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Recently this website has turned up on a lot of my google searches

  1. Aug 17, 2008 #1
    Recently this website has turned up on a lot of my google searches. They have articles about almost everything under the sun: health, technology, parenting, entertainment, .... Here is how they describe themselves:
    I am particularly interested in nutrition and healthy lifestyle choices and about.com keeps turning when I try to learn about these things from the internet. For some random recent examples, I found some info on heartburn and ingredients of energy bars there that would be pretty helpful if I can trust it. So, I am trying to gauge how reliable the information they provide is. For instance, I am trying to figure out how it compares to Wikipedia. Is it just like Wikipedia except with restrictions on the article-writers? They claim that the people writing their articles, called "guides", are experts benevolently interested in helping people. That seems possible and it would be really cool if it were true, but I am pretty wary of claims like that. The devils advocate in me says that about.com could just be a lor of business people trying to make money off advertising revenue. I couldn't find whether it was nonprofit or not.

    Anyway, what do people make of this website? In general, when you look for advice about random encyclopedic knowledge about things such as food, nutrition, historical facts, diseases, government, technology, on the internet how do you judge the credibility of the site?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 17, 2008 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Re: about.com

    Most of what I've seen, they just quote Wiki articles.
  4. Aug 17, 2008 #3
    Re: about.com

    I don't like it much and never used it even though it shows up often in google.
  5. Aug 17, 2008 #4
    Re: about.com

    I remember using about.com last century before there was a wikipedia. I used it to learn about playing musical instruments and various sports. It was not free to edit, but instead employed "experts." Thinking back, I remember that even back then it had a high ratio of misleading sponsored links and pop-up ads, so I wasn't attached once something better came along.

    In my opinion, it is vastly inferior to google + wikipedia, basically an over-commercialized relic of the past. If you don't mind navigating the sites ad-laden layout, then it might be more reliable then a bad Wikipedia page, but if the Wiki page is bad then I go to primary sources.
  6. Aug 17, 2008 #5


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    Homework Helper

    Re: about.com

    Not much really. I find it generally shallower as a source. And some of the about's just not adequately treating what I was looking for.

    When I get Google hit's to it, I look elsewhere is my learned behavior.
  7. Aug 17, 2008 #6
    Re: about.com

    Some of their articles are decent, and some of them aren't. In general, there are usually better sources.
  8. Aug 17, 2008 #7


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    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Re: about.com

    That's been my experience too, or else they just run an ad for some product. I think they just get a lot of google hits because they have a stub of an article (sometimes no more than a sentence) and an ad for about every topic you can think of, but it doesn't make it a good source.
  9. Aug 17, 2008 #8
    Re: about.com

    Like Crosson about.com was the place for articles and information before wiki. I rarely go back and it seems spammy and ad ridden now.
  10. Aug 17, 2008 #9
    Re: about.com

    Thanks for your comments everyone! These facts about the ancient historical era before Wikipedia are fascinating. :tongue:
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