Because the universe is beautiful enough without having to lie about it

Fun with Fraud Ratings

February 1st, 2009 Posted in Internet, Paranormal

Those of you who have been following for a while will remember my previous work on fraud ratings. Remember that a fraud rating is not claiming that a person is a fraud, lest I get sued: it is simply a measure of what proportion of Internet pages that mention that person also mention the word fraud. My hypothesis is that this is a fairly good measure of the global sentiment against a certain figure. In previous posts on this topic I’ve explained why I think that this isn’t probably quite as inaccurate as you might suspect.

Anyway, I haven’t updated you for a while, so I thought I’d quickly post the latest results.


Fraud Rating Graph

Fraud Rating Graph

First of all, ignore the spikes. After an initial burst of excitement, I’ve decided that these are just Google search count artefacts.  However, even if we ignore the spikes, there are several trends that become apparent. Fitting a trendline to all four graphs (with the spikes removed by linear interpolation) gives the following results:

John Edward : A ~15% increase between July and October, then a sudden drop by a factor of ten around the end of October. Looking at the numbers, the drop is caused by a massive increase in the number of pages, not a decrease in the number of fraud hits. Reason? I have no idea. Probably a change in Google rather than in the Internet.

James van Praagh : Since July 2008, an increase of roughly 100% in his fraud rating.

Sylvia Browne : Since July 2008, an increase of roughly 40% in her fraud rating.

Uri Geller : His fraud rating has remained approximately flat.

So this shows us something very interesting. Firstly, the world is beginning to realise that so-called psychic mediums are just cold-reading charlatans. And secondly, it’s telling us that nobody cares about Uri Geller. Which is pretty much what we always suspected.

Seriously folks, 100% in one year for James van Praagh? That’s a great advance. It reinforces what I’m beginning to believe more strongly every day – that 2009 is going to be the first year in which reason and rationality take centre stage worldwide.

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  1. 2 Responses to “Fun with Fraud Ratings”

  2. By Mark on Feb 3, 2009

    Thanks for a good laugh. I was a bit sceptical when I first read your plans to use Google search statistics to measure certain peoples um… popularity I guess (don’t want to post anything litigious). But it looks like it might be working with a fair degree of accuracy.

    Poor Uri though! Ha. Mind you, I’d suspect that people would be using the words ‘spoon’ and ‘bent’ rather than ‘fraud’ when Googling him. It must be depressing for him to be always associated with a dining implement.

    I also accidentally caught Sylvia Browne on one of those awful American daytime shows while channel hopping. Only reason I stopped to watch was after seeing her name on the screen and I recalled you mentioning her. She was channelling some poor audience member’s deceased daughter or something equally bizarre. I could only watch for a minute or so before I had to switch off. I felt almost sick watching it.

  3. By Colin on Feb 4, 2009

    Hi Mark,

    Yeah I find it difficult to watch any of the ‘psychic mediums’ for very long. It still amazes me that it’s legal to con people like that.


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