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Sunday, October 10, 2004

SEMPO: Can't Get No Respect

Search engines are good for a lot of things. One of them is protest. In a free society, search results support healthy diversity of opinion. Of course the odd "Google bomb" is also fun for a lark.

This activist site against Coca-Cola comes up sixth when you type "coke" into Teoma, for example. Google also ranks it sixth. The top five listings are all Coke's, so the anti-coke site is just barely above the fold.

Not unexpectedly, searches for "bush" and "kerry" turn up similar ferment. After the expected official Bush sites, the first page of "bush" results is littered with protest and parody, including "Billionaires for Bush." At votetoimpeach.org, it appears some basic lessons in optimizing for search engines may be in order. The page's title appears to be "your browser does not support frames."

Kerry's getting an easier ride, algorithmically speaking. The gentle johnkerryisadouchebagbutimvotingforhimanyway.com is one of the most innovative uses of the new longer domains that I've seen. I'm sure kerrymayberichbutlookhowkeywordrichthisdomainnameis.com is not far behind.

Two anti-Kerry sites come up on the first page of results: vietnamveteransagainstjohnkerry.com and a page from the National Review site providing running commentary on the TV debates. A small proportion of the mostly partisan commentary is critical of Bush, though. For example, the writer is embarrassed that Bush cited "rumors on the Internets." ["(sigh) Internet. Singular, Mr. President."]

Some related AdWords listings are getting in on it, too. At us-election.org, the world is encouraged to vote in the US Election, just to see how it would turn out if anyone around the globe were allowed to vote. It's worth noting that you aren't limited to the Republican and Democratic Nominees. Why not burn a vote on the nominee from the Prohibition Party, Gene Amondson?

Anyway, onto more mundane matters.

A parody site called SEMPO-Tahoe has risen all the way to #2 on a Google search for "SEMPO." A PRWeb press release touting the would-be search engine marketing industry advocacy organization's accomplishments has sunk to seventh place.

In a terribly earnest age, it's gotta be comforting to Gen-X'ers that irony is making a comeback. It's like rock-paper-scissors. Ironic beats earnest; cute beats ironic. Women tell me this is why Jon Stewart is cleaning up in the ratings.

And on that note we wish all the best to Ms. Smudge and Mr. Finster, who are heading up SEMPO-Tahoe's Asia-Pacific Committee.

Posted by Andrew Goodman




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