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 of Agoric Source, co-organizer of the Houston Python Meetup, director of technology at Newspaper Subscription Services, LP, technology advisor to InstaFuel, active board member of the Houston Area Model United Nations, and occasional volunteer to the Red Cross (during hurricanes or other local emergencies). 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.