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Vikas Kamat
 Vikas Kamat is a programmer- entrepreneur living in Birmingham AL. This blog is a complex mix of Indian culture, life in southern USA, computer sciences, and sports. Opinions are his own.
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200 Million Dollar Ego-Surfing Industry Durable Link to this BLOG
The 200 Million Dollar "Ego-Surfing" Industry

Ego Surfing is searching the Internet for mentions of one's own name, discussions of one's own content and opinions. It has become quite a popular hobby among those who think they are important.

Apparently, this ego-detection is a two hundred million dollar industry! A lot of people pay a lot of money to see their own names cited and referenced. I guess it is natural, but I am still shocked by the size of this business.

The biggest vendor of this space is not Google, but Thompson ISI (combined revenue for 2003, $7.6 billion, of which $200 million is from the "current contents" business). They have a tool that I'd call "Ego-Alert" that tells you whenever someone cites, reviews or critiques your work. Having a high-ego-factor (called "ISI Impact Factor") is very important in many vertical industries to get promotions, grants, tenures, and jobs.

Naturally, I was curious if a phenomenon analogous to being a "Link-Slut" (linking to other's pages with the understanding of a reciprocal link, so the ego-factor goes up) was prevalent, and unbelievably, it is! I have been speaking to many scholars and users of ISI Impact Factor, and they all said that's just the nature of the beast.

See Also:
• Opportunities in the Invisible Web

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Thursday, March 25, 2004
Last Modified: 3/25/2004 10:20:50 AM

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