Wednesday, February 15, 2006

"Google Bombing" Ahmadinejad and Radical Islam

Today we learn that Islamic fundamentalists are burning fast-food restaurants in Pakistan to protest the Danish cartoons. It is hard to ever feel sorry for McDonalds, but I do today. I checked the McDonald's menu for Pakistan, including the "McArabia," and could not find anything that was particularly offensive to the Prophet. I guess it was the cheese Danishes.

Meanwhile, the Iranian dissident Hossein Derakhshan over at Hoder.com proposes a more peaceful, digital protest against Ahmadinejad and radical Islam. It is called "Google bombing." A Google bomb is "a certain attempt to influence the ranking of a given page in results returned by the Google search engine. Due to the way that Google's PageRank algorithm works, a page will be ranked higher if the sites that link to that page all use consistent anchor text. A Google bomb is created if a large number of sites link to the page in this manner." Read the whole entry on Wikipedia for popular examples.

Here is Hoder's proposal: "I'm thinking of organizing something such as a collective visit by Iranians abroad to Holocaust museums around the world, or ask anyone who disagrees with Ahmadinejad's denial of systematic killing of Jews by Nazis to link to a speceifc page about Holocaust. The latter is called Google bombing and is known as a common way to protest online.... There is no bigger threat to Iran's national security ... than Ahmadinejad."

I think Hoder's idea of "Google bombing" Ahmadinejad as a way to protest his radical Islamic beliefs is a very interesting idea. Anyone who types in the word "Ahmadinejad" in Google would then get a particular site that highlights his Holocaust denial and his radical ideology. I will keep you informed if anything develops.

UPDATE: It has come to my attention that if you type in the phrase "Hamas Party" in Google the top link is my post on "The Hamas Party Platform." This is an example of how a popular post can have the unintended effect of a "Google bomb." Currently the top post in a Google search for Ahmadinejad is an October 2005 BBC profile, followed shortly thereafter by an antiseptic Wikipedia profile and a positive June 2005 profile in Al Jazeera. All three are out-of-date, inaccurate, and make no mention of the current threat that he has become. By contrast, the top post for a Google search of his alternative spelling of "Ahmadinejah" is my post on the "The Madness of Mahmoud Ahmadinejah." It is incomplete, but more accurately gives voice to the true threat that is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.