There’s so much that is brilliant about the web, but among the many drawbacks is that the way search engines like Google rank information it can easily promote ‘popular’ but misleading information over dry but accurate resouces. I’ve come across no better example of this than when the average parent ‘researches’ the link between vaccines and autism on Google.
I don’t wish to be too judgmental to those parents who have done this and convinced themselves that there is a link and therefore have not vaccinated their children because they are simply trying to do the right thing, however.. the mental thing which really ‘gets my goat’ is that they completely misunderstand how Google ranks information and that it’s practically impossible for the layman to ‘research’ the subject.
In other words, if a thousand people link to a YouTube video (for arguments sake) full of psuedo science and bulls**t saying this is brilliant and a thousand people link to it saying this is bulls**t and not to be trusted and then provides a link to a peer reviewed scientific paper with a recommendation that they look at the facts, Google will rank the bulls**t video first because it has twice as many links (there is of course more to the ranking algorithm, but I am simplifying it massively to make a point). It doesn’t and can’t factor in efficacy, simply links.
This simple, but brilliant service allows you to create a link that Google and other search engines can’t rank.