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PageRank's Ability to Track Webpage Quality: Reconciling Google’s Wisdom-of-Crowds Justification with the Scale-free Structure of the Web

Masterton, George LU and Olsson, Erik J LU (2018) In Heliyon 4(11).
Abstract
We address the fundamental question why we should use PageRank and similar link-based algorithms in search engines, if at all. In a legendary article from 1998, the Google founders gave an intriguing wisdom-of-crowds justification for PageRank according to which the latter tracks quality online. This striking suggestion stands in contrast to the view that PageRank merely tracks what is popular. However, Masterton and Olsson (2017) showed that web-ecologies generated by Google-like assumptions essentially fail to reflect the scale-free structure of the web. They pointed to attraction to popularity or a rich-get-richer effect being the likely main cause of scalefreeness. In this article, we explore dual models of linking behavior, i.e.... (More)
We address the fundamental question why we should use PageRank and similar link-based algorithms in search engines, if at all. In a legendary article from 1998, the Google founders gave an intriguing wisdom-of-crowds justification for PageRank according to which the latter tracks quality online. This striking suggestion stands in contrast to the view that PageRank merely tracks what is popular. However, Masterton and Olsson (2017) showed that web-ecologies generated by Google-like assumptions essentially fail to reflect the scale-free structure of the web. They pointed to attraction to popularity or a rich-get-richer effect being the likely main cause of scalefreeness. In this article, we explore dual models of linking behavior, i.e. models that combine attraction to importance (quality) with attraction to popularity. Our results, obtained through computer simulation, indicate that there exist dual models that give rise both to a wisdom-of-crowds effect for PageRank and to scale-free web-graphs, thus giving a partial vindication of the wisdom-of-crowds thesis for the real web. Future work should explore larger web-graphs as well as other aspects pertaining to the empirical plausibility of dual linking models. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Heliyon
volume
4
issue
11
pages
34 pages
publisher
Elsevier
external identifiers
  • scopus:85057283018
ISSN
2405-8440
DOI
10.1016/j.heliyon.2018.e00978
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
749b6ab3-5812-4ac8-918a-8f771024f907
date added to LUP
2018-11-22 11:43:38
date last changed
2019-02-20 11:37:14
@article{749b6ab3-5812-4ac8-918a-8f771024f907,
  abstract     = {We address the fundamental question why we should use PageRank and similar link-based algorithms in search engines, if at all. In a legendary article from 1998, the Google founders gave an intriguing wisdom-of-crowds justification for PageRank according to which the latter tracks quality online. This striking suggestion stands in contrast to the view that PageRank merely tracks what is popular. However, Masterton and Olsson (2017) showed that web-ecologies generated by Google-like assumptions essentially fail to reflect the scale-free structure of the web. They pointed to attraction to popularity or a rich-get-richer effect being the likely main cause of scalefreeness. In this article, we explore dual models of linking behavior, i.e. models that combine attraction to importance (quality) with attraction to popularity. Our results, obtained through computer simulation, indicate that there exist dual models that give rise both to a wisdom-of-crowds effect for PageRank and to scale-free web-graphs, thus giving a partial vindication of the wisdom-of-crowds thesis for the real web. Future work should explore larger web-graphs as well as other aspects pertaining to the empirical plausibility of dual linking models.},
  articleno    = {e00978},
  author       = {Masterton, George and Olsson, Erik J},
  issn         = {2405-8440},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {11},
  number       = {11},
  pages        = {34},
  publisher    = {Elsevier},
  series       = {Heliyon},
  title        = {PageRank's Ability to Track Webpage Quality: Reconciling Google’s Wisdom-of-Crowds Justification with the Scale-free Structure of the Web},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2018.e00978},
  volume       = {4},
  year         = {2018},
}