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February 29, 2012

Rick Santorum's Bing problem

Traditional media sites (and the blogoshpere) have made much this year about Rick Santorum's Google Problem though mentioning the topic often offended delicate sensibilities.  It refers to a Google bomb columnist Dan Savage created.  It led to a web page where Republican candidate Rick Santorum's name was redefined as "the frothy mix of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex."  Santorum's Google problem has eased a mite as the result of a change in the algorithm the company applies to search result.  Savage has commented about his demotion on SLOG and notes the number one page now is an Urban Dictionary entry that is even grosser:

The sometimes frothy, usually slimy, amalgam of lubricant, stray fecal matter, and ejaculate that leaks out of the receiving partner's anus after a session of anal intercourse.

This change will have effects on other web sites.  GLAA.ORG has long had an enviable position when searching for the record of DC Council members on LGBT issues.  For instance if you were to enter the name of a council member along with the words gay and DC our site would be one of the top results, typically appearing on the first page.  (This was not true for the council members who are actually gay since so many article mention this fact.)  Now our ratings are not listed until the second page which makes me unhappy.  The search engine competitor Bing has not made any change to their ranking algorithm.  Perhaps people will stop talking about googling a word and start to say they are going to to Bing it.


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