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Google, Wikipedia and Operation Mockingbird


John Simkin
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I established Spartacus Educational in 1997. A new company called Google contacted me in 1999. They had developed a new way of searching the web. While conventional search engines ranked results by counting how many times the search terms appeared on the page, the two theorized about a better system that analyzed the relationships between websites. They called this new technology PageRank. The ranking of search-terms was now based on the number and quality of the links that you had. As I was one of the first to produce free educational materials for the web, I had 157,000 links from universities, colleges and schools. I therefore came up very high on their searches. At the time they had a low profile and asked if they could advertise their search-engine on my website. This did not last for long because Google soon became the latest internet sensation.

Wikipedia began in 2001. Over the next few years, Wikipedia always appeared below me in Google searches. This included pages on John F. Kennedy, Lee Harvey Oswald, Jack Ruby, etc. For a time I began to think that the arrival of the web was seen as a way of breaking up the existing power structure. Here was I, a one man business, who was challenging the way the dominant ideology was communicating the past.

A couple of years ago that all changed. Google made changes to the way they searched the net. Now, I was always below Wikipedia. However, it was not too bad for me and the website continued to provide me with a reasonable living. For some websites, the changes brought an end to their business.

What had happened? At first, Google refused to say what it had done. If you do a search for the Assassination of John F. Kennedy you will get a very good clue. As you see Wikipedia is first and after this you get all the media corporations who have said anything recently about the assassination.

Google still use the number of links a website has but they have also added a new factor. They call it domain authority. These websites have the following domain authority.

Wikipedia 100

BBC 100

New York Times 100

CNN 100

Washington Post 99

The Times 98

The Guardian 96

Amazon 95

The Daily Mail 94

Oxford University 94

The Sun 92

M&S 87

Cambridge University 84

Spartacus Educational 80

This has implications for those wanting to discover about the JFK Assassination.

Spartacus JFK Index 80

Spartacus Blog 71

JFK Countercoup 70

McAdams JFK site 70

JFK Lancer 57

Educational Forum 54

Mary Ferrell 51

Citizens for Truth (JFK) 40

JFK Facts 38

Pat Speer 23

This is a real problem for new websites. How do you build up links to your site? In the past, people used blogs and forums to improve their ranking at Google. However, Google no longer takes any notice of these links. They rightly point out that SEO companies were using blogs and forums to increase the ranking of their clients sites. Google only take note of links from sites with high domain authority. The problem is that those sites are reluctant to give too many links (they do not see it in their commercial interests to do so).

In the pre-internet days it was possible to establish small book publishing companies to get your message out. It was always difficult but it is now virtually impossible. Of course you can always bring out e-books via Amazon. However, you have a serious problem letting the public know that the book exists. (Amazon search-ranking is based on sales.)

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That's fascinating stuff John, so MFF, which is almost entirely actual released government documents has a lower domain authority than McAdams site but also a very much lower

domain authority than the news sources - or Amazon for that matter.

So, primary government documents and investigative reports would have half the authority of Wikipedia and considerably less than the commercial news site or Amazon.

Could you check out where the National Security Archive site stands.

In any event, it certainly looks like that was a very effective way of neutralizing primary source material. One can ponder who the Domain Authority gurus are?

- Thanks for sharing your research, Larry

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That's fascinating stuff John, so MFF, which is almost entirely actual released government documents has a lower domain authority than McAdams site but also a very much lower

domain authority than the news sources - or Amazon for that matter.

So, primary government documents and investigative reports would have half the authority of Wikipedia and considerably less than the commercial news site or Amazon.

Could you check out where the National Security Archive site stands.

In any event, it certainly looks like that was a very effective way of neutralizing primary source material. One can ponder who the Domain Authority gurus are?

- Thanks for sharing your research, Larry

National Security Archive 91. This is really a problem of communicating information. This depends a great deal in the way you write the page. I would rather tell you more about this by email. We don't want lone nutters knowing how to do it.

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The obvious implication of these "weighted' search algorithms makes it advisable for researchers and casual users alike to scan through several pages of hits if you prefer to see what else is available besides the target sites you are being directed to.

Most serious researchers do this of course. However, the problem is the evidence suggests that most people never go past the first page. According to research provided by Google, people don't stay on a page if it does not load straight away. The mass media sites can afford to employ the best people to make sure this happens. Most small websites don't have access to that technology.

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