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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sad Trombones Play for Rick Santorum

Posted by Dan Savage on Wed, Sep 21, 2011 at 1:59 PM

Wonkette:

Victimiest most victimized ever victim Rick “The President of Victims” Santorum has had a rough time carrying out his life’s mission as an unrepentant homophobic bigot, because his consistent dehumanizing attacks on gay people forced them to start a gay jihad against him (funny how war works, isn’t it, Rick?) that makes filthy results pop up top with any Google search of his name or presidential campaign. Most everyone knows this and finds it amusing and would probably forget about it eventually, except that Rick Santorum keeps bringing it up. Now he is appealing directly to the gods of Google to “fix” this with the helpful suggestion that Google would voluntarily censor legal Internet search results if a crazy liberal politician asked them to. That’ll win ‘em over, Rick!

More fun after the jump.

TPM:

Danny Sullivan is editor of SearchEngineLand, a go-to home for news and information about the world of internet search. He explained Tuesday that Santorum is not actually the victim of a “Googlebomb” in the classic sense, but rather has been bested online by critics led by LGBT activist Dan Savage.

In a classic Googlebombing—which Google did crack down on when it was used to tie searches for “miserable failure” to George W. Bush back during the Republicans administration—pranksters tricked Google’s algorithm into sending (for lack of a better term) the “wrong” results for a search. An example could be you entered “apple” in the Google bar and got back a page about bananas thanks to people purposefully tricking the algorithm. “Google said ‘we don’t like people kind of spraying graffitti all over our results,’” Sullivan said of the Googlebomb. “So they instituted a fix.” Basically, an improved algorithm was rolled out that could combat the Googlebomb practice.

This is not what happened to Santorum, Sullivan explained. Savage literally created a new definition for the word “Santorum” and then made a website explaining it. That explanation has become accepted and — “in some quarters,” Sullivan said — a topic people actually go searching for when they enter santorum into Google.... “At his point there’s nobody who could not argue [Savage’s definition of santorum] is not a definition in a lot of quarters,” Sullivan said. “So for him to say Google could get rid of it would be like him saying, ‘I don’t like the word unicorn and I think that that definition should go away.’”

Salon:

If Rick Santorum wants to fix his "Google problem" he should consider being personally more popular and professionally more influential than the people who are making fun of him. If Joe Biden were as widely hated and as much of a complete failure as a human being and politician as Santorum, he would be similarly unable to cleanse his Google results of negative content. But can I just ask what this means: "If you're a responsible business, you don't let things like that happen in your business that have an impact on the country.” Google is hurting the country by not censoring Rick Santorum's search results? Does Rick Santorum really think he'd be a front-runner if Dan Savage hadn't made his name a funny sex joke?

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