Using Google as a Political Tool

National Journal’s Heather Greenfield has put together an excellent article looking at Google’s use as a political tool, which Danny Glover reprinted yesterday in Beltway Blogroll. MyDD’s 2006 political Google bombing attempt got some coverage back in the Fall, but Heather goes into a lot of detail about how influencing Google search results works and the pluses and minuses of trying. Signficantly, she spends more time on targeted Google ads, though, which are likely to be much more useful as a promotional tool down the road.

For example, besides tossing Google bombs, the guys at MyDD also bought ads on the search engine targeted at politically relevant key terms (example: placing an ad that reads “Learn about George Allen. Did George Allen use racial slurs?” on results pages seen by people looking for information about the candidate). MyDD’s Chris Bowers claims a ridiculously good return rate, obviously from reader forwards, since the search ads seem to have yielded 14 page views per penny spent (if true, damned impressive).

If Heather’s piece has only whetted your appetite for search-related information, try this Tech President article on Wikipedia’s expansive influence in candidate search results — think the campaigns are excited to find that a citizen encyclopedia often rates higher than their own official sites?


Written by
Colin Delany
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