On Google AdWords and Politics

One confusing use of Google AdWords is for searches like this, if you Google “firefox aurora”.  An ad comes up which points you to the first search result.  This seems like the most useless advertising ever.

This includes many presidential candidates.  Barack Obama, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum does it.  Ron Paul does it, but only on DuckDuckGo it seems (it might be a timing thing though).

Mitt Romney also advertises under the term Ron Paul as well.  Since Ron Paul has had the most people search for him, this strategy might make some sense.

Rick Santorum actually does have a reason to advertise, especially when using just the search term santorum.  It links to a website spreadingsantorum.com which is a Google Bomb of his name with an alternate (disgusting) meaning.  This puts him at a very big disadvantage compared to the other candidates, he has to advertise or else people looking to donate/learn more might have a higher chance of stumbling on the other site.

Santorum is in fact the only one who seems to consistently advertise on all major search engines, DuckDuckGo, Bing, and Yahoo.  Seeing that he doesn’t have a big monetary war chest, if his search volume increase greatly (with clicks on his ads) and his donations don’t go up that could seemingly force him out of the race.  I couldn’t find any evidence of this kind of activity being down maliciously before (and it doesn’t appear to be happening now), but seeing Google Bombs are relatively new, it may have just never happened before.

It would seem like politicians who have been Google Bombed would be more susceptible to an additional attack:

  • Other individuals buy adwords linking to bomb site. (tanks)
  • Many individuals only clicking on adwords to candidates actual site (infantry)

Since adwords is somewhat a bidding game, this would increase the cost-per-click for the candidate.  I think something like this should be called a Google Blitzkrieg.  It could happen very fast and you are leaving your “flank” open to the same attack, at least the adwords one.

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