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2/29/2008
03:41 PM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
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Laying Waste To Your Enemies With Google Bombs

Wired has a How-To Wiki on its site that often has great little blurbs on how to get things done. Today's How-To idea? How to embarrass, frustrate, or annoy your enemies by sending them Google bombs. Is this valuable knowledge to share? Is bombing people on the Internet something mature professionals do? Or is it

Wired has a How-To Wiki on its site that often has great little blurbs on how to get things done. Today's How-To idea? How to embarrass, frustrate, or annoy your enemies by sending them Google bombs. Is this valuable knowledge to share? Is bombing people on the Internet something mature professionals do? Or is it for jerks?Information Week blogger Mitch Wagner recently laid out the worst words you can use in Internet discussions. Using them proves that you're a jerk. Another way to prove you're a jerk is to set up Google Bombs for your "enemies". (Who has "enemies" any more?) Sure, the Internet is an interesting place, and can certainly get peoples' tempers going. I am sure people in chat rooms or discussion boards who stand on opposing sides of some polarizing issue have become "enemies." What better way to get back at someone then by sending them a Google Bomb.

Perhaps the most famous example of a Google bomb is one that was pulled off several years ago. If you typed in a search for "failure" the top result was one for President George W. Bush. A funny trick, but how did the culprits pull it off?

Wired's look at Google Bombs is summarized nicely in these two paragraphs:

The heart of the system is Google's PageRank algorithm, as well as equivalent competing technologies. The PageRank system assigns a numeric score of 0-10 for each page on the Web. Google derives a page's ranking from the PageRank scores of all other pages that link to it.

The key to Google bombing is to generate outgoing links to your target from highly-ranked sites. Get enough highly-ranked sites pointing to your target using the same phrase, and you'll push the target site to the top of the list of search results one sees when entering that mischievous phrase.

Wired goes on to provide in-depth directions on exactly how to achieve these results.

So, if you want to pull a fast one on your "enemies", you now have one way to go about doing it. One thing struck me as I read the How-To directions in the Wiki. You need a lot of people to pull off a Google Bomb. Sending one could make sense for certain people or organizations who want to send a message to another person or organization just to make a point. But the fact remains that you need to convince a number of people that the bomb is a good idea. College fraternities come to mind. Political activists come to mind. Some sort of common mindset or belief is needed.

Are your everyday rank-and-file employees going to set up a Google bomb? Seems a stretch to me. And besides, do they (we) actually have the time to waste on such nefarious activities?

(Before you get Google Bomb started to take me out, Google has taken steps to prevent them.)

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