What Abraham Lincoln Would’ve Said About Ranker Comics If He Were Still Alive (And, You Know, a Comics Fan)

by Ranky (said in the voice of Abraham Lincoln)

Four score and seven days ago, our Ranker fathers brought forth on this continent Ranker Comics, a new and mighty crowdsourced opinion subsite on the entire comic book universe, conceived in fandom, and dedicated to the ludicrous proposition that all opinions on Batman are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war between DC Comics and Marvel, testing whether that Ranker Comics nation, or any Ranker.com subsite so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war: our parents basements. We have come to dedicate a portion of the Ranker site as a final resting place for all 17 fans of Aquaman who here gave their opinions, so that Ranker Comics might live to finally find out who would win in a fight between The Hulk and Superman. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this, considering that Ranker.com has 17 million uniques and 6 million votes per month.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground without the explicit authorization of Mom (it’s her house). The brave Cheetos, Queso and Flaming Hot, who were eaten here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract the 317 irritating times Jean Grey died. The world will little note, nor long remember what other comic book websites say, but it will never forget what Ranker Comics did here.

It is for us the stay at home fans, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work of deciding which superhero had the most “emo moment,” a critical issue which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us fans to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us (besides moving out): that from these honored geek battles we take increased devotion to the DC v. Marvel debates for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these Ranker Comics voters shall not have voted in vain—that this Ranker Comics nation, under The Living Room, shall have a new birth of fandom—and that comic book opinions of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 4.11.01 PM

Why Ranker Data is Better than Facebook’s and Twitter’s

 By Clark Benson (CEO, Ranker)

It’s unlikely that anyone would pour freezing water over their head for it, (although if this happens, someone please let me know) but the marketing world is experiencing its own Peak Oil Crisis.

We don’t have enough data. Yes. You read that correctly. Well, at least not enough good data.

Click over to any marketing blog and you’ll read the same story: the world is awash in golden insights, companies are able to “know” their customers in real time, and businesses can form more accurate predictions about their own market … and so on.

Here’s what you won’t read: it’s really, really hard. And it’s getting harder, for the simple reason that we are all positively drenched in potentially bad data. Noisy, incomplete, out of context, approximate, downright misleading data. “Big Data” = (Mostly) Bad Data as it tends to draw explicit conclusions from implicit and noisy sources like social media or web visits. And as you probably know, bad data is even worse than no data at all.

Traditional market research methods, like surveys, are getting less reliable due to dropping response rates, especially among young, tech-savvy consumers. To counteract this trend, marketing research firms have hired hundreds of PhDs to refine the math in their models and try to build a better picture of the zeitgeist, leveraging social media and implicit opinions shared online. This has proven to be a dangerous proposition, as modeling and research firms have fallen prey to statistics’ number one cautionary rule: garbage in, garbage out.

No amount of genius mathematical skills can fix Bad Data. Simple statistical models on well-measured data will trump extensive algorithms on poorly measured data every single time. Sophisticated statistical models might help in political polling, where people are far more predictable based on party and demographics, but they won’t do anything to help traditional marketing research, where people’s tastes and positions are less entrenched and evolve more rapidly.

Parsing the exact sentiment behind a “like,” a follow or a natural language tweet is extremely difficult, as analysts often lack control over the sample population they are covering, as well as any context about why the action occurred, and what behavior or opinion triggered it. Since there is no negative sentiment to use as control, there is no ability to unconfound good with popular. Natural language processing algorithms can’t sort out sarcasm, which reigns supreme on social media (as anyone who follows or “likes” Kanye West just to see what crazy thing he will say next can attest), and even the best algorithms can’t reliably categorize the sentiment of more than 50% of Twitter’s volume of posts. Others have pointed out the issues with developing a more than razor-thin understanding of consumer mindsets and preferences based on social media data. What does a Facebook “like” mean, exactly? If you “like” Coca-Cola on Facebook, does it mean that you like the product or the company? And does it necessarily mean you don’t like Pepsi? And what is a “like” worth? Nobody knows for sure.

This is where we come in. We at Ranker have developed a very good answer to this issue: the “opinion graph,” which is a more precise version of the “interest graph” that advertisers are currently using.

