Saturday, May 05, 2007

Google Bayrou, Find Sarkozy?

I was just writing to my parents in the USA about the French presidential race, and I wanted to send them the name of the new party François Bayrou is forming. I couldn't remember if it was "le mouvement démocratique" or "démocrate", so I did a Google search for Bayrou, and this is what came up at the top of the page, the day before the election between Sarkozy and Royal:

Sarkozy-Royal au 2nd tour Réactions, interviews, commentaires Suivez l'événement sur Europe1
Le Vrai Sarkozy Ce que vous ne savez pas de Sarkozy Son expérience et son talent

All right, Bayrou isn't in the race anymore, so maybe the first link is legitimate. But how did this extremely pro-Sarkozy YouTube video come up in second place on a search for "Bayrou" the day before the election?

Well, first I suppose I should point out that it's a commercial link. But doesn't it seem a little wrong for Google to sell space for that link under searches for Bayrou?

By the way, by not removing the actual links above, I am not in any way trying to work as a secret force for Sarkozy! I'm just "showing it like it is."

In a country where equal media time for the candidates is controlled to the second, it's interesting to see how the world's biggest search engine has been harnessed in a last minute attempt to reach out to Bayrou's voters.


Pacian said...

I habitually ignore the adverts Google. They're never informative, often annoying and sometimes harmful (eg. leading to dodgy software).

But at least they do separate out their sponsored results. Many search engines seem to surreptiously add them to the top and bottom, while some even mix them into the real results with little to distinguish them.

Betty C. said...

I might point out that these ads were at the top and only vaguely masked. They were in a slightly creamier color and in the upper right, if you looked closely, you could see "liens commerciaux" -- but the first time I saw the page, I didn't realize they were ads.

Pacian said...

But, as little as Google does to distinguish those results from the 'real' ones, it's still much more than I've seen at many of their competitors.

Not that I want to defend the slimy practices Google indulges in when selling ad space, but... if there were a better search engine, we'd all be using it. :-/