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by Mike Zazaian October 26, 2006 - 12:38pm, 2 Comments

 Liberal Bloggers Stack Anti-Republican Search Results

As the Gubernatorial elections approach Democrats have taken advantage of Google’s search algorithm in order to bring anti-Republican results to the top.

In a campaign conceived by Chris Bowers, a contributor at MyDD.com (Direct Democracy), liberal bloggers have begun to flood the blogosphere with articles that will shed a negative light on Republican candidates. The goal of the effort is not only to get those articles read, but to force them to the top of Google search results by cross-linking specific articles multiple times. When users search for candidates’ names, the Google search algorithm identifies the cross-linked articles as more important, thereby ranking them more highly in a given search.

A Google search for Arizona Senatorial Republican candidate John Kyl, for example, puts a link to an April 13th Phoenix New Times article high among the search results. [Kyl] has spent his time in Washington kowtowing to the Bush administration and the radical right, suggests the article, very often to the detriment of Arizonans.

The effort initially targeted 70 Republican candidates, but was scaled back 50 because some of the articles being used were thought to be too partisan. Bowers and his colleagues have been careful to cite sources in well-known, locally-trusted publications in order to produce the best possible results. Said Bowers:

[The articles] had to come from news sources that would be widely trusted in the given district. We wanted actual news reports so it would be clear that we weren’t making anything up.

Officials at Google are aware that such practices, dubbed Google bombing occur on their search engine. Google maintains that a hands-off approach is best, however, suggesting that which is most widely discussed is most relevant to users. Said Ricardo Reyes, a Google spokesman:

We don’t condone the practice of Google bombing, or any other action that seeks to affect the integrity of our search results. A site’s ranking in Google’s search results is automatically determined by computer algorithms using thousands of factors to calculate a page’s relevance to a given query.

Via The New York Times
Read the Phoenix New Times article