March 31, 2005

Guilt by Blogroll Association, or Google-Abuse

Following up on Google-Newsbombing, where

Juan Cole discussed a "Google Smear" in the News search, the right-wing magazine had a rebuttal. Passing over all the Middle-East politics, which is outside the scope of my own blog, the quality can be inferred from the gem of "Google-Abuse" (emphasis in the original):

Cole clearly regards Raimondo as a legitimate, authoritative source of information, while complaining that his critics rely on dubious sources. We counted 14,400 web pages in which the names Juan Cole and Justin Raimondo appear together.

I can't even figure out where they got the 14,400 number.

But even despite the silliness of deriving much from a count of pages where two name appear together (Google-guilt by association), it's doubly dumb because the count itself will include many, many pages from bloggers who have both names on their individual post blogrolls. As well a duplicate pages, mirrored pages, not to mention the article itself (and now this page!).

Justin Raimondo pointed out that searching his name and "David Horowitz", (the infamous publisher of the right-wing magazine), yield many web pages too.

This inspires me to propose: Celebrity Google-Whack - find a search of just one hit with two quoted celebrity names (the more famous the celebrities, the better the whack).

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in google | on March 31, 2005 12:22 AM (Infothought permalink)
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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This is much harder than it looks, because Google's snapshot of a page may be out of date with the actual page. For instance, the following Google search for two quoted names returns exactly one hit:

The page Google finds is:

However, the name of the Red Sox player used in the search no longer appears in the page, so the search ought to have returned no hits at all rather than the single hit. (I'm trying to avoid invalidating my own discoveries by using the "make a shorter link" gimmick. I wonder if it will work? Maybe I should have used Rot13?)

OTOH, at the "surfwax" page above the following two names are clearly present:

But Google finds no results at all for this unlikely combination.

Posted by: David Carroll at April 5, 2005 12:01 AM

URL's which change content are a bane of the Google-Whack game :-).

The "make a shorter link" gimmick works fine.

Posted by: Seth Finkelstein at April 5, 2005 02:34 AM