Romney, Gingrich Latest to Join the Search Engine ‘Spreading’ Game

Something may finally happen to help Rick Santorum out with that embarrassing little problem of his. Now that is taking off, and some enterprising web design company is actively promoting, it just might become the saddest status symbol of our time for politicians. You haven’t arrived until someone makes you a Spreading site.

The new SpreadingGingrich site attempts to piggyback off the popularity of the better known SpreadingSantorum and SpreadingRomney results by inviting users to submit their definition for poor old Newt.

Spreading Gingrich

Search Engine Land looked at this phenomenon yesterday after discovering the result last week, examining potential reasons as to why it seems so easy for new sites to pop up and rank quite well in Google and Bing for what should be insanely competitive one-word terms. To be clear, these satirical results are also showing up on other search engines, like DuckDuckGo.

Though Google said they’d rid the world of the Google bombing problem back in 2007, it seems clear that as long as there is an algorithm, there will be ways to take advantage of certain aspects of it.

Mike Grehan’s “New Signals to Search Engines Revisited” sheds some more light on factors that could be contributing to the meteoric rise of the spreading sites in search engine result pages, such as the importance of user data. The SpreadingRomney site got some mainstream attention from MSNBC host Rachel Maddow.


The “Romney” result is showing in the third organic spot today, while the homage to Newt isn’t registering yet. Oh, but it will. You just watch.

This isn’t Romney’s first scrape with unflattering web results, either. Google fixed a search suggestion issue back in the fall that asked searchers, “Did you mean: romney can’t win” when conducting a search for “romney can win.”


Interestingly, there also seems to be a new feature showing to users (it doesn’t appear to this Canadian user). Google is showing a table of U.S. Republican Primaries results at the top of the SERPs, at least to some users.

As if it weren’t hard enough to get normal people into politics, now it seems they will have some sort of defecation-related tribute to them… but only if they’re cool enough to make it far enough into the race to warrant such treatment. You better hope you’ve never done anything, ever, even remotely related to bodily functions if you want to enter politics. I think I liked it better when only gay-bashers got the Santorum treatment.

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