So, turns out that if you search for the word “Jew” on Google you end up with an anti-semitic site. As a response, an effort is afoot to googlebomb a new link into place pointing to a Wikipedia article on Judaism. While the thought is in the right place, I worry that this is an ineffectual form of protest.
First, since people are blogging, rarther than largely putting it on a more permenant link, it means that even if successful, it will be temporary.
Second, if successful, it will move the anti-semitic site to the second or third position. The net effect of this is effort is what exactly?
I guess it seems like a whole lot of demonstration with a whole little action or impact. Instead, the appearance of the site at the top of Google’s results should raise some questions. Especially:
Why is Jew Watch the number one hit? According to Google, the site is inked by about 34 other pages. Many of the most prominent of these links, including a Google Directory entry, note that it is a hate site. Currently about 10 times that number link to the Wikipedia article, but remember that Google “weights” many of these pages using an approach based on their own in-links (as well as some set of magic ingredients).
The effort to Googlebomb into the number one position places effort on a process that is clearly flawed. Google assumes that (in part) a link is a vote and that the cream will rise to the top. This occurs more often than not. But this is clearly one of the exceptions. Rather than stamping out fires, we should recognize that this is likely to continue to be a systemic problem. More effective solutions might include better incorporation of metadata into hyperlinks.
Since I don’t see that happening any time soon, another possibility would be requesting that webmasters give hate sites the silent treatment. I’m not sure if they would be willing to. I’ve done some research on hate websites, and considered putting it up on the web, but the question was whether I would, in effect, become the Yahoo of Hate. There is a good listing of sites provided in PDF format elsewhere on the Web–maybe the better campaign is to get webmasters who are linking to hate websites as examples of such discourse to delink, and perhaps to provide the URL without a hyperlink.