To Google, and Other Internet Neologisms

Google’s lawyers don’t like it, but the search engine’s name has become a generonym, a brand name that people use as a generic word for searching. The word Google itself is a neologism, a variation on the huge number, a googol.

Neologisms are newly invented words, or existing words that are combined to create a word with a new meaning. The rise of the Internet has spawned lots of neologisms that have made their way into common usage.

As I was writing an issue of SearchDay, I found myself thinking about all of the new neologisms and acronyms that have become commonplace in discussing search engines. We’ve seen Googlewhacking, Googlebombing, and even Googlewashing. Other Google-related neologisms include its widely discussed algorithm called PageRank (PR), and its monthly index update is called the Google dance.

And the people who care passionately about PR and the Google dance are called search engine optimizers (SEOs), concerned with how high their pages rise on SERPs (search engine result pages).

Then you have words like spamdexing (spam + index), which refers to people who create garbage or deceptive pages. Searchjacking (search + hijack) is a variation, referring to people who attempt to fool search engines by using popular but unrelated keywords in their meta tags.

An outstanding glossary that features many of these Internet neologisms is maintained by writer Paul McFedries. His Tech Word Spy Web site is a lexicon of technical terms, many of which came from the books he’s written. If you’re a fan of language, it’s a fun and fascinating site to engage in what McFedries calls “lexpionage.”

Some of my favorites include cornea gumbo, a web page, ad, or other graphic piece that is an overdesigned, jumbled, soup of colors, fonts, and images. And hit-and-run page, a web page that gets a huge number of hits and then disappears a week later.

Do you suffer from information fatigue syndrome, the weariness and frustration that results from information overload? Or have to put up with a list Nazi, a mailing list subscriber who makes it a point to flame other list members for even the slightest violations of Net, email, or mailing list etiquette?

All of you webmasters will want to know about tag wrestling, a popular, new sport, usually accompanied by grunting, slaps to the head, and cries of “I’m sure I put in that end tag” and “They must have changed the syntax of HTML on me.”

Why do I find these Internet neologisms so interesting? Guess it’s because I’m a bona-fide arachnerd, a person that spends way too much time either surfing the Web or fussing with their home page.

The Seven Deadly Nyms
SearchDay, August 7, 2002
Virtuous searching takes more than hard work and clean thinking — you must keep constant vigilance against the seven deadly nyms that can play the devil with your search results.

Search Headlines

NOTE: Article links often change. In case of a bad link, use the publication’s search facility, which most have, and search for the headline.

OECD speaks out on WHOIS
Demys Jun 9 2003 10:22AM GMT
Registrar Offers ‘.la’ Web Address Jun 9 2003 5:19AM GMT
Best News Site: Google
Poynter Institute Jun 9 2003 5:18AM GMT
Search Engine Tips and Tricks
WebTalkGuys Radio Jun 7 2003 9:27AM GMT
ValueClick acquires paid search engine Search123 in $5 million deal Jun 7 2003 8:21AM GMT
Telefonica Would Keep Lycos Jun 7 2003 4:04AM GMT
BBC Selects Intelliseek to Power Research Portal
EContent Jun 7 2003 4:02AM GMT
Ad Efforts Blossom in Search Engine Arena
Yahoo Jun 6 2003 11:21PM GMT
Google, Lycos Europe Ink Content-Ad Deal Jun 6 2003 10:36AM GMT
UK portals lag US giants
The Register Jun 6 2003 10:31AM GMT
How to Plant a Story About Your Product or Service in Jun 6 2003 5:15AM GMT
MPAA threatens Dutch citizen over domain name
Sydney Morning Herald Jun 6 2003 2:45AM GMT
Create pages for customers, not search engines, experts urge retailers Jun 5 2003 7:19PM GMT
Two senior execs find a berth at Yahoo
CNET Jun 4 2003 7:17PM GMT
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