A couple of weeks ago, I made up the word 'freakomendations' as a way to describe strange recommendations that are often made by recommender systems. When I first used the word, I did a Google search and found that there were exactly zero usages of the word on the internet. This really was a new word according to Google.

Now, two weeks later, Google tells me that there are about 1,800 instances of 'freakomendations' on the web. Now since I've used the word in exactly 10 blog posts, that means that there are a whole lot of other people using the word now. Or does it? I took a detailed look through the Google results and this is what I found.

Of the 1,780 results, Google thinks that only 72 of them are worth presenting, the rest are duplicates. Of these 72, only one mention is from another actual blog post. All of the rest are aggregators of one type or another, that are just republishing my words on another feed. There are feeds that are devoted to serving up any post that mentions 'Emerson, Lake and Palmer' for example.

In about two weeks, each of my 10 freakomendation posts seems to have spawned more than 100 copies in the various aggregators, republishers and splogs. This propagation will likely continue. This suggests that 99% of the RSS feeds out there are just re-broadcasting content. Only 1% of content is original. This makes me want to cry.

I've heard the word at least a few times from my colleagues recently. I wonder how long it takes until it gets added to a proper dictionary? ;-)

Posted by elias on May 15, 2008 at 01:16 PM EDT #

What does a "proper dictionary" mean? Urbandictionary is far more helpful to me on a daily basis..

And isn't this why we need recommender systems in the first place? To cut down on the 99% of junk out there and give us the good stuff? :) I consider it job security.

Posted by Jason Adams on May 17, 2008 at 01:16 AM EDT #

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