What’s With All The ‘Net Worth’ Websites And Articles Online?

net worth articles ubiquity


As almost all internet users will have noticed, ‘Net Worth’ websites and search queries are extremely popular – but why is this?

This article will finally answer that question that millions have wondered about!


Why Are Net Worth Websites And Articles Popular?

According to a 2018 article by The New York Times, net worth websites are popular partially because their estimates are often shown at the top of results in search engines, particularly Google. The publication brings up the example of Celebrity Net Worth – a popular net worth website that Google often uses as a source for celebrity net worth figures for its Featured Snippets.

Celebrity Net Worth estimates are frequently cited by other websites (including high-profile ones).

According to The Outline, Google first requested access to Celebrity Net Worth’s data for featured snippets in 2014. The email sent to Celebrity Net Worth founder Brian Warner read, among other things:

We get a good amount of search queries about net worth of celebrities and important people. I am tasked with finding an authoritative source, and Currently am exploring sources for Net Worth of Celebrities datasets. . .


. . . I was reviewing your website, and your collection looks comprehensive…

Despite receiving disapproval from Warner, Google would ultimately decide to use Celebrity Net Worth data for Featured Snippets. Google started displaying Snippets for each of the celebrities in the Celebrity Net Worth database in February 2016. This resulted in a 65% traffic decline to the website.

Ultimately, the reason for the popularity of net worth websites and articles is the “good amount of search queries” on Google.

The prevalence of net worth articles and websites may be associated with the Lindy Effect. The Lindy Effect implies that the older non-perishable items or concepts get, the more likely they are to survive in the long term.

The increased interest toward the net worth of celebrities and influencers prompted Google to start collecting estimates from net worth websites and displaying them more prominently in search results, particularly in their Featured Snippets. In addition, the apparent popularity of these net worth-related search phrases led to the appearance of a large number of websites trying to rank for them to get more traffic. The resulting ubiquity of ‘net worth’ material likely caused Google’s algorithm to display such queries even more prominently, particularly in their ‘autocompletes’ (the phrases that pop up when you’re typing in a phrase). This in turn likely led to even more searches for such phrases, and even more targeting of such keyword phrases by SEO’s, and the never-ending loop continued.


How Do Websites Determine Net Worth?

Each net worth website has its own methodology for determining net worth.

For its “World’s Billionaires List”, Forbes values assets such as private companies, real estate, and art based on stock prices and exchange rates. Forbes writes that it “doesn’t pretend to know each billionaire’s balance sheet (though some provide it).” The publication adds that it discounts fortunes when documentation isn’t supplied or available.

Other websites, such as Celebrity Net Worth, don’t disclose how exactly they calculate net worth. The New York Times criticized the website’s lack of transparency in 2018.

Among other things, The New York Times wrote that “the authoritative tone of the site implies that somewhere there’s a computer mainframe running a program that monitors headlines, real estate sales, art auctions and whatever else, then processes that data and spits out a useful number.” This appears to be implausible, the publication adds, since there are no computer scientists working for Celebrity Net Worth.

Celebrity Net Worth founder Brian Warner said in regard to the accuracy of the website’s estimates:

I do think our users understand we’re talking about the best possible ballpark.

He added that dollar-level accuracy doesn’t matter much.

The New York Times commented on this quote that “the best possible ballpark” is a low standard of accuracy for facts and added that “you become the trusted authority” if “you’re the only one on the internet offering an answer to a question people are asking.”


Are Net Worth Websites Accurate?

Net Worth websites appear to be more inaccurate rather than accurate. The New York Times writes that the American media has published guesses and lies about celebrities “for as long as the two have existed.” And since “the internet” is a popular source of information, the circulation of seemingly credible facts is easier. The resulting trivia can be hard to dispel, The New York Times concludes.

Regarding Celebrity Net Worth specifically, some of its estimates may be more accurate than others. As an example, Brian Warner told The Outline that Floyd Mayweather has personally sent screenshots accounting for his assets to Celebrity Net Worth.

Because celebrity wealth is typically calculated based on their disclosed properties and investments, estimates of net worth may be inaccurate. Celebrities usually keep sources of their wealth private, which makes accurate evaluation of their net worth impossible.



We hope this has been an interesting and informative take on how “net worth” queries and websites became such a huge part of the internet (even appearing on high-quality sites like this one!).




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