Michael Jackson Died in 2007 : According to Google & Wikipedia

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According to Google, Michael Jackson did not pass away two days ago. Instead, the search engine is serving a customized result (powered by Wikipedia) stating that the King of Pop died on August 30th 2007 :

Michael Jackson Died 2007?

Such is the shameful problem of Google depending on “user generated content” from Wikipedia as a trusted resource, serving the obituary of an little known English writer named Michael Jackson during a time when the world is searching for information on the death of THE Michael Jackson. Google, you need to fix this immediately.

Thanks to Anirudh Koul for sending this over.

Loren Baker
Loren Baker is the Founder of SEJ, an Advisor at Alpha Brand Media and runs Foundation Digital, a digital marketing strategy & development agency.
Loren Baker
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  • Unfortunetly, your the one that has made the mistake.
    This was pertaining to “Michael Jackson” as in the Writer. As for the real Michael Jackson (artist/entertainer) under http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_jackson, the content is valid.

  • Ian, WRONG, this is a mistake of Google’s. Obviously, the world is searching for information on the death of Michael right now, and not a writer named Michael Jackson … so the company should not be serving irrelevant results and information for this term.

  • Agreed. Google should ban Wikipedia from the index immediately.

  • James

    Then why would they put age 65? Come on now.

  • Pascal

    That’s right!
    Google should serve what you think would be the most relevant. All the time! Night and day. They should pay a bunch of psychics to read your mind and adjust the algorithms in real time accordingly.

  • Your spelling of you’re aside (I can pass up the ‘Unfortunetly’, but I am a stickler for ‘your’), I agree. The strongest trend of searches for the term was still for the writer. Wikipedia reported the date of death correctly on both pages, but Google picked up the page which, from it’s data, was most pertinent.

    The very idea that a crawl should have been made and indexed in this time frame is absurd – Google crawls trends more regularly, but it is not going to crawl or index famous people’s names on Wikipedia more frequently when they die – after all, the algorithm does not immediately know which Michael is dead – that takes time.

    @Loren – firstly, way to treat your readership, but that aside – this is not irrelevant information, it absolutely is pertinent to the search term. It might not have been pertinent to your wants, but it is not an uncommon name. Trending topics will mean that this is likely to change, but for now most people searching for this term have still been searching for the author over the last period from which data is collated.

    Search terms for Michael Jackson’s recent death ([michael jackson dead] or [how did michael jackson die]) are returning the African American entertainer, the term you have used is one which is associated with longer term death information and, at the moment, knowing the date of death is not terribly high in people’s minds. They know.

    I think that, once this data hits Google trends or the keyword suggestion tool, we will see a spike for all MJ related terms, but with a disproportionately smaller spike for the died term.

    I read this as an amusing, tongue in cheek post, but your attack on Ian seems to mean you are serious – have a listen to what Pascal has to say!

  • Baroo?

    Michael Jackson (the writer) was actually a rather well-known writer. To call him a “little known” writer is inaccurate.

  • Its actually mentioned as writer. So there is no fault from Google. Its obvious that whole world is searching ,but still Google results are not handled manually.

  • Micheal

    Ok, it’s not up to google to KNOW what the “whole world” (i use quotations because quite honestly, some of us really DON’T CARE AT ALL that Micheal whatever died. )is looking for, how do you know there weren’t people out there that WERE looking for the writer? if you’re going to search for something, be specific, computers are not mind readers and they don’t know what you want, hence keyboards.

  • All our thoghts should go to he’s children

  • Josh

    Your [sic] the idiot. Check the “(writer)” after the title of the Wikipedia article.

  • I think it would be “a little known English writer,” not “an little known English writer.” That’s assuming, of course, that your statement is true. Unfortunately, it’s not. He’s actually quite well known. Maybe you could benefit from Google’s “error” by educating yourself before you run off at the mouth. As someone who writes for an SEO blog, you’d think you’d at least have a vague understanding of how their algorithm works.

  • Jesse Jackson put out a statement: the family want answers… http://www.enewsreference.com/wordpress/?p=29

  • preston

    OMG…I just found a detailed report of what happened and a real transcript of the 911 call at


    Crazy stuff man.

  • Percy

    It is shocking indeed to realize how deep misconceptions can go about any subject just like claims that Michael Jackson was white, a total rubbish!!


