Who Owns the Alphabet?
New: the BBC has done this for 2012. Well done, guys - only a decade late with the idea ;-)
There's not been much change in the standard index, with 15 of the 26 letters having the same winner for all three years. It's been a good year for Apple, with the success of the iPod propelling them to the top of the A category. Ironically, the I category has been won by itools.com, which has no connection to Apple at all, despite sharing a name with their software suite. Can a domain name dispute be far away?
See below for the lowdown, or view last year's results.
Companies strive for brand-name recognition, and adopt common phrases ("Where do you want to go today?") and even single words ("True") as being representative of that company, and no other. However, sometimes a word or phrase can be used by two very different companies, perhaps in different product spaces, who then have to fight it out for mind-share.
This page takes that to its logical limit, and asks: in the space of human awareness, who has won the battle for the basic building blocks, the very letters that make up the words with which we express ourselves? Who does the Internet's collective consciousness associate most closely with each of our 26 alphabet atoms?
As with so many things, Google has the answer. Googling for each of the 26 letters of the alphabet produces the following results:
|First Hit (2004)||Description||Comment||Hon. Ment. (top 10)||Suggest||2003 Winner||2002 Winner|
|A||Apple||Maker of the Macintosh computer range and the iPod.||The success of the iPod has pushed Apple to the top of the tree.||Avis Rent a Car, A List Apart, Find A Grave||amazon||YourDictionary.com||YourDictionary.com|
|B||Physical Review B||International journal specializing in condensed-matter phenomena, as well as materials physics.||B'Tselem is pushed into second by the surprising newcomer. B&Q consolidates in Q and moves into B.||B'Tselem, Belgian Railways (b-rail), B&Q||best buy||B'Tselem||B'Tselem|
|C||CNET.com||Technology product reviews, news, jobs and downloads.||CNET still dominates this category, with 5 of the top 10 links.||C-SPAN.org, GNU Compiler Collection||cnn||As 2004||As 2004|
|D||D-Link||Manufacturer of hubs, switches, NICs, Ethernet.||The influence of the blogosphere: MT gets an Hon. Ment., probably because the current version number has a D in it.||D-Lib Magazine, MoveableType||dictionary||As 2004||As 2004|
|E||E Online||Entertainment news, celebrity gossip, games and community.||Jerry Orbach died this week :-(||eBay, E*TRADE, MSN Hotmail (e-mail)||ebay||As 2004||As 2004|
|F||F-Secure||Product information, news, support, and information on viruses.||(Top 10) A (dis)honourable mention for over-use of the F word...||F***edCompany.com, F.Scott Fitzgerald Centenary Home Page||firefox||As 2004||As 2004|
|G||The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation||Dedicated to education and research about causes, treatment and the search for a cure.||GMail is breathing down Susan's neck in second place, despite still being in beta.||GMail, Zero G Software||games||As 2004||As 2004|
|H||H-Net, Humanities & Social Sciences Online||Interdisciplinary organization dedicated to developing the educational potential of the Internet.||Tip for an up-and-coming .com - pick a name beginning with H. There's a market gap.||National 4-H Council, [H]ard|OCP||hotmail||As 2004||As 2004|
|I||iTools.com||Internet tools: Search, research, reference, look up or translate just about anything in one place.||A site pinching the name of Apple's software has scooped top spot. Who says plagiarism doesn't pay?||iWon, Apple iTunes, ICQ, I, Robot (film)||ikea||iWon||Disney Online|
|J||Jennifer Lopez||Pop star who looks better than she sings.||J-Lo takes over; J. Paul Getty Museum in second. Good publicity trumps good art.||J.Crew, triple j (an Australian youth radio station), J. Paul Getty Museum||jokes||JCrew||triple j|
|K||The K Desktop Environment||KDE is a powerful graphical desktop environment for Unix workstations.||No change in K this year.||Kmart.com, K-Meleon||kazaa||As 2004||As 2004|
|L||Council of Europe||The COE is an intergovernmental organisation mainly concerned with human rights and democracy.||L'Oreal , The L-Space Web, LEXPRESS.fr||lyrics||Europa||LEXPRESS.fr|
|M||Texas A&M University||U.S. University||A&M stands for Agricultural and Mechanical.||M&M's, RMS, M-Systems||mapquest||CORDIS: I*M Europe Portal Page||3M|
|N||SBC Pacific Bell Knowledge Network Explorer||A searchable database of outstanding Internet learning sites.||Still no breakthrough for the N-Gage.||*NSYNC, Nokia N-Gage, IN-N-OUT Burger||news||As 2004||As 2004|
|O||O'Reilly and Associates||Technical and computer book documentation for Linux and other Open Source software.||A side effect of Google's algorithm using ' as a word separator.||Drew's Script-O-Rama, O'Reilly Network||online dictionary||As 2004||As 2004|
|P||PFlag||For parents, families and friends of lesbians and gays.||P&O Ferries||paris hilton||Alfred P. Sloan Foundation||Alfred P. Sloan Foundation|
|Q||Q4music.com||Music news, commentary and reviews, with online music shopping.||B&Q, Q Web||quotes||As 2004||As 2004|
|R||The R Project for Statistical Computing||R, also known as `GNU S', is a free system for statistical computation and graphics.||(Top 10) It's ironic that a company whose symbol is an "i" should get an hon. ment. only for the (R) mark they use on it so consistently.||Intel(R) Corporation, Toys R Us Inc.||recipes||As 2004||As 2004|
|S||McDonald's||Low quality "restaurant" chain/franchise with poor corporate ethics.||McDonald's moves into top spot. Can world domination be far away? GNU suddenly disappears from the Top 10.||Hoover's Online, Tom's Hardware Guide||spybot||The GNU Project||The GNU Project|
|T||AT&T Home Page - Welcome!||Provides long-distance, international and wireless services as well as Internet access.||(Top 10) Blogger gets an honourable mention - T for Tons of Tiresome Twaddle, presumably ;-)||BLOGGER, T-Online, T-Mobile, Ain't It Cool News||tara reid||As 2004||As 2004|
|U||The whatUseek Network||A meta-search engine with directory from the ODP.||Every entry except number 1 is a US university.||University of Minnesota, University of Michigan||ups||As 2004||As 2004|
|V||Bobby WorldWide||HTML accessibility checker.||The alt text for the links is "Bobby Approved (v 3.2)"!||V-Day (anti-violence), Channel [V], V&A Museum||verizon||As 2004||As 2004|
|W||georgewbush.com||Redirects to gop.com - the Republican National Committee||I can't actually view this site - it's inaccessible to non-Americans.||The White House, Form W-4||weather||The White House||The White House|
|X||X.org||Home of the X Window System.||The rise of X.org over XFree86 is reflected in its greater Google popularity.||The X-Files, Mac OS X, Ansari X Prize, XFree86||xbox||Netscape.com||Netscape.com|
|Y||Yahoo Messenger||Instant messaging program.||Yahoo! regains the top spot after a year away.||Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization, 92nd Street Y||yahoo||Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization||Yahoo!|
|Z||HealthAtoZ.com||Medical and healthcare resources for patients.||ZNet, La-Z-Boy||zip codes||As 2004||As 2004|
Note: much to the chagrin of those who try to manipulate the index, Google changes its search algorithm frequently, and so for this and other reasons, the results listed here may not be the same as those you get if you do the search for yourself. This page may be updated on an irregular basis, approximately yearly, but I'm not promising anything.