Thursday, November 02, 2006

Ray Meier and Michael Arcuri Drowned in a Sea of Babble

There really isn't that much to say on the issues of this race that will matter - or that will get through to the voters. There are few undecided voters left, and besides, the practice of Google bombing by both Republicans and Democrats from across the country has reduced the level of political blog writing to mere cut and paste.

Google bombing ought to be called blogosphere bombing, for the devastating effect that it has on online political debate. The practice involves bloggers cutting and pasting long lists of names of political candidates from the opposing party. Each one of those names is then linked to derogatory web site. The Google search engine then is supposed to note these links, and incorporate them into its algorithms, so that the top search result on Google for the candidate's name is a particular web site that has negative things to say about the candidate.

The practical effect is that these cut and paste blog entries, which don't have any actual information themselves about the candidates, and are most often posted by people who don't even live in the district where the candidates run, clog up the blogosphere. People who search for up-to-date information on the candidates through blog search engines like Technorati or Google Blogsearch end up finding only a collection of babble Google bomb entries, all the same, none of them informing the voter. Thus, online politicial discussion about candidates is nearly erased. Only those online readers savvy enough to evade the Google bombing will have much success finding blogs that rise above the cut and paste frenzy.

Besides, the Google bombs don't even really work very well. Do a Google search for "Ray Meier", for example, and the Google bomb target page hasn't even been elevated above the bottom link on the first page. One of the reasons is that the target page is a page with a video that doesn't have much in the way of text. Search engines pay a lot of attention to text content, so the video wasn't a particularly good choice for a Google bomb. Another reason the Google bomb has failed is that the Google algorithm is intelligently designed, so that web sites that pump out a lot of content that is identical to what other web sites publish tend to get demoted as spam.

That's what a Google bomb is, really - spam. The voters deserve a lot better than that for information about the candidates.

I see this morning that blogs are still doing Google bombs against Ray Meier and against Michael Arcuri, publishing the same old cut and pasted material. That shows you how unintelligent the whole Google bomb concept is - the results usually take at least a week to affect Google searches, even when they're successful. A week from now, the election is over.

Of course, the real race is already over. Unless one of the candidates is photographed biting the head off a bat, perceptions aren't going to change in the next five days. Michael Arcuri and Ray Meier will be working on getting their voter turnout machines going, and will make a few stops here and there, going through the motions.

Don't expect any fireworks. Nothing to do now but to vote, and then sit back and wait for the results.


Mike Sylvia said...

It is similar to the machines pumping 'Letters to the Editor'. Not glamorous but better than the mud slinging ads.

I saw at The Daily Star,
that Arcuri supports the death penalty. For the record, I am opposed. How many innocent people have we already killed?

I've got to spend more time hammering the big spending, 'charge it!' Republicans.

Mike Sylvia

Anonymous said...

So who's going to win? More importantly, for whom are you going to vote?