Ranker is a popular website (Quantcast Top 200, 18 million unique visitors and 300 million pageviews per month) that crowdsources answers to questions, using the popular list format. Visitors to Ranker can view, rank and vote on items on around 400,000 lists. Unlike more ambiguous data points based on likes or tweets, Ranker solicits precise and explicit opinions from users about questions like the most annoying celebrities, the best guilty pleasure movies, the most memorable ad slogansthe top dream colleges, or the best men’s watch brands.

It’s very simple: instead of the vaguely positive act of “liking” a popular actor on Facebook, Ranker visitors cast 8 million votes every month and thus directly express whether they think someone is “hot,” “cool,” one of the “best actors of all-time,” or just one of the “best action stars.” Not only that, Ranker users also vote on other lists of items seemingly unrelated to their initial interest: the best cars, imported beers, greatest TV hosts, etc. Correlations between these items start to paint the three-dimensional picture expressed in our opinion graph.

Ranker has been building the world’s largest opinion graph since 2008. It currently has 50,000 nodes (topics) and 20 million edges (statistically significant connections between 2 items). Thanks to our massive sample and our rich database of correlations, we can tell you that people who like Modern Family are 5x more likely to dine at Chipotle than non-fans, or people who like the Nissan 370Z also like oddball comedy movies such as Napoleon Dynamite and The Big Lebowski, and TV shows such as Dexter and Weeds.

Our exclusive Ranker FanScope about the show Mad Men lays out this capability in more detail below:

Mad Men Data

How good is our data? Pretty good. Like “we predicted the outcome of the World Cup better than Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight and Betfair” good.

Our opinion data is also much more precise than Facebook’s. We not only know that someone who likes Coke is very likely to rank Jaws as one of his/her top movies of all time, but we’re able to differentiate between those who like to drink Coke, and those who admire Coca-Cola as a company:

jaws chart

We’re also able to differentiate between people who always like Pepsi better than Coke overall, and those who like to drink Coke, but just at the movie theater:

  • 47% of Pepsi fans on Ranker vote for (vs. against) Coke on Best Sodas of All Time
  • 65% of Pepsi fans on Ranker vote for (vs. against) Coke on Best Movie Snacks

That’s the kind of specific relationship you can’t get using Facebook data or Twitter messages.

By collecting millions of discrete opinions each month on thousands of diverse topics, Ranker is the only company able to combine Internet-level scale (hundreds of thousands surveyed on millions of opinions each month) with market research-level precision (e.g. adjective specific opinions about specific objects in a specific context).

We can poll questions that would be too specific (e.g. most memorable slogans) or not lucrative enough (most annoying celebrities) for other pollsters. And we use the same types of mathematical models to address sampling challenges that all pollsters (Internet or not Internet based) currently have, working with some of the world’s leading academics who study crowdsourcing, such as our Chief Data Scientist Ravi Iyer, and UC Irvine Cognitive Sciences professor Michael Lee.

While our data insights may not inspire the masses to drench themselves in ice water, if you’re a marketer or an advertiser we predict it’s likely you will want to pay close attention.

Happy Inanimate Objects, Dramatic Animals + Reasons Why Some People Are the Worst

Here’s a taste of our editors’ favorite lists on Ranker this month!

60+ Everyday Objects That Look Really Happy

What could be nicer than finding a smiley face at the bottom of your coffee mug? How about living in a house that looks super excited to see you every time you come home? This is a simple gallery of pics of everyday things that look like they are happy.

Essential Products For a Gamer Survival Kit

No matter what, gamers gonna game! But for a gamer to play at peak performance levels, there are certain survival essentials for quests, campaigns, and candy crushes. Behold: everything you need to survive an intense gaming sesh.

The Worst Qualities in a Person

Let’s face it: not everyone is perfect. Even the most charming people are guilty of at least a few negative personality traits. But which ones are the worst?

 

Being a Student Is . . .

Being a student isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Sure, there are the parties, the booze, the moving away from home and living without your parents – but there’s also a whole lot of stress, worry, studying, and exams.

The 36 Most Dramatic Animals on the Internet

Drama isn’t just a human thing. As this list of GIFs proves, the animal kingdom is full of feisty creatures who have a flair for the dramatic.

 

Pretentious Words You Secretly Don’t Know How to Pronounce

What are some of the most overused, mispronounced words people use to try to sound smarter?

