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the human network

I've just been reading articles on the human network blog by Mark Pesce. all have been interesting, particularly the Unevenly Distributed : Production Models for the 21st Century where he talks about the death of television and film industries in their current distribution method. also mentioned were the examples of Ronda Byrne's online / streaming version of The Secret and the success it has brought her.

google bombing - playing the search engine game

today it's time for the Americans to vote, and I hope they turn out to the polls in droves, if not for themselves but for the other countries who are affected by decisions made in US politics.

as it's that time of year, there's been a few articles floating round the maillists. one which caught my eye was on google bombing, or link bombing as it's also known. the article in the New York Times called Gaming the Search Engine, in a Political Season describes google bombing as :

[quote]
"A GOOGLE bomb — which some Web gurus have suggested is perhaps better called a link bomb, in that it affects most search engines — has typically been thought of as something between a prank and a form of protest. The idea is to select a certain search term or phrase ("borrowed time," for example), and then try to force a certain Web site (say, the Pentagon's official Donald H. Rumsfeld profile) to appear at or near the top of a search engine's results whenever that term is queried."
[/quote]

The article goes on to mention that google bombs have been compared to Greenpeace's founder Bob Hunter's "media mindbombs" by Clifford Tatum, in a paper published in the online journal First Monday (www.firstmonday.org/issues/issue10_10/).

I guess time will tell if these techniques are effective - from what the article says they're definitely changing the search engine results. But I suspect the key to the campaign is finding the best search phrase to use. Personally I don't think I'd search google for "borrowed time" - I can imagine this being used in a viral email though like the ones in the past where people say type this phrase and hit I feel lucky into google. Perhaps this is a case of preaching to the converted though which is often the problem with activist and social protest issues.

Let's just hope the spammers don't get onto it as well. Hopefully there are algorithms to prevent this in the search engines, though I wouldn't be surprised if this were one of the SEO tools for spam sites!

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