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Polis Report

Webwatch

By Rafer Guzmán

In the old days, the Nielsen folks would come and install a little box on some guy's TV set to monitor his viewing habits. Then, a few weeks later, they'd conclude that everyone's favorite program was Charles In Charge.

The World Wide Web offers more accurate polling. Santa Clara-based Infoseek Corporation recently released their Top 10 list of "the most asked about celebrities on the Internet today." According to their calculations, Americans have been most avidly dog-earing the Web pages of Baywatch's Pamela Anderson (#1), MTV T&A maven Jenny McCarthy (#4), and "superlingerie model" Patricia Ford (#9). Once again, the ratings game is turning a potentially powerful medium into a cheesecake vendor.

The numbers don't lie: as of April 8,
315,900 shoppers had browsed one page of available Anderson videos; 575,773 viewers singled out one McCarthy page; and Ford's ample assets had been audited at least 30,418 times.

But what about the more than one dozen Noam Chomsky Web pages found through Infoseek? Or the Arctic David Cassidy Fan Base, which claims an admirable 3,179 visitors? Or World Wide Punk, which has preached anarchy to 60,601 possible converts? Or the ukelele-centric site Riot Uke, whose motto is "Uke Till You Puke?"

On the Internet, there's no accounting for taste, as the saying goes. But as we all know, when it comes to ratings, many tastes aren't being accounted for at all.

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From the April 18-24, 1996 issue of Metro

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