Measuring Web Illiteracy

Here’s a little game to play: google a common word. Make a note of the count on the upper right side of the search results page. Call that y. Now, google for a misspelling of that same word. Call it’s result count x.

The ratio


can be called the World Wide “Web Misspelling Ratio”. We can express it as a percentage, and call it wemiss for short, pronounced like maybe how Marlon Brandon might say, “You are wemiss in not using a spelling checker on your web pages.”

What words have the highest wemiss measure? Searching for a few of my pet peeves, I’ve found:

recieved/received: 7,720,000 / 172,000,000 = 4.49 %

such as, “Blogger Billy recieved his spell checker software today, but hasn’t used it yet.”

harrass/harass: 465,000/2,150,000 = 21.63

embarassing/embarrassing: 1,350,000/6,600,000 = 20.45%

As in, “it should be embarassing for web authors to make spelling errors on the web for all to see”.

harrass/harass: 465,000/2,150,000 = 21.63%

“I really don’t won’t to harrass all those poor spellers on the web, but sometimes I’m compelled to say something”.

And now, for the most ironic misspelling of all:

mispell/misspell: 293,000 / 326,000 = 89.88 % WOW!

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I'm the founder and president of Agoric Source, LLC, co-organizer of the Houston Python Meetup, and active board member of several local non-profit organizations, including Ten Thousand Villages Houston, the Houston Area Model United Nations, and the Weekley Family YMCA. I'm first and foremost still a software hacker, but with my economics background and business experience, I serve well as a project or program manager, technical visionary, etc. I'm opinionated, but hopefully reasonable so. My blog is just a chance for me to keep up with my writing skills, and expound upon various technology and policy subjects. I especially try to keep up with the Houston software community.