10 April 2013

Filofax and Google

The world of technology is a fierce and competitive one. Each year the tech followers want bigger and faster gadgets, whilst the price stays roughly the same. A trend that we have seen for many years. Who can remember their first home computer from say 10, 20 or 30 years ago? What did you pay for it new and what did you get for that amount of money compared to what you would get for the same amount of money today.....

Filofax though is not quite so competitive it moves at a far more gentle pace, new models come along each year, older styles or colours are gently faded out and everything moves at quite a sedate pace.

Well that's in my eyes... if we consult Google things aren't quite what you think. As you know I employ my own method of gathering blog posts every week, sharing them with you on a twice weekly schedule. The volume of the number of posts hasn't changed that much recently more or less about 30-40 posts in each webfinds post, sometimes slightly less.

So why is it that when I try to use Google Search for 'Filofax' and select 'Blog' it only comes up with about 12 or 15 posts in the last week, when I'm finding 50-70 posts in that same time frame?

Are Google deliberately suppressing Filofax searches to improve the sales of their gadgets? No surely not that would be a little too far fetched.

So I started to wonder could it be decreasing because of the number of people searching for Filofax on Google?

This is the volume of Filofax searches worldwide over time starting in 2004. The peaks each year tend to happen in December/January as you might expect. There is a gradual decline over time as people have been adopting smart phones and tablets. We shouldn't get caught up in the pros and cons of that argument... that's for another time.

Take a look at the full report because that gives an interesting break down of geographic location and you can see the actual figures on the graph.

After seeing that graph I wondered so how many people have been searching for Philofaxy over the same period.... I have my own figures for the number of visits... but how many people search for Philofaxy on Google...

Clearly we didn't get caught by Google until August 2010 which ties in with a up turn in our visitor figures. So ignoring the figures before then:

I've extended it slightly to March 2013 to include recent figures.

Comparing these numbers to my own visitor logs which look something like this for the period September 2009 to Dec 2012, these are measured on a fixed 31 day interval.

Then if we concentrate on the same August 2010-December 2012 period

It follows a similar sort of trend, not exact of course.

Looking at the 'decline' for searches for Filofax, but the rise in searches for Philofaxy do you think there are people that fall in to two categories.
  • People that don't like technology, or can't use it, to they are sticking with pen and paper
  • People that are disillusioned with technology as being the total solution and are returning to Filofax and they are looking for better ways to use Filofax organisers. 
One thing to note of course is that you only use a search engine to initially find something. Once you know of its existence you might not use it again, so I'm adding a slight note of caution to the above findings..
The overall decline of searches for Filofax wasn't too big a surprise, but I wasn't expecting the rise of Philofaxy quite like it appears to be.... 'Oh ye of little faith' !!!

Your thoughts people... as always I look forward to reading them... 


  1. It would be interesting to see the same charts for the Bing serach engine. That apparently uses entirely different logarythms (? Spelling). We have it embedded in our unchangable toolbar at work and occasionally I forget and use it instead if entering the google address and using that. Personally I hate it but it does bring up an entirely different set of results so maybe a filofax blog search on that would be different.. I'll try it when I get there and see.
    And of course ( she says putting on her best BBC announcers voice if such still exists) 'other brands of search engine are also available'.

    Finally, I heard tell ( might be a rumour) that at the Googleplex there is a digital display in reception that scrolls some of he latest search requests being put into Google. As I say, mostl likely not true but even so occassionally I like to amuse myself my searching for something odd in case it pops up to amuse anyone over in Silicon Valley. But that makes me wonder. If we all spend today searching over and over for Filofax does that help raise its results?

    PS this fascinating post proves that the words 'geek' and 'techno-nerd' should never be seen as an insult :)

  2. Darned good post, and a fine example of paper/digital symbiosis. I'm with Helen;let's do a day of Google jacking and search all day on eg Friday. Can't do today because I'm out!

  3. Ugh Blogger ate my comment! I'll have to rewrite it:

    I hate to point this out Steve but the scientist in me demands it.

    The people who are Googling Filofax and Philofaxy are automatically a subset of Filofax users: the ones who are online and tech savvy enough to use search engines.

    In my online life it seems everyone is online and it's easy to take that for granted. But in my offline life, I know many people who hardly use the internet. For these people, a paper planner is an obvious choice. Their lives are spent mainly away from computers. I can think of many people like this.

    But the people who are Googling Filofax and Philofaxy do not fall into this category. They are computer users who are tech-savvy enough to use search engines. These are the users who are especially interesting to me, because they are obviously not technophobes and an electronic organizer or planning system would be an option for them but they have specifically chosen paper.

    Of course all of us who read Philofaxy fall into this latter category, and we all have our reasons for choosing a paper planner over (or possibly along with) an electronic one.

  4. OK: results of a pointless exercise :)
    I searched 'filofax blog' on Google and Bing and got ten results on each front page. only five of those were the same ones. I then sreached on ask.com and their results were almost the same as Google but with one change. Philofaxy of course was on them all but not as the first result necessarily. What intrigued me most though was that on Bing, Ray Blake's blog came up with three seperate entries on that top ten list. Ray, what is your SEO Optimisation secret and why does it work only for Bing? :)

  5. Like your thinking Angel gem...A extremely high octane post for a Wednesday Steve...

  6. I don't know, but what I do know is that I put in "Filofax Blogs" in Google and had 26 sites in the three pages I looked at.

