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In order to get a list of the top pornstars, we used different sources of data. The first one is Google Trends website which gives a nice view and list of popular pornstars. More precisely, Google Trends is a public web tool based on Google Custom Search. It shows how often a particular search-term is entered relative to the total search-volume across various regions of the world, and in various languages. Popularity is then broken down by countries, regions, cities and language. It is also possible to refine the data by time period. Another great tool that we used is Google Adwords which lets you see the number of queries and other useful data. At last but not least, we selected the AVN nominees of the past few years.
Once you have an exhaustive list of pornstars, you need to get some information about them. Luckily, numerous actresses have an official Wikipedia page where we could retrieve what we needed. If we couldn't find anything in the free encyclopedia, we would try to get information through third party websites and pornographic actress official websites.
That's the tricky part. Before, we could use google to look the number of queries entered for a particular search-term. But this was before. Now, it is still possible to look for the number of search results, websites for a particular search-term but Google (and also Bing) limits the number of queries you can do (100 per day, and if you want to do more, it is 5 usd/1000 queries). Obviously, we managed to assess the popularity by incrementing our updates with the 100 searches per day we were given and by manually searching google to obtain the number of search results for each pornstar.
In 2016, we are able to update the data every month (incremential update).
Update Currently, we're trying to find the good matching expression to get better results regarding Google. We'll try to refine our rankings as quickly as possible.