US newspapers in the Google time tunnel: Part 2

Martin Belam  by Martin Belam, 8 October 2008

Yesterday I started looking at a selection of US newspapers through the 'time tunnel' of Google's 2001 search engine index.

Google 2001 search

Today, I'm going to continue with a look at another 14 American newspapers, starting with some of the New York press.

New York Daily News

The 2001 edition of the New York Daily News online billed itself as "New York's hometown connection"

New York Daily News in 2001

The site was number one for a search of its name, but Google seems to have lost some of the details in the intervening years.

Google 2001 results for New York Daily news

New York Post

The New York Post also topped Google in 2001 when you searched for their name. Sadly, the version of the site stored by the Wayback Machine from 2001 is quite badly broken.

New York Post in 2001

New York Times

The New York Times is these days considered one of the Internet's newspapers of record, but in 2001 their homepage did not rank #1 for their brand name on Google.

New York Times on Google 2001

Instead a page from their jobs site, and a copyright notice occupy the top two slots.

New York Times 2001 copyright notice

Incidentally, a search for just 'new york' on Google 2001 turns up the New York Times at #8, the New York Daily News at #20 and the New York Post at a lowly #85.

Newark Star-Ledger

When searching for it by name, the Newark Star-Ledger's nj.com site was firmly at #1.

nj.com in 2001

Newsday

Newsday had two different ways to access the site in the top four Google rankings for their name in 2001. As well as the Newsday site itself, users were invited to visit library.newsday.com.

Google 2001 results for Newsday

Newsday in 2001

The Oregonian

The excellently named The Oregonian these days publishes at oregonlive.com, but back in Google's 2001 time-frame - oregonian.com was the #1 result, with the Oregon Live sports section coming in at #3.

The Oregonian in 2001

Philadelphia Inquirer

Another newspaper to have transposed URLs between 2001 and 2008 is the Philadelphia Inquirer. Nowadays you'll find it at philly.com, but the number one result for 'Philadelphia Inquirer' in Google's 2001 index was www.phillynews.com.

Philly.com in 2001

The Sacramento Bee

The Sacramento Bee was already available at the shortened sacbee.com URL, and ranked #1 for the paper's name in 2001.

The Sacramento Bee site in 2001

San Diego Union-Tribune

There is yet another URL branding change with the San Diego Union-Tribune. In 2001, you could find the paper on Google at uniontrib.com. There was also a separate advertising sales site at www.utads.com. In 2008, however, the URL and branding of the site is 'Sign on San Diego'.

Sandiego 2001

San Francisco Chronicle

The San Francisco Chronicle had a logjam of related URLs at the top of Google in 2001. As well as sfgate.com, there were separate sites for sponsored events, the San Francisco marathon which the paper sponsored, and for their ad sales operation.

2001 Google search for the San Francisco

SFGate site in 2001

St. Petersburg Times

The 2008 version of the St. Petersburg Times appears on tampabay.com, which ranked #2 on Google in 2001 for the search 'St. Petersburg Times'. At number one was the now defunct www.stpetersburgtimes.com URL, and, muddying the waters further, at #3 and #4 was the sptimes.com sports and business sections.

St Petersburg Times in 2001

USA Today

USA Today is an interesting case from a search point of view, because the Google of 2001 only seems to have five references to the paper by name if you spell it with a space as "USA Today", yet 334,000 references if you run it together as one word.

Google USA Today search yields 5 results in 2001

In the 2008 version of Google - the reverse is true. "USA Today" generates over 60 million results, whilst "USAToday" reveal just 15 million results.

USA Today has blocked the Wayback machine, so there is no archive of the 2001 version of the site itself.

Wall Street Journal

Even though in 2001 the Wall Street Journal was operating an online subscription model for content, they haven't blocked the Internet Archive project, and so, unlike with USA Today, you can see what the site looked like back then.

Wall Street Journal in 2001

As one of the leading news sources on the web, wsj.com was #1 on Google in 2001.

Washington Post

The last of the 25 US newspapers I've been looking at is the Washington Post, and it has one of the worst rankings in the 2001 version of Google, only managing to come seventh.

Google Washington Post results

That link wasn't even to the news content itself, but rather to a corporate info page.

Washington Post corporate site in 2001

And finally...

I'll be returning to look at US newspapers in the next few weeks, to reveal the results of my study measuring their success on social media.

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