Bombs Away!

Do this. Click here to open the Google search engine in a new window. Now, type "miserable failure" into the search field, and click on the "I'm feeling lucky" button. What should have come up is the White House's official page on George W. Bush, the current President of the United States of America. Congratulations, you've just experienced "Google bombing", one of today's fastest growing and most popular forms of internet culture-jamming. Some readers may be familiar with the practice of using Google for a bit of a joke, having seen the "French military victories" example that was quite predominant a year or two ago.

George W. Bush
George W. Bush

Essentially, Google bombing works by taking advantage of Google's unique search algorithms, which rank sites based on how many other websites link to them. This means that large groups of like-minded people, each with their own webpage, can come together to create a Google bomb. These people, usually web loggers (or bloggers), simply insert a link to the desired site into their own webpage, and name the link the phrase they wish to associate their target webpage with.

For example, we here at the GoodGearGuide could create a plethora of bogus webpages, and on each of them, create links named "Best camera reviews", or "Cheap LCD televisions", and link them to our website. Nobody would ever see these webpages we created, but Google's web crawlers would still check them, and pretty soon would associate the words "Best camera reviews" or "Cheap LCD televisions" with our webpage, displaying it prominently whenever a user searched for the terms above in Google. Of course, we would never be so unscrupulous as to do such a thing, but we did find it interesting to note how powerful this technique can be.

Google has generally dismissed Google bombing, identifying it as a fad, and an unavoidable aspect of the internet itself. They have, however, recently implemented measures to prevent negative Google bombing, like the George W. Bush example above. In the end, here at the GoodGearGuide, we love Google (and it goes beyond an affinity for the letter G), and are quite remiss to see such a powerful tool used irresponsibly.

PS - Best Camera Reviews and Cheap LCD Televisions!

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