  • Percy

    It is shocking indeed to realize how deep misconceptions can go about any subject just like claims that Michael Jackson was white, a total rubbish!!


  • Brian

    Well, you sound (read) like so many computer geeks who never learned how to get along and communicate properly in normal society. The gist of this article indicates, also, that you have tunnel vision when it comes to interpretation of an event, and that it’s skewed to the narcissistic, i.e. if results don’t turn out the way you’re thinking, it’s wrong. Take some philosophy and ethics classes ’til you can see two sides of a viewpoint, then get back to us.

    I agree with Pascals response.

  • Arwel

    Actually Michael Jackson, the writer who died in 2007, was an extremely well-known writer and broadcaster who did much to popularize then-obscure styles of beer and among other things promoted many micro-brews in the US as well as being a tireless supporter of the wide variety of Belgian beers. He was widely honored by the beer industry (and the Belgian government). That you can describe him as “little known” merely displays the depths of your own ignorance.

  • Loig

    Come on guys! be nice to each other! =]
    I did not know the writer either. But I learned two things through this article:
    First: There was a (arguably) well known writer named Michael Jackson who wrote beer advertisment and broadcasts.
    Second: Never take Google for granted!

    So long and cheers from Switzerland

  • Way to go, Manley !

  • Loren

    I think Google is being shown a real problem with their search. I agree with most of the comments here. It’s really not Google’s fault. I see on your screen shot that MJ’s death was in position 2. Hardly a failure. I would have found the information above the fold with the those keywords. However, I am not defending Google. They should be better.

    An improvement I would suggest is some sort of human involvement for trends. Michael is right when he says computers can’t read minds. This is an area that very little hands on effort can help these real time search spikes. Google trend advisers could watch the news feeds, trend spikes etc. for things people are searching for right now. They could manually add a temporary PageRank boost. Boosts that would likely expire over time. So in this case, manual searches for Michael Jackson are done. Listings are then “groomed” to give more value to the singer than the writer. Having an internal spider back crawl the links on the approved pages should round out the boost effect. After the boost expires, Michael Jackson, the writer, can get his share of Google space.

  • the thing is that the link says writer.

    so people should either figure out that this was a different Michael Jackson or wonder what book he wrote.

  • Librarian

    Google is right, when searching the web u must be specific. i.e try to find Georg Bush and see how many are there? But u can get the right one if you know to make a good search. “Take it ease google”.

  • niftydrifty

    Loren, your’s is an appeal to popularity. Michael the writer was arguably more important. Freaks should be shunned.

  • Z


  • Alan Bleiweiss

    All the comments in defense of the listing of a Wikipedia page or in defense of Google here are soooo off mark and it shows that the people leaving such comments are lacking a true understanding of the issues.

    The concept of referencing Wikipedia as a top result is just wrong.

    The fact that this happened because more than one person has the name Michael Jackson also confirms this.

    The Wikipedia page on the writer long since dead is NOT an authority page on someone named Michael Jackson. It’s not a comprehensive site devoted to any man by that name. It’s not an official Michael Jackson optimized site at all. It’s just one page. A rather spammy page at that when you analyze the depth of content.

    The only reason this came up in the Google system is because of Google’s flawed algorithm.

    Wikipedia is a huge site with over 31 million pages and over 60,000 inbound links to the site. That combination is the primary criteria that allows Google to consider it an “authority” site. And that’s crap thinking at its finest because it has no capacity for determining true QUALITY or ACCURACY.

    Not long ago it was also discovered that Google has been including Wikipedia pages in it’s News system, not just in general results. That’s crazy. Kind of like the engineers there may even be on Crack. Oh. Wait. Where have I heard that before?

  • Michael Jackson is our 2nd chef, he’s bad, he burns pots

  • john

    the person who wrote this artice is the dumbest form of life ever dumbass!

  • john

    sorry to swaer but that is the writer michael jackson not the singer it clearly says writer under the url website and everyone here should know that michael jackson is not 65

  • alex

    omg people make mastakes!

  • Google is not God

  • ” Michael Jackson’s Death Sends Search Engine Traffic Through the Roof ” – –

    Then wouldn’t it make sense to start a Michael Jackson Search Engine as a tribute to the Man, His Music and more ?

    So that’s what I did.

    Your thoughts, please.

    David Keller
    Akron, OH

  • hey that is all worng goolge hahhahahahahaha it is