Google Bombing

Google Bombing - Miserable failure, liar and French military victories

Google Bombing Introduction

Google bombing is a manipulation of Google's search algorithm to produce humorous and sometimes politically motivated results. The most notable Google bombs being "Miserable failure", which leads to the website of George Bush and "liar", which leads to the website of Tony Blair. There is also a spoof Google bomb for the term "French military victories".

The Google bombing phenomenon is caused by the way that Google's algorithm is driven disproportionately by off page factors. By "off page" we mean factors that reside elsewhere than on the page that features in the rankings. Due to the way that MSN and Yahoo operate their search algorithms they are less susceptible to the same sort of manipulation. This is principally because they are influenced more by on page factors.

Adam Mathes

Adam Mathes was the person who discovered the phenomenon and mechanism for Google bombing. Mathes first discussed the term in April 2001. Mathes had discovered that the search term "Internet rockstar" produced the result "Ben Brown", even thought the term was not featured on the rockstar's website.Mathes then went on to try to influence the search results for an associate, Andy Pressman. Pressman was labled a "talentless hack". Sure enough, Mathes achieved his objective and the Google bombing phenomenon was born.

Miserable Failure

Miserable failure is probably the most famous Google bomb. If you search for the subject on you are led to the website for President George W. Bush. This Google bomb has become so successful it works on both MSN and Yahoo. It has also been translated into Italian and leads to the website of Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi.


Liar was the British equivalent to "Miserable failure". The subject  this time, of course, was Tony Blair. The Google bomb appeared in the run up to the 2005 election and occurred in several different derivatives. The bomb was prompted by Blair's less than toally forthcoming approach to the truth regarding the reasons behind the invasion of Iraq.

French Military Victories

"French military victories" is a spoof Google bomb. During the run up to the Gulf war of 2003, the intransigence of the French government to George Bush's attempts to recruit the UN to his way of thinking, brought the long standing mutual antipathy of the two nations to the surface. Some American pranksters decided to get their own back on the French by creating a Google bomb of their own. As a result, searching for "French military victories" on Google takes you to a spoof site that asks the question: "Don't you mean French military defeats?"

Google Washing

"Google washing" concerns the apparent decay and decline of a Google bomb. This is meant to be case whereby if enough coverage is given to the "bomb" the impact of its linking will dissipate around the web as news sites and blogs all report the story. Indeed, this web page itself contributes to the Google washing effect. This page and the UK search blog now feature fairly high in the searches for the Google bombs mentioned on this page.As at December 2005, both "Miserable failure" and "Liar" have been sufficiently robust to stand the effects of any underlying of deliberate Google washing.

Google Bombing Links

Further information can be obtained from the following links:
Search engine watch and Wikipedia for a fairly broad explanation and a humorous series of up to date examples. Sadly the original Adam Mathes bomb seems to have gone off the air.
Search for the more famous Google bombs here: Miserable failure, Liar, French military victories.

Google Optimisation

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Last updated 3rd August 2006

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