  7. wow - when I google 'Filofax blog' I get TONS - 5 pages full -o nly a few of which are links to merchants (P&L, Goldspot, FF, etc.) I think once you start on one it will lead you to another, etc. An interesting thing happened the other day with a fellow Flickr poster (in her 50s) who noticed some of my Filo favs who said she had NEVER heard of Filofax! but was amazed at the huge community on Flickr! I have to admit - after YEARS of never giving Filofax a thought _ I jumped back in earlier this year and can't imagine why I left!

  8. Hello Steve, Hello Everyone.
    This is my first post here on Philofaxy, so please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Sandra, I am 35, and I got my first Filofax about a month ago :)

    Now on topic: I am what you may call a technology lover: I have a iPad, a few laptops, game consoles, and my line of work is in the IT business. I am also a book lover, and a stationary addict. I've been using a Quo Vadis organizer for a few years (as well as Moleskine diaries), but I finally decided to get a Filofax last month.

    I am not certain if I fall into one of the categories above. All I know is that I cannot do without technology, as well as I cannot imagine a life without my writing longhand on a journal.

    I found about Philofaxy when researching Filofax information online. My search was about the leather range of Filofax products, soon narrowed down to the Malden line. One month later, I am now the happy owner of a Pocket Malden, and two personal organizers (Aston and Holborn).

    I cannot remember exactly how I found Philofaxy: it must have been trough Google Search for pictures, then I browsed the blog for product reviews and later on, templates. Not sure if my two cents did help, but thank you everyone for this wonderful community :)

    1. Welcome ichiban. I quite agree that technology and paper are not incompatable at all. as I sit here, on my desk... one laptop, 2 monitors, 1 ipad, ( Iphone in bag), I digital recording device, 1 printer, three filofaxes (one more in bag and two in drawer), two books and a pile of paper files.

  9. I think combining technology and paper is perfect. They're like a good marriage. They complement each other and fill voids in each other. If I had to choose, I would always choose paper over technology. But paper has its shortcomings as does technology. But together . . . unstoppable!

  10. Another very good post from Steve.

  11. Thanks for all your comments on this post today. The trends thing is what it is really, I'm just guessing I suppose as to why one trend goes down and the other suddenly leaps upwards!

    But I've been relooking at the Google search and You Tube search again this afternoon. Being that both are powered by Google they have changed something on both.

    In both Google Search and You Tube if you only want results from say the last week. But then add the 'Relevance order' or 'In Upload order' you get completely different results.

    The number of things there are in the last week is a finite amount, why changing the sort order changes the number it then shows you I just don't know. Something funny there!

    But I'm less reliant on Google search for finding Filofax blog posts these days anyway, so I'm not too worried about that issue.

    But weeding out just Filofax Videos from the huge amount of rubbish on You Tube is posing a bit more of a problem, like ones that are not appearing in the search results at all, yet they are tagged and titled with Filofax yet they are being missed out completely.

    So I have some more work to do there to try and get the You Tube search to work correctly and hopefully solve this missing videos problem.

    I may end up building an equivalent to what I have to blog posts for videos where I monitor the individual feeds from each channel looking for new output. Not sure if it's possible or if it will work.

    Work in Progress as they say!

    1. Or you could sit back and rely on us all emailing you links everytime we do a post!

  12. Welcome Ichiban! I agree with you and Helen are the tech world and the written - especially our Filofaxes - not being mutually exclusive. I find that I tend to have tel./address info on my iPhone rather than the abc format used in the binders. But the Filofax - especially with the ubiquitous embelliments available lend to a creative side which is enjoyable. I also feel there is a more personal, emotional connection to what you've written when looking back. I don't feel that way about an iPhone or a computer - plus I have never held an iPhone that smelled of a rich, lovely leather nor one that offered the tactile experience of same.

  13. Steve - my thoughts are that it has been up because there was a splash of posts in many blogs about filofax. Maybe the same splash was in mass media, I'm not sure, I don't watch british and American tv, and read newspaper online just on other topics. Those people who were interested in FF, found it already, and ordered, or gave up this idea.
    And many people don't realize that there IS a community as philofaxy.
    And I agree with Laurie - people who has been using paper planners all their life, don't need to search FF online, because chances are that they use the perfect planner already.
    FF is a very small niche in paper planners market.
    If you are interested in results in a Russian search engine yandex dot ru (Google has lost it's market to this engine because ignored it for too long) - there is nothing about philofaxy on the first 15 pages. I didn't look further.

  14. And then there are the Filofax related blogs that choose to be kept out of search engine searches, as mine was in the beginning. As a newbie blogger, I was very cautious about my posts coming up in search results. So that could also be skewing your results there.

    On another note, I find it funny that blogger ate Laurie's original comment. Maybe the folks in Silicon Valley are indeed watching everything... ;-)

  15. Steve, could you please put my video about march set up in the next web finds post? I'm interested what people has to say

  16. Maybe there are less people googling Filofax, because so many have found Philofaxy already. Once you've found the best do you really need to keep searching when you could be putting that time to tweaking your setup? :o)