Tuesday, November 22, 2005
First posted 03:44am (Mla time) Nov 22, 2005 Inquirer News Service
Editor's Note: Published on page A6 of the Nov. 22, 2005 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer
ENTER THE WORDS "PEKENG pangulo" [fake president] on your Google browser, and you'll get a surprising, if mildly subversive result: The website of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Try typing "sinungaling" [liar], and the browser will direct you to Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye's profile.
The President and her trusted men have just become the latest subjects -- or victims -- of "Google bombing," a trick used to manipulate the results yielded by search engines.
An Internet-savvy group of young militants has succeeded in making Ms Arroyo's website, http://www.kgma.org/, the answer to a search for "pekeng pangulo" on popular search engines like Google or Yahoo!
The militant Youth Demanding Arroyo's Removal (Youth Dare) yesterday declared a success its online campaign to Google bomb the websites of the President, as well as those of her ardent defenders.
A query for "sira-ulo" [lunatic or fool], for instance, will take one to the official website of the Department of Justice (), presumably a slur on Secretary Raul Gonzalez.
A search for "bugaw" [pimp], on the other hand, will show a link to the personal information page of National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales on http://www.i-site.ph/, the online databank of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism.
Finally, typing "sinungaling" on the browser will lead to Bunye's profile on the Office of the President website (http://www.op.gov.ph).
Google bombing the President's website, as well as that of her subordinates, is just one of the many ways Internet users can express their dissent against what they believe to be a fake presidency, said the group's spokesperson Raymond Palatino.
Denizens of the worldwide web have not had enough of the "Hello Garci" controversy, despite the junking of the impeachment complaint against Ms Arroyo in September, he said in a statement.
"During Edsa Dos [EDSA People Power II], we had text messaging. Now we use the blogosphere and the Internet as mechanisms to reach other people and unite in various issues," he said.
The Google bombing was a joint project of Youth Dare and the "young radicals" Internet blog, said Anakbayan media officer Sarah Katrina Maramag.
The group got the idea from Internet activists in the United States who linked the search words "miserable failure" to the official biography of George W. Bush on the White House website, Palatino said.
However, it was not the first Google bomb on a Filipino public figure. In April 2004, the late actor and defeated presidential contender Fernando Poe Jr. himself became the subject of a Google bomb. The search words "bangungot ng bayan" (the nation's nightmare) directed one to the Freedom, Peace and Justice Movement website, which showed Poe's picture with supporters.
A Google bomb is an attempt to influence the ranking of a given page in results returned by the Google search engine.
A page will be ranked higher on Google if the sites that link to that page all use consistent anchor text -- the text used in the link. A Google bomb is created if many sites link to a page by using a certain phrase.
If that phrase is entered on the browser, the page to which the most number of websites or blogs are linked using that phrase will appear.
Youth Dare and its member organizations are planning to come out with other creative online activities and projects, such as "Hello Garci" computer games, Palatino said.