Saturday, May 31, 2008

Timely Tidbit: Do All Guinness Records Make it Into the Book?

Download Day 2008

Yesterday I blogged about Mozilla's attempt to make Firefox 3 the Guinness World Record holder for Most Downloaded Software in 24 hours, and how I'd pledged to support the cause.

Meanwhile, I also asked whether or not every record Guinness accepts gets put into the book. I took a cursory search online but couldn't find an answer.

Well, coincidentally, the Freakonomics blog just recently posted a Q and A with Guinness editor Craig Glenday, which adds a definitive answer to part of my question:

My principle job is to create the world’s best-selling book, and I’m not going to achieve that if I fill the book with boring achievements. As a company, we might still recognize the odd dull accomplishment, but there’s no guarantee I’ll ever print it in the book. Records have to be relevant to as many people as possible. We had a claim for the Longest Wall of Sausages, a traditional creation in, I think, a small village in deepest Hungary. As well as failing to make the grade on so many levels (what’s to stop you entering a Wall of Cheese and a Wall of Bananas, etc. — see previous point) it’s just too specific to one village. And too weird.
I still want to know exactly how they make the editorial decision over which records make it into the book, and which don't. He offers a partial response here:

The main annual records book provides up to 90 percent of our turnover, but we do have other ways of exploiting our database. We have an over-supply of content, as the number of approved claims, plus the number of classic records that our readers demand to see every year exceed the space we have in a single book. But we have ways of ensuring the records are published one way or another.

Interesting! And remember to sign up for the Firefox 3 record attempt!

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