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What the Heck?

Taking a quick scan through my logs, I noticed something odd. Like many blogs, much of my traffic comes from people searching for particular terms. Normally, the searches that lead OtF are for topics I've written about (geoengineering, metaverse, etc.) or specifically about OtF/me. But over the past couple of months, one phrase in particular has leapt up the charts:


"End of the world" has moved from an occasional search subject early in the year to one of my top search terms.

It's even more dramatic when compared to other searches for potentially-related concepts:


As you can see, an initial bit of attention about last year's Eschatological Taxonomy died out quickly, and searches for subjects like being hit by asteroids and climate disaster vary without any real pattern. (Update: also note that, while my overall traffic has increased slightly over the year, the increase for "end of the world" is significantly disproportionate.)

This is a distant, early warning of something. I don't know what, but it probably isn't good.


It's a side-effect of popularity, not anything more sinister. It would appear that "end of the world" is simply a phrase for which you have a good Google ranking. Google trends actually shows a decrease in people searching for that term both with and without quotes - http://www.google.com/trends?q=end+of+the+world&ctab=0&geo=all&date=all&sort=0

The future is being written


Peter: Interesting. I wish other search services had that kind of detailed reporting available; Google isn't the only source of search links to OtF. Given that my overall traffic is increasing far more slowly than this, I wonder what is pushing my rank up on this phrase...

Michael -- thanks for that.

The obvious joke would be that your blog will be the end of the world. ;)

On a more serious note, the Google Trends service is interesting, but I wish they'd provide some sort of a scale for their graphs - when you don't know if the "end of the world" graph is actually showing a 2% or 20% drop, it's not of much use... though you can get somewhat of an idea by comparing a search term with one you know to be popular. When you make the graph scale according to the search term "porn"*, "end of the world" is so below the scale as to not be shown - but then, that was to be expected. :)

*: http://www.google.com/trends?q=end+of+the+world%2C+porn

If there's a rise of "end of the world" on the search engines, there's a rise of it on people's minds. Undoubtedly precipitated by events surrounding them in the Meat Locker.

If it's on people's minds Out There, it'll be reflected In Here.

@Kaj - they can't really show percentages or numbers without revealing how many searches for different phrases occur each month, which can be used as competitive intelligence for search marketers... i think that's why that's the way the information is presented.


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