezner” instead of “Dan Drezner,” for example — and since “Daniel Drezner” has a GGR of about 90,000, maybe he’d want to go with that).

However, excessive picking apart of the methodology means that one is veering dangerously close to taking it seriously, and if one does that, one should probably step away from the computer for a decade or two. This is supposed to be fun. Good, clean, ha-ha-ha-my-GGR-totally-pwned-your-GGR -so-I’m-prettier-and-more-popular-than-you fun.

So, what’s your GGR?

Master of My Own Domain

I’ve been stocking up on domains. Clearly, I own Scalzi.com. But over the years I’ve owned several others, and as my hosting service charges a mere $6 a year to maintain domain names (a vast improvement over the $35 a year I’d been paying previous), I decided to do a little shopping. Forthwith, these are the domains I now own:

Scalzi.com – Duh. However, Scalzi.net and Scalzi.org are not owned by me, they’re owned by someone named Danielle Scalzi, who’s had them for three years now and has not done anything with them. Maybe I’ll ask her if I can buy them from her, since it would be nice to have all the major hierarchy domains. Not that I’d spend a whole lot on them, mind you, and in any event if you own the “.com” you’ve got the one everyone is going to try first anyway. Even so. Being denied the “.net” and “.org,” I did pick up:

Scalzi.info, and

Scalzi.name. Dunno what I’ll do with them yet. I suspect at some point I might give Scalzi.name its own place and then rent space out to all Scalzis who might want a Web site, and give them their own sub domain (so: kristine.scalzi.name), but that requires logistical planning that I’m not going to get into at the moment.

(Interestingly, Scalzi.it — the domain for Italy — goes to a law firm.)

Johnscalzi.com — Since most personal site domains are usually comprised of first and last names, it just made sense to get this one and have it point to Scalzi.com.

Athenascalzi.com — Because maybe one day she’ll want it. A couple of years ago I had registered athenamarie.com, but I forgot about it and let it lapse, and then someone snapped it up ( a woman named Athena, whose middle name, I would surmise, is Marie).

Mencken.com — I keep meaning to do something with this — maybe a political group blog — but again, time and effort and all that conspire against me. Be that as it may, I was somewhat amazed it was available when I checked several years ago; you’d think some libertarian or conservative would have snapped this baby up. Well, I have it, baby. Bwa ha ha ha ha!

Bookofthedumb.com — mostly to make sure some competitor didn’t snap it up and use it point to their own books.

Oldmanswar.com — Well, why not?

Indiecrit.com — Late, lamented. I wish I had more time for it.

Blogcritics.com — I actually bought this at the behest of Eric Olsen, who wanted it for the review site he was creating, but a communication mix-up cause him to construct the site at Blogcritics.org. I still own this domain, but it points to the other site. I keep meaning to transfer it over to him, but time, hassle, yadda yadda yadda.

While I was making my recent spree of domain purchases I gave some thought to purchasing scalzisucks.com and johnscalzisucks.com, but then I thought, hell, if someone hates me just that much, who I am I to stop them. Also, with a site name like ScalziSucks.com, it would be pretty clear it wouldn’t be an objective font of Scalzi information. You can’t get too worked up about crap like that (also, quite honestly, I don’t really expect those domains to be snapped up any time soon).

Now I feel all domain-y.