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  Alternate Universes

Google Searches for fanfic

I started my collection of fanfiction statistics with Karen Nicholas' site. When it became clear that it was not being updated and was probably not going to be updated for a long time or maybe ever, I decided to collect comparative data from a source stable enough to do longitudinal studies. I picked Google!. Data as of 9/26/00:

Here are the top ten fandoms by total hits:

source "fan fiction"+ ff+slash % slash
Star Trek
19100
1780
9.3
Star Wars
18400
1260
6.8
X-Files
14600
1900
13.0
Xena
13600
3001
22.1
Buffy
12100
1210
10.0
Sailor Moon
10500
723
6.9
Pokemon
10200
503
4.9
ER
9460
663
7.0
Final Fantasy
7550
517
6.8
X-Men
6980
517
7.4

You really want to look at the more complete results:

fandoms with more than 1000 hits
fandoms with more than 200 slash hits
all other fandoms I searched

My paper, The Fan Fiction Universe, discusses a few of the patterns in this data, especially the explosive growth of anime/manga/game fandoms, music group fandoms, and Harry Potter.


It was my plan to re-run these Google searches from time to time, to chart how different fandom popularity grows and wanes. But I started to realize I had some real methodological problems.

For the data above, I ran two searches on each fandom:

"fan fiction" [fandom name]
and
"fan fiction" [fandom name] slash

For anime and manga fandoms I ran two additional searches:

"fan fiction" [fandom name] yaoi
and
"fan fiction" [fandom name] slash yaoi
In these fandoms, the number in the slash column is actually slash + yaoi - (slash+yaoi).

Fooling around with different combinations of terms, I discovered results like this:
data collected: 16-Mar-03  
category term # Google hits
fandom, fic "Star Wars" "fan fiction"
46700
"Star Wars" fanfic
30700
"Star Wars" fanfiction
25800
"Star Wars" fanfic -"fan fiction"
21500
"Star Wars" fanfiction -"fan fiction" -fanfic
14100
Venn diagram total of the above
82300
"fandom fic" "Star Wars fan fiction"
2090
"Star Wars fanfic"
775
"Star Wars fanfiction"
556
fandom, fic, slash "Star Wars" "fan fiction" slash
2850
"Star Wars" fanfic slash
2850
"Star Wars" fanfiction slash
2590
fandom/slash "Star Wars" slash
27700
"Star Wars" yaoi
3040
"Star Wars slash"
205
"Star Wars yaoi"
13
"Star Wars" slash - fanfiction -fanfic -"fan fiction"
21400
pairing TPM "Q/O"
3310
"Star Wars" "Q/O"
521
"Phantom Menace" "Q/O"
145

So we see here that

a) Most "Star Wars" sites that mention fanfiction, fan fiction, or fanfic use only one of those terms, pretty much arbitrarily.

b) only a small proportion of those sites use e.g. "Star Wars" and "fan fiction" use the full phrase, "Star Wars fan fiction". Are there consistent content differences between these sites? Anyone want to find out?

c) there are a lot of sites that use "Star Wars" and "slash" but not fanfic terms. Glancing at the results, "slash" seems to be turning up a lot in non-fanfic contexts, especially with regard to "hack and slash" gaming.

d) An awful lot of Q/O sites don't mention "Star Wars" or "Phantom Menace," only TPM. Could these mostly be recs or fandom butterfly sites?

e) I have no clue what is the best way to get statistical data via searches. Advice? Commiseration?

 

by Mary Ellen, "Doctor Science, MA"

 


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updated March 17, 2003

all material on these pages copyright 1999-2002 Mary Ellen Curtin, except where otherwise noted