Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Debunking our Jimmy's boast

There is a remarkable article about Sir Jimmy Savile in this week's Guardian Guide, published last Saturday. It includes a number of extraordinary boats from the man:

Jim's amazing but true tales

"I'm an honorary Royal Marine and Green Beret."

"I turned a £600m pound loss into a £700m profit for British Rail in just over four years."

"I invented the plastic railcard."

"I invented Top Of The Pops."

"I'm a registered Manchester taxi driver."

"I own a mountain."

"I've got a quarter of million internet pages about me."

"There has never been a law passed that I couldn't bend."

"How much would it cost to hire me? A million pounds. And we'll work up from there."

"Big Brother paid me £150,000 for two days and I didn't even have to stay over."

As a bit of fun I followed up one of those boasts. The only one that I am in a position to easily check, in fact. "I've got a quarter of million internet pages about me."

No, you haven't Jimmy. Sorry to disappoint. If you put "Jimmy Savile" into Google it comes up with 87,500 results. That includes results for "Jimmy" on its own, and "Savile" on its own. So it would include mentions about Jimmy Cricket, Jimmy Hill etc etc.

If you put ""Jimmy Savile" into Google you get 44,900 results for the words "Jimmy" and "Savile" used together. And hardly any of these are "pages about" Jimmy Savile. They are pages which include a mention of "Jimmy Savile".

Putting in the incorrect spelling (thank you Stephen!) of "Jimmy Saville" gives 275,000 results. Putting that in inverted commas gets 76,600 results.

All this is not as sexy as "a quarter of a million internet pages about me". But for someone born in 1926, and therefore as old as my father, I wouldn't expect even a passing knowledge of the way internet search tools work.

1 comment:

  1. In fairness, another 40,000+ for 'Jimmy Savile' (the correct spelling, I think). Still not 250k+, though.