"Google Bombing" Gets Political

By Natali Del Conte  |  Posted 11-02-2006 Print Email
Political pundits and activists are hard at work bombing the names of politicians and propositions that they don't like in order to manipulate Google searches.

Afraid your political party won't win next week's elections? Well then get on Google and bomb the heck out of the opposition.

That is the tactic of certain pundits and activists who are hard at work "Google bombing" the names for the opposing major party candidates. The bombing is happening from both sides, but it was started by Democratic blogger Chris Bowers.

A Google bomb thankfully has little to do with the kind of bombs that are dropped in Iraq. It is an attempt to influence the ranking of a Google search. Google's algorithms rank a page higher if the sites that link to that page use consistent anchor text, or visible text in a hyperlink. If a large number of sites link to a page in this way, then the page has been Google bombed. The result is that a Google search of a politician or a proposition will return unfavorable or more favorable information in the first few results, depending on the bombers' preference.

With elections just a few days away, Bowers was too busy bombing to do an interview with PC Magazine but he did post a comment for the media on his blog.

"I am running multiple campaigns at the end of this cycle, with absolutely no help outside of volunteers from the progressive netroots," writes Bowers. "Not only does this mean that my actions are my own, it also means that I do not have a lot of extra time to field interviews every hour. It is more important for me to see these campaigns succeed, and for Democrats to retake Congress, than it is for me to receive press on my efforts."

Bowers writes that he dose not trust the press reporting of this tactic and says that he believes his work is a more reliable way of getting attention.

"At a time when what conservative pundits think about Michael J. Fox has somehow become campaign 'news,' quite frankly I believe that what I am doing is more substantive and fact-based than much of the reporting we have recently seen on the campaign trail," Bower wrote. "I am also highly suspicious that I am receiving so many media requests because many might want to use my very small campaign as a way to paint progressives and Democrats as a whole in a negative light."



 

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