Ah, the Google Bomb, created in 1999 and rearing its ugly head every so often. The very first Google Bomb was created to voice serious displeasure with Microsoft. The search term “more evil than Satan himself” did in fact return the Microsoft home page as the first result on Google. Next, in 2000, came the incredibly tasteless (but slightly funny) “dumb motherf#@$ers” search term, which yielded a George W. Bush website.
There are a surprising number of Google Bombs (aka googlewashing or spamdexing) over the past 13 years. Oftentimes they can be funny, which is typically the goal, as humor sites are the usual suspects for kicking these things off. Even though they can be funny however, these tactics are also most often used to attack and defame prominent companies, celebrities and political figures.
The most recent Google Bomb, currently in full-swing, is against now-former ESPN sportscaster Craig James. Eventually it will come out who started this particular gem, but sites like the sports humor and news forum Every Day Should Be Saturday have done a rather effective job fueling the effort.
For me, it’s fascinating to watch how something like the current “Craig James killed five hookers” farce can take shape. This particular allegation is completely false by the way, in case you were confused. It was started by a site like Every Day Should Be Saturday and began spreading throughout message boards at a viral pace early December. Then, when Craig James announced his run for Kay Bailey Hutchinson’s seat in the US Senate, the dead hooker meme escalated to Google Bomb status.
Historically, effective political googlewashing targets the conservative party, which then leads to questions of demographics. What is the typical age of a Google Bomb participant? Can we assume they have a liberal stance or are they simply participating in a current trend, not thinking about the political implications their actions entail?
Of course, the Craig James meme was not originally fueled by politics but past circumstances with Mike Leach, SMU and ESPN. Now that he is running for the Senate however, it will be interesting to see how his history in the sports world and his current political run will intertwine. So far the response in social media realms has been largely negative for Craig, but who knows what will happen next week? That is the beauty of social media. Any situation can be turned around if handled correctly.
*Please note that I am not interested in participating in the Craig James meme, nor will I allow my blog or site to be used for black hat tactics of any kind. I reserve the sole right to approve or disapprove any comments. This space is meant to talk about social media as a practice, and that is all. Thanks!