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The Resource Center Online Security Issues & Protection | article

The Risk of "Google Bombing" on Online Reputation

In the current political landscape, partisanship is bigger than ever before, as Democrats and Republicans often find it impossible to come together on even the smallest issues. The results have not only been a lack of legislation on Capitol Hill over the past several years, but ever dirtier tactics to badmouth and disrepute politicians who are hoping to take office.

One such practice that was especially frequent during the most recent presidential election was called “Google bombing.” Google bombing entailed optimizing certain phrases so that when they were put into this search engine, the first results would be humorous or slanderous websites.

One of the most infamous searches involved Republican candidate Mitt Romney, who became infamous throughout the election for making statements that were wildly unpopular among the Democratic left. As a result, when the term “completely wrong” was plugged into the browser, you were likely to run into a series of unflattering images of the aspiring presidential candidate.

Another famous, and humorous, incident of this was the search phrase “find Chuck Norris” followed by clicking on the “I’m feeling lucky” button. This will bring you to a website that looks as though it is a default Google search phrase, but bears no results except for the error message “Google won’t search for Chuck Norris because it knows you don’t find Chuck Norris, he finds you.”

Perhaps the most well-known Google bomb was unleashed against former President George W. Bush. For a solid three years, when the search term “miserable failure” was used, the first result would be the president’s biography on the White House website.

You’ll need to do all you can to make sure that computer hackers don’t only ruin your reputation, but potentially make you the victim of identity theft. You can do this by looking into a credit monitoring service that will alert you to any potential fraud taking place in your name.