Bald assertions and search results
No, the ‘study’ does not show Prince William is the “world’s sexiest bald man”.
Who did this study and what did they do?
A cosmetics firm typed names of bald male celebrities and ‘sexy’ into Google. A person counted the number of search results.
Despite this method, some news articles refer to it as a ‘Google study’. This is incorrect. Google neither commissioned nor conducted this study.
What is the problem with this study?
The measure — the number of search results — has no validity. It is not measuring how many times people have called a male celebrity “sexy”.
This is the second sentence from the article in The Sun:
The 38-year-old Duke has been described as “sexy” a whopping 17.6million times online in blogs, reports and pages found in Google searches, researchers found.
Search engines work by scouring the internet for pages with ‘crawlers’. ‘Crawlers’ report back to the search engine, storing and organising information about websites. That information becomes an index. The company then uses an algorithm to order indexed pages for relevance to a person’s search. Companies can intervene, and often have advertising space above the main results.
Your search query does not establish a particular relationship between the individual words. Searching a male celebrity’s name and “sexy” does not return only times someone called them sexy. Search engine queries return pages that have some connection to the inputted terms.
Moreover, the query could return results from before that person was bald. Aggregated news article come back as separate results.
Here are some examples from searching for the term with “Prince William”:
- An out-of-stock poster of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (“sexy Royalty”) from 2013 or earlier.
- A 2011 gallery article about “His Royal Hotness” Prince Harry.
- An Irish Sun article in 2019 about claims that the Duchess of Cambridge dressed up as a “sexy nurse”.
- A March 2021 article describing what’s “hot” at the Prince William public libraries. (Prince William County is in Virginia.)
- The food menu at The Prince William pub, served “hot”.
Suffice to say, search engines do not work in this. Counting rounded numbers of search engine results does not measure attractiveness.
This is not a valid study of the sexiness of bald men. The high count for the Duke of Cambridge is likely due to interest in the Royal family.