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Bush administration hands off 'failure' Google bombs to Obama

January 23, 2009 | 12:13 pm

Obamafailuregoogle

As if a couple of wars, a looming depression and a White House full of Stone Age computer equipment hadn't done the job, the outgoing Bush administration handed over a pair of Google bombs to Barack Obama.

As Search Engine Land points out, a search for "failure" on Google delivers "President Barack Obama" as the top result, linking to the WhiteHouse.gov biography page. And if you search Yahoo for "miserable failure," Obama's bio page comes in No. 2. Just behind George W. Bush's. 

This is more amusing than it is significant, of course. The Google bombs wired to the White House website have been in place for years, and all that really changed were the names attached to the site. Plus, bombing is sort of an old-school prank now -- no self-respecting Web 2.0 trickster would bother with such mid-decade-era shenanigans.

It will be interesting to see if the team of new-media gurus Obama assembled to help get him elected can figure out -- as the Bush team never could or cared to -- how to defuse these Google bombs once and for all.

Updated, 1:33 p.m.: Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land writes in to clarify:  "It's not really the names that were changed. The new media gurus pointed (and still point) people looking for Bush's biography to the wrong page (at Obama, instead). If they'd just point at the right place, those trying to get Bush's biography would actually find it -- and they'd have stopped the bomb from impacting Obama, as well."

Indeed, search for George W. Bush on Google, and you get a page that points to Obama. That's the erroneous linkage that's behind the Google bomb hand-me-down. So it looks as if the new media gurus we're talking about are actively responsible for the Obama-failure linkage, and that we may have bestowed the vaunted title on them a mite prematurely.

-- David Sarno

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