 

The Internet Remembers Robin Williams

And finally, we lost a beloved comedy legend this month. Robin Williams was the face, voice, and talent of a lot of our childhoods and many people took to social media to share touching memories of him. We’ve rounded up the best tributes and would like to invite fans to vote on their favorite Robin Williams movies. R.I.P. Genie.

That’s it! Stay in touch and we hope you’re having a great month!

Selfies at Funerals, Genius Shower Thoughts + Inadvertently Hilarious Kids

We’ve been having a blast reading about all of the ridiculous and thought provoking things you’ve been ranking this summer. Some of these are too good not to share. Check ‘em out!

49 Stellar Cosplay Costumes From This Year’s Comic Con

Comic Con was awesome this year! The best costumes we saw showcased some serious attention to detail (and blatant disregard for heat and comfort). Check ‘em out and rank accordingly!

50 Incredible Pictures That Just Might Teach You Something

This photo gallery includes pictures of natural phenomena, manmade things, the goings-on inside our own bodies, and tons of other cool sh*t that might even teach you a thing or two. The universe is pretty amazing. Let’s look at it together!

50+ Signs That Will Definitely Make You Giggle

These funny signs range from the whimsical, to the witty, to the downright stupid. In an age where image is everything, you would think people would be more careful with their signage.

34 Things Every Man Should Know. Seriously, Take Notes.

Dudes. Guys. MEN. When it comes to the male gender, there are certain things all guys simply must know.

 

Kids Who Answered Wrong, But Deserve An “A” For Effort

Kids these days, can’t live with ‘em, can’t teach ‘em anything because the Internet shows them that they can be a smartass instead of submitting real quiz answers.

This is Real: Selfies at Funerals Are Officially a Thing

Of all the occasions to commemorate with a selfie, it would seem funerals aren’t exactly the most appropriate. But these selfie lovers don’t seem to mind. In many occasions, their dearly departed is even in the photo with them!

The Greatest Shower Thoughts Ever Thought

We (most of us) bathe in quiet solitude, with neither friends nor social media to entertain us lest we get our devices wet and ruin them. Amidst all that lathering and rinsing, the mind wanders, and for the duration of each shower, anything is possible.

Yesterday’s Technology With Today’s Prices

Ever wonder how much it would cost to buy a Gameboy if it was released today? Or what people were paying for the privilege of having a cell phone when they first came out? This may stop you from complaining for a while.

Ridiculously Good Looking Celebs Are Licking Popsicles, It Must Be Summer!

The Best Internet Reactions to Jeremy Meeks’s Sexy Mug Shot

Sexy mugshot photos reached a new high with the booking of the ridiculously hot felon Jeremy Meeks. If you somehow missed this gem of a story last week, you need to check these out.

Who Will Win The 2014 World Cup?

It’s official: the Ranker office has World Cup fever. And so do all of you apparently! Thousands have voted on who they think will win. You may be surprised at who’s currently on top.

 

24 Crazy Sexy Photos of Celebrities Eating Popsicles

It’s finally summer! When it’s hot, here’s the best possible way to cool off: with pictures of ridiculously great looking celebrities sucking down on cold, delicious, refreshing popsicles.

What Guys REALLY Talk About On Boys’ Night Out

Hint: it’s sex. Also, sex.

 

73 Rare Photos From Behind the Scenes of Star Wars

These leaked photos capture images of Yoda before he was finished, the building of the actual, on-set Millennium Falcon and, of course, the entire cast flirting with Princess Leia.

11 Wedding Themes That Are Just a Bad Idea

You’d assume that if someone is that big of a Game of Thrones fan, they’d know what happens at weddings, right?

 

The 47 Greatest Pun-tastic Restaurant Names

It doesn’t make any sense, but food that comes from restaurants with funny names always tastes better. Pulled pork sandwich from KFC? Gross. Pulled pork sandwich from Forrest Rump? Awesome.

The 26 Craziest 2014 World Cup Hair Cuts

Bonus: here is the single most important World Cup ranking you will see all day.

Men and Women Both Lie—But They Do It For Different Reasons

 

We all tell white lies now and then (yes you do, don’t lie!) but did you know that men and women lie for different reasons? The data from our list of Things People Lie About All the Time shows a pattern that may hint at this difference.

