How is Rick Santorum’s Google bomb holding up now that he’s surging in the polls?
For most of this morning and afternoon, Rick Santorum has been the tenth most searched for term on the internet. It’s an achievement for the candidate that comes as he enjoys a late surge in local polls before today’s Iowa caucus, and is almost certainly the highest volume of Santorum searching to streak the internet since Dan Savage’s famous Google bomb of Santorum’s name in 2003.
Nine years ago, Savage was so put off by Santorum’s anti-gay politics that he decided the politician deserved the ultimate honor that can be found only at the intersection of politics and pop culture: the Google bomb. Savage decided to re-brand the word santorum as a colloquial term defined as: “1. The frothy mix of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex. 2. Senator Rick Santorum.”
The definition was parked at spreadingsantorum.com and has been the bane of the second meaning of the word santorum ever since. Senator Santorum pleaded with Google to have it removed from the web and railed against the company for allowing such “filth” to filter through its search results.
Google—and no doubt many others—tried in vain to explain to Santorum over the years that SpreadingSantorum’s prominence in search results was a reflection of public interest, not promotion. If Santorum was incensed that the results for his own website were buried way, way below the ranking of the new definition assigned to his name, it was because people found the SpreadingSantorum story far more interesting than the senator himself, who was always a non-starter in the world of actual politics.
But if this year’s pre-primary season proved anything it’s that any and every Republican candidate will enjoy a moment in the sun. Polling data suggests that voters are entertaining candidates one by one in a parade as they search for some other option to the seemingly inevitable Romney. This last week has been Romney’s time—the candidate always known most for his Google bomb managed to elbow his way into a three-way tie with Romney and Ron Paul in the last polls before voting began today in Iowa.
So has this sudden apex of interest in Rick Santorum the man begun to tip the scales on Dan Savage’s nine year-old Google bomb?
Searching for Rick Santorum today actually does, after nearly a decade, produce a top result for Rick Santorum’s political campaign at RickSantorum.com. The second result is a second page on that site: “Where I Stand.” SpreadingSantorum has actually moved all the way down to the fourth spot. Of course, Googling “Santorum” still takes you right to Savage’s brainchild.
Enjoy your moment in the sun, Santorum the man—if the last six months of Republican pre-primary are any indication, it probably won’t last long.