Google Takes Action Against Googlebombs

Dennis Faas's picture

Pranskers beware. Google has made what it says is a "pretty small" change to the way it indexes websites for its search results in an attempt to prevent 'Googlebombing.' (Source:

Googlebombing (also known as linkbombing) is a prank where many people link the same keyword to a specific website in order for that website to appear at the top of search results. For example, a search for "miserable failure" would return a website on George W. Bush. (Source:

Although there are less than 100 well-known googlebombs, Google has decided to remove these bombs using an algorithm rather than removing them by hand. (Source:

Google's decision to address googlebombs may come as a surprise. Googlebombs are certainly not a new phenomenon; in fact, in 2005 Google had released a statement dismissing the prank.

"We don't condone the practice of googlebombing, or any other action that seeks to affect the integrity of our search results, but we're also reluctant to alter our results by hand in order to prevent such items from showing up," said Marissa Mayer, director of consumer Web products in September of 2005. "Pranks like this may be distracting to some, but they don't affect the overall quality of our search service, whose objectivity, as always, remains the core of our mission." (Source:

On Thursday, however, Google took the opposite stance. A post by Matt Cutts on the official Google blog explained the company's change of heart. "Over time, we've seen more people assume that they are Google's opinion, or that Google has hand-coded the results for these Googlebombed queries," the blog reads. "That's not true, and it seemed like it was worth trying to correct that misperception." (Source:

Google's decision to remove googlebombs may spell relief for the list of public figures who have been mocked by the prank. Jimmy Carter, Michael Moore, Tony Blair, Rick Santorum, and John Kerry are a few of the people who join George W. Bush as victims of googlebombs. However, the prank does not only affect Google's search engine, so others like Yahoo and Ask still produce the bombed results. (Source:

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