Netroots Plan to Spam Google for Democracy

The unscrupulous Chris Bowers has hatched a devious plan to influence the election:

  • Step One: With help form readers at Dailykos and MyDD, I will compile a list of seventy article, one for each targeted race. Every article will focus on a different Republican candidate, and will be written by as generally trusted a news source as possible. It will also present as unflattering a view on the Republican candidate as possible. All of these articles will be placed into a database that I will maintain with the help of willing volunteers.
  • Step Two: Once the database is complete, BlogPac will purchase Google Adwords that will place each negative article on the most common searches for each Republican candidate. Simultaneously, I will produce an article on MyDD that embeds that negative article into a hyperlink that names the Republican candidate. I will then send a copy of that post out to as many bloggers as possible, who can also place the post on their blogs. One posting of this article will be enough.
  • Step Three: All further discussion of the Republican candidates in question on all participating blogs should include an embedded hyperlink that will increase the Google search rank of the article on the given candidate.
  • Step Four: Sharks with lay-zers on their foreheads.
  • Step Five
  • : Take over world.

This will be an interesting test of the theory that search king Google’s leftist owners are using their market leading power to intentionally skew search results and news content. Given that this plan to game the system has been publically announced on a very prominent website (Google PageRank 8) and is being widely publicized elsewhere, it should be a simple task for Google to not only thwart this plan but to ban the participants from their metrics.



FILED UNDER: Blogosphere, Democracy, , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. madmatt says:

    would that be the liberal google that works with the DHS and helps oppress people in china…they sold out with the cash and have the values of a typical corporate whores…anything for a buck.

    Not to mention, this isn’t exactly a ground breaking strategy, it marketing 101

  2. M1EK says:

    Ah, one of my favorite thought experiments.

    SIDE ONE: Leftists are supposed to be bad businessmen, right? They don’t understand the profit motive, economics, etc. They also don’t like to work hard; and would clearly never be able to build a business worth millions, much less billions, of dollars.

    SIDE TWO: All big media companies (except now Fox) are controlled by leftists! We can’t get our message out!

    Which one is it, boys?

  3. James Joyner says:

    M1EK: Who argues Side One? To say that leftist politicians attempt to implement public policies that are anti-business or that fly in the face of basic economic principles is not at all saying that individual businessmen who support leftist candidates are incompetent.

  4. M1EK says:


    The argument is that leftists, in general, don’t work hard, don’t understand the value of hard work, and certainly don’t know anything about how the way the world works (economically speaking). I think it quite disingenuous for you to pretend you’ve never heard this.

  5. Kent G. Budge says:

    Yup, that’s the Google James is thinking of. Can you say H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-S-Y? I knew you could. It’s hardly an exclusively Republican failing.

    You don’t have to understand how the world works, economically speaking, to understand how a small part of it works. It’s called division of labor, and it’s the reason why markets work. Markets are the most marvelous system for correlating scattered bits of information ever devised by Man. (And here you thought it was Wikipedia.)

  6. Cernig says:

    Hi James,

    SearchEngineWatch from 2002:

    Google combats these attempts by identifying what it considers to be “artificial” link structures and adjusting or eliminating their influence in the rankings. Google has also recently taken action against reciprocal link pages, link “farms” and guest books, downplaying their importance in its link analysis algorithms. And there’s no doubt that Google will take action against weblogs, if those weblogs are seen as manipulating results in a way that doesn’t correspond with user expectations.

    On a personal note, I have a MyDD account but haven’t used it in months. The cliquish culture and their predominantly blinkered “My party, right or wrong” attitude quickly put me off. In that, they hold much in common with most major rightwing and leftwing blogs.

    Regards, C

  7. M1EK says:

    “You don’t have to understand how the world works, economically speaking, to understand how a small part of it works.”

    Kent, the common put-down of “leftists” applies to both macro and microeconomics. Again, it’s disingenuous to now claim otherwise when we have decades of sneering at the supposed economic illiteracy of people politically to the left of the WSJ opinion page.

  8. BC says:

    I happily admit there’s been a decade or more of sneering at the economic illiteracy of people to the left of the WSJ editorial page. Entirely deserved sneering, at that.

    However, the fact that the left is by and large composed of economic illiterates and incompetents is not inconsistent with, say, Google. Even a stuck clock is right twice a day.

  9. Mark Jaquith says:

    it should be a simple task for Google to not only thwart this plan but to ban the participants from their metrics.

    I hope you’re not implying that if they don’t thwart this plan, that they’re in on it. Googlebombing has been going on for a long time. Just search for “french military victories” or “failure.” Remember all the hoopla when the first result for “jew” was an antisemitic site? They didn’t intervene in any of those cases. Googlebombing may be trying to influence results, but it’s not underhanded. It relies on people voluntarily linking to those sites. As long as they aren’t spamming other sites in order to promote the links, I doubt Google will touch it.

  10. James Joyner says:


    No, I don’t think the Google folks are “in on it.” Still, you’d think they’d work to protect the integrity of their search results from obvious attempts to spam the system.

  11. Bithead says:

    Netroots Plan to Spam Google for Democracy

    Should that be…

    Netroots Plan to Spam Google for Democrats?

    There is, after all a major difference.