I don't obsess about these things, but while filling in time, waiting for a reply online, I decided to compare the same article published on my CAP'S CRITS and on WWR - Claire Bishop - 'The Digital Divide'
, a review of an essay in Artforum from September last year, in a Google search. I published it in March this year, well after a certain amount of controversy about Bishop's view of digital art. So I didn't expect much response. Strangely the version published on CAP'S CRITS raced to the first page, later rose to third item on the list - yet according to Blogspot (which is affiliated with Google now) it amassed only around 34 hits. 34 hits seemed right to me but how could it rise to such prominence so quickly? There are around fifty published responses to the essay on the web, most have been up there picking up hits long before mine. Even Artforum's Talkback page on their site featured a surprisingly long list of (long) responses - around a dozen I think. Understandably these rank at number 1 on the Google search. But what is it exactly that Google counts?
Interestingly, the same essay published here on WWR garnered nearly twice as many views or hits - even without JJ promoting it on FB. Yet the WWR version does not rank until the 20th page of a Google search for Claire Bishop - 'The Digital Divide'
. I'm prepared to accept that PHPBB's stats are a bit dodgy (especially for older items) but you have to admit this is a pretty extreme discrepancy - from page one to page twenty in a search of exactly the same item. My conclusion is both counters are unreliable, but that Google is weighting their priorities according to friendly sources - such as Blogspot sites.
For comparison, I googled My Name Is Charles Saatchi and I Am an Artoholic review
the WWR item now has about 100 views according to PHPBB, and this ranks 4th or 5th item on the second page - pretty impressive given how well publicised the subject is, but again baffling given the difference with the Bishop item.
I'm not paranoid, I'm just trying to fathom how the system works, in order to get the most out of it.