The poll lists 49 common lies and asks respondents to vote “yes” if they’ve lied about that in the past 6 months or “no” if they have not. According to votes cast by over 350 people, women are more likely to lie about things that “keep the peace socially” while men are more likely to lie over matters of “self-preservation.”

 

 

On the list, women are 8 times more likely than men to lie about “being too swamped to hang out” and 4 times more likely to claim that their “phone died.” These results imply that women may be more likely to feel guilty about canceling on friends or having alone time.

 

 

In contrast, men were 2 times more likely to admit to saying things like “Oh yeah! That makes sense!” when they did not understand something and 5 times more likely to say, “No officer, I do not know why you pulled me over,” when, presumably, they did know why. These types of lies could point to men’s desire to show themselves in the best possible light and cover up wrongdoing.

Differences aside, both men and women voted similarly on many items on this list. In fact, the top 3 most popular lies were the same for both men and women.

The Top 3 Lies for BOTH Men and Women Are:

1. I’m Fine

2. I’m 5 Minutes Away

3. Yeah, I’m Listening.

 

 

Which goes to show that men and women may be able to see eye-to-eye after all… just as long as they don’t ask each other how they are doing, where they are and whether or not they are listening.

Hypocritical Politicians, Birthday Fails & HODOR!!

In case you missed these gems, here are some of our favorite lists y’all have been ranking this month. Enjoy!

Introducing: Ranker of Thrones

All Men Must Rank. Visit our ‘Game of Thrones’ hub for interactive GoT content you won’t find anywhere else on the web. Rank the most epic insults in Westeros, listen to original GoT songs, and ponder which cats actually look like characters from the show. Stop by and get your Hodor fix. Hodor!

16 Prominent Anti-Gay Activists Who Were Caught Being Gay

Lots of hypocrites out there, ladies and gentlemen. This week, news broke that Steve Wiles, an anti-gay GOP Senate candidate, used to be an openly-gay drag queen named Miss Mona Sinclair. Thank goodness for the Internet.

40 Hilarious Birthday Fails/Wins

These photos prove that just because it’s your special day, doesn’t mean that you’re safe from your crazy relatives.

 

Simpsons Jokes That Actually Came True in Real Life

We’ve always loved how ‘The Simpsons’ riffs on current events and pop culture, but we never thought that real life would follow in the footsteps of the show. Weird.

The 13 Craziest Deaths Caused by Social Media

Everyone is guilty of doing their fair share of internet sleuthing, stalking, creeping, and… killing? Well, at least these 13 people are. Read about the weird, effed up things people are doing through social media these days.

Baby Animals That Could Melt the Coldest of Hearts (Photos)

Adorable baby animals: everyone loves them. But which type are actually the cutest? Until now, science has had no way to decide… but with your help, we may have the found the answer.

That’s it! Stay in touch, and we hope you’re having a great month!

Game of Thrones: Don’t Get Too Comfortable

[Spoiler Alert: This post contains references to Seasons 1-4, Episode 3 of the show. There are no references to the books. If you're all caught up on the show, then you are safe!]

fans react

Have you recently found yourself unreasonably happy about a certain child’s death? Excited, even, to watch the bile frothing out of his mouth and the blood streaming from the far corners of his eyes? Have you rationalized incest-rape and chalked it up to the pressures of the times? Rejoiced as a small girl murders a man in cold blood? (Something wrong with your leg, boy?)

Don’t get too comfortable.

Now that you’re fully immersed in the world of the Seven Kingdoms, your capacity for moral relativism may surprise you. You may feel like nothing on the show could totally shock or upset you anymore. Now that you’re sort of OK with incest-rape, should you just hang up your hat and quit? Can’t anything feel uncomfortable or shocking anymore?!

Don’t worry: If we’ve learned anything about this series so far, there will be plenty of horrific incidents to come. And according to our data, there is pretty much something on the show to upset every sensibility.

We were looking at our list of The Most Uncomfortable Game of Thrones Moments again (weird, we know — we like to keep the wounds fresh) and noticed an interesting pattern in our data that gives us an insight on what makes certain viewers uncomfortable. So far, over 1,000 people have voted on this list an average of 5 times. There are 18 uncomfortable moments to choose from, and they are ordered from jaw-dropping to ain’t-no-thing. (Vote if you haven’t already. It’s fun!)

As more and more people vote, some interesting correlations have emerged.

