In 1998, two graduate students at Stanford University, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, developed "Backrub", a search engine that relied on a mathematical algorithm to rate the prominence of web pages. The number calculated by the algorithm, PageRank, is a function of the quantity and strength of inbound links. PageRank estimates the likelihood that a given page will be reached by a web user who randomly surfs the web, and follows links from one page to another. In effect, this means that some links are stronger than others, as a higher PageRank page is more likely to be reached by the random web surfer.
It might be awkward, but please don't scroll past this. This Monday we humbly ask you to defend Wikipedia's independence. Our 2019 fundraiser will be over very soon. 98% of our readers don't give; they look the other way. If you are an exceptional reader who already donated, we sincerely thank you. If all our readers donated just $2.75 today, Wikipedia could keep thriving for years. Most people donate for a simple reason—because Wikipedia is useful. If Wikipedia gave you $2.75 worth of knowledge this year, take a minute to secure its future with a gift to the Wikimedia Endowment. Show the volunteers who bring you reliable, neutral information that their work matters. Thank you.