Best research results, Harper's Index, now searchable online

by David Spark on February 20, 2009

The Harper’s Index, that page of fascinating statistical tidbits that are as much about creativity as they are hard core research, is now searchable online for free.

Much of research is knowing the result you want to present and how you want to go after it. Research sites like Marketing Sherpa and the Pew Internet don’t put the creativity that Harper’s does when it’s developing its index. I think traditional research entities could learn something from one of the oldest continuously running publications in existence.

Harper’s is really eager for everyone to share their findings, so they’ve made every single result Tweetable.

I did a search on just “Internet” and here are some of my favorite Harper’s statistics that came as a result of that search.

  • Chance that a result on an Internet search relating to suicide will be an anti-suicide website: 1 in 8. Chance it will be a site offering pro-suicide advice or suggesting methods: 1 in 5 (both from 07/08 issue).
  • Estimated percentage of web links for requests to “unsubscribe” from mass emails that fail: 63 (from 04/04 issue).
  • Rank of “god” and “satan” among the top Google searches beginning with “who is”: 1, 10. Rank of “buckethead”: 6 (both from 3/08 issue).
  • Average number of minutes per day that Americans spend waiting for Web pages to download: 9. (from 4/00 issue).

I’m shocked it was only nine minutes. In 2000, I think I wasted half the year waiting for sites to download.

This news item is for the Spark Minute week of 2/23/09 which can be heard daily on Green 960 and 910 KNEW in San Francisco, CA.

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