October 26, 2006

Political Googlebombing [9:34 am]

Another domain for gaming search: A New Campaign Tactic: Manipulating Google Data

Fifty or so other Republican candidates have also been made targets in a sophisticated “Google bombing” campaign intended to game the search engine’s ranking algorithms. By flooding the Web with references to the candidates and repeatedly cross-linking to specific articles and sites on the Web, it is possible to take advantage of Google’s formula and force those articles to the top of the list of search results.

[...] An accompanying part of the project is intended to buy up Google Adwords, so that searches for the candidates’ names will bring up advertisements that point to the articles as well. But Mr. Bowers said his hopes for this were fading, because he was very busy.

The ability to manipulate the search engine’s results has been demonstrated in the past. Searching for “miserable failure,” for example, produces the official Web site of President Bush.

But it is far from clear whether this particular campaign will be successful. Much depends on the extent of political discussion already tied to a particular candidate’s name.

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