Popular Opinion v. Expert Opinion

During a meeting, a friend and I stumbled upon the idea of popular opinion versus the expert opinion

Current thinking on this is that popular opinion is where it’s at with UGC, comments on Amazon and that creepy Beacon thing on Facebook. The opinion of the people is to be trusted more than whatever the authority figures try to dictate.

However, I do know that in the area of web search, Google is the conclusive authority on which websites are the most relevant.

But consider this.

I don’t think it is common knowledge that the way Google ranks websites is more social than we think it is. Its popularity, while based on a lot of things, is highly influenced by links, visits and content – things that are controlled by people. I remember an old co-worker telling me this story about an SEO contest and the winner being the person who just published their thoughts on the contest. So really, we decide what should come up first when you say Google “bowling balls”. But the process to make that happened has been branded under Google and its algorithm.

Similarly with Amazon, the recommendations that it makes is presented in such a way that it feels like the company is drawing the connections for you. However, a lot of that is based on what you’ve purchased before, what other people have purchased before and what you’ve browsed for. You made that recommendation to yourself.

These two are examples of companies that are very successful because of their ability to serve their customers. How do they know what their customers want? They’ve already told them! So as brands/companies/experts are sweating these details, there may be some sort of judo move that allows them to reclaim their stature.


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6 responses to “Popular Opinion v. Expert Opinion”

  1. Bukes says :

    I had a dream about you the other night. You, Slate, Jillian and myself were very thirsty and sitting on a beach with out last bit of drinking water. We all got a taste and then it was gone.

    And we were still thirsty.

    The end.

  2. Julie, writer surefirewealth.com says :

    In the first place, why had it become the popular opinion? There must be something in it that made a lot of people want it. But I must admit that what you present is true. A lot of what ranks high on Google is hugely affected by the number of links and visits. The same goes for Amazon.

  3. Nien says :

    Bukes, thanks for the dream. I have no idea what that means, but I notice that I’m thirsty more often now.

    Julie, thanks for the input. In a class discussion, someone mentioned that technology/internet has allowed people to assume that their expertise is rooted in their opinion. By that theory, it’s like an ego trip for people to disregard true expert opinions for their own. But there is also a sense of trust among your peers because they know you better.

  4. Hashem Bajwa says :

    That’s an interesting observation. Google Juice is based heavily on links to a page as a marker of that page’s order or relevance or importance. That’s pretty democratic and reflective of “popular opinion”. Or at least a formulized way at deciding what popular opinion is. The SEO companies have screwed it up by gaming the system with things that are not that relevant…

    Have a look at Mahalo.com which was started by my friend Jason Calacanis. He’s amazing. A real web entrepreneur.

    Mahalo is based on human powered search, editors. THe basic notion is CURATED content. I don’t need 50 million search results on Google for “New York City Hotels”, I need about 5-10 good ones. Try a search for that on Mahalo and then on Google. A lot of the results on google are new-york-city-hotels.com or NYC-stay.com or weird URLs I would not trust. Mahalo has created a page of links to credible sources you would use. They also believe that people are searching for 15% of the web 80% of the time, so you don’t have to create pages for every imaginable word, for that they use Google results! Still in early stages and its more of a supplement to Google for me. But an interesting approach.

    That said I love Google to no end…please Google Gods don’t drop your wrath upon me!

    Hashem @ Goodby Silverstein

  5. Bettye says :

    I leave a response when I like a article on a site or I have
    something to valuable to contribute to the conversation.

    Usually it’s a result of the sincerness communicated in the post I read. And on this post Popular Opinion v. Expert Opinion wendao // jinxin. I was excited enough to write a thought 🙂 I do have a couple of questions for you if you do not mind. Is it only me or does it look like a few of the responses look like written by brain dead folks? 😛 And, if you are posting on additional online sites, I’d like
    to keep up with anything new you have to post.
    Could you list every one of your shared sites like your linkedin profile,
    Facebook page or twitter feed?

  6. Brandi says :

    I know that owning your own new home based business. new home based business ideas come out of the house to make more or less. Jim Houghtling and his internet marketing partner, Elena Trifonova, are entrepreneurs on a quest to become financially free.

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