April 21, 2004

Legitimate Google-bombing?

So, I just got out of the concurrent session entitled, "Gatekeepers of the Web: The Hidden Power of Search Engine Technology" here at CFP 2004. One thing that was mentioned quite a bit was the process of "Google-bombing". (or "search-engine spamming" in a world where search services are competitive)

One question I would have liked to ask is, "Is their such thing as legitimate google-bombing?" That is, what if I know a page exists, and that it should be the first (or close to first) entry in the search results for a query?

For example, there is a great band from Olympia, Washington called Veronica Lipgloss and the Evil Eyes. If you do a Google search for this phrase (with or without quotes) like the following:

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=%22veronica+lipgloss+and+the+evil+eyes%22

this band's official web site does not appear in the first page of search results (didn't check other pages).

So, how does someone go about correcting this? Well, I introduce legitimate google-bombing:

Veronica Lipgloss and the Evil Eyes
Veronica Lipgloss and the Evil Eyes
Veronica Lipgloss and the Evil Eyes
Veronica Lipgloss and the Evil Eyes
Veronica Lipgloss and the Evil Eyes

And yes, I've already attempted to add this site to the Google crawl.
UPDATE (2004-04-21 16:38:47): As Josh pointed out in the comments to my blog, there is the possibility of google-bombing wars!
On the topic of socially-engineered Google bombing: you may have heard about the recent controversy about searching Google on the word "Jew" -- until recently, the first result was an anti-semitic site. (See Anti-Defamation League explanation.)

I first found out about this when a friend emailed me about adding my name to an online petition to try to force Google into removing the link (a solution I wasn't thrilled about). But then soon afterwards a different friend contacted me about a google-bombing campaign to raise the ranking of the 2nd and 3rd hits, thus pushing the anti-semitic site down... Within about two days, the offending site was pushed down to #2.

Also interestingly enough, Google put a apology/explanation on the results page for that query.

Posted by joehall at April 21, 2004 02:50 PM | TrackBack
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