TheonFor example, Ranker users who said that they were very uncomfortable when Theon Greyjoy lost his “most prized possession” were far more likely to also feel uncomfortable when Jaime Lannister’s right hand was cut off. Jaime

A particular distaste for bodily harm, it would seem.

 

[In plain English: The majority of people who hated watching that first scene also hated watching the second. Most people who didn't mind the first also didn't mind the second.]

But there’s more. Two main “camps” of voters emerged in our data. We’ll call them “Camp Emotional” and “Camp Physical.

People who voted for one thing that could be considered emotionally distressing – witnessing an incest scene between brother and sister, for example – were highly likely to also vote for other moments that can be associated with emotional distress: Lysa Tully’s disturbing breastfeeding scene and Viserys Targaryan’s willingness to whore out his own sister in exchange for power both come to mind.

Similarly, people who voted on one item in “Camp Physical” were more likely to vote on other physically revolting scenes. Viserys Targaryen getting “crowned,” Khaleesi eating a horse heart, and the execution of Eddard Stark were all positively correlated.

Disgusting GoT Tastes Graph smaller 500

 

The “Game of Thrones” show creators certainly have their bases covered as far as upsetting every sensibility.

Don’t mind a six year-old suckling on the teat of his mother? Maybe your favorite character will be brutally executed. Don’t think the gory stuff is that big of a deal? Maybe a character you thought you trusted will double-cross his sister, have sex with his mother, and steal the crown for himself. This is all just speculation, of course, but we’re just saying: no one is safe. Not even you. 

The Best Secret Menu Items From Any Restaurant (Infographic)



Ranker-Infographic-534--main

The best secret menu items from all restaurants with secret menus compiled into one list of the greatest menu items from any restaurant. These restaurants are collectively responsible for producing some of the best fast food burgers, the best french fries, and some of the fast food items with the biggest cult followings; and that’s just the stuff you know about.

 photo Ranker-Infographic-footer.jpg

Embed Best Secret Menus items from any Restaurants on Your Site: Copy and Paste the Code Below

Can Colbert Bring Young Fans to the Late Show?

Stephen Colbert

In 2015, Stephen Colbert will depart from his home at Comedy Central where he’s amassed a huge cult following and head over to the mainstream late show game, replacing David Letterman. CBS is sure hoping he’ll bring all those young fans too. 

Say Late Show and you may have already lost a younger demographic of TV viewers whose watching habits have never been tethered to a specific time or place. TiVo, you’ll remember, was first introduced in 1999, when today’s demographic of 18-25 year olds were only children, ages 3-10. The idea of watching the same TV program at the same time every night is not something that Millenials do.

And while David Letterman’s show is available to watch online, many young viewers associate the style and tone of the Late Show with their parent’s generation.

Millennials, it turns out, like TV, just not necessarily from networks. And they like it served two ways: as part of a gluttonous binge (aka that time you didn’t go outside for a whole weekend and watched 2 entire seasons of House of Cards) or in tiny, viral pieces (aka short-form videos) that are easy to watch at work and share on social media. Jimmy Fallon, by the way, has been killing it in this second category with his viral comedy sketches. Ratings for NBC’s The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon are up 46% this week compared to the same week last year. 

So, how will Stephen Colbert do with younger viewers? And perhaps more importantly, will be able to hit that sweet-spot of broad appeal that allows him to pick up a large number of new viewers–young and old?

Despite the ire of those who disagree with The Colbert Report’s politics, CBS is definitely addressing this need to compete better for younger viewers. The majority of Ranker users are in the 18-25 age bracket and The Colbert Report ranks higher than the Late Show on almost every list that they are both on, including the Funniest TV shows of 2012 (19 vs. 28), Best TV Shows of All-Time (186 vs. 197), and Best TV Shows of Recent Memory (37 vs. 166).

Furthermore, people who tend to like The Colbert Report also report liking many shows that are currently in the cultural zeitgeist: Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Game of Thrones, and 30 Rock. In contrast, preference for the Late Show is correlated with older shows like The Sopranos and 60 Minutes. Between David Letterman and Stephen Colbert, it looks like it’s Colbert for the win on attracting younger viewers.

There is some overlap between these audiences as fans of both shows like The West Wing and The Daily Show, indicating that Colbert may be able to appeal to current fans as well as new (older) audiences.