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April 14, 2004

Please Do Not Googlebomb LII

(Update: Cohen has called off the Googlebomb.)

I woke up this morning to see a well-meaning request to Googlebomb LII (the place where I work... o.k., I know you know that, but there is a very intentional veil between FRL and LII). Not only that, Jessamyn has already critiqued the practice. Lordy, lordy... can't a girl do something other than the Internet for an evening?

I don't like the Googlebomb action (or "meme," to use a dreadfully worn word now trotted around), for exactly the reasons Jessamyn specifies. LII may have its marketing challenges, but we (and here I quote directly from the Karen G. Schneider who runs LII, who bears a remarkable resemblance to Free Range Librarian) would like to handle them ourselves; and as Jessamyn writes, it just seems wrong (not to mention so-last-year) to finegle with an index. More to the point, while we certainly don't control the universe, we at LII would like to control our own destiny. We should have been asked if we wanted this--and if that's how we wanted it, and that's when we wanted it. I know it was well-intended, but I'm asking you folks not to participate in this Googlebomb. It is so very, very not what LII is all about.

I'm proud of the increase in usage for LII that has happened during my tenure as Director, Senior Cheerleader, and Da Boss, even though my pride is really derivative from the profoundly wonderful work of the staff who make LII tick. Wendy Hyman, Jennifer English, Maria Brandt, Charlotte Bagby, Tom McGibney, Pat Fell, and a host of contributors--they are amazing. And I'd like to see usage statistics based on our efforts. And I'm very pleased people care about us enough to compare us to Library of Congress.

But please--if you have the energy to Googlebomb--you have the energy to direct your efforts toward Good Works. Go read to a child, or help out at a soup kitchen, or go help get out the vote for the November election. Or if you feel you want to "do something" for LII, share it with a library patron, a volunteer, a neighbor, or a local newspaper. Get us a radio spot on NPR--that's a "meme" we can live with. But Googlebomb LII? Please. Just Say No.

Posted by kgs at April 14, 2004 08:52 AM

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I'm with you on the "say no to Googlebombing" stance (and on the unpleasant reaction to the "M" word). Wanting to keep some distance between FRL and LII is also understandable. But why no link to LII in this post? I'm not a big fan of the marketing meme (I think it's fitting to use the two "M" words together). But it seems appropriate to link to LII from this post. I was on the verge of giving up on finding a link on your site when I came across it down there toward the bottom of your blogroll.

Posted by: Frederick Emrich at April 14, 2004 12:40 PM

so noted, and done!

Posted by: K.G. Schneider at April 14, 2004 12:54 PM

Is there are particular radio show on NPR you want to target? Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me? This American Life? A Studio 360 segment on life beyond Google?

Hey, it can happen.

Posted by: Eli at April 15, 2004 10:34 PM

Hmmm, I don't agree. Google's ranking mechanism solicits implicit 'opinions' on the relevance of a site to a given keyword. If Google is in effect asking our opinions, isn't it our job as librarians to try to make the index as good as possible? Is Infoplease really the best place to get "information"? And if not, don't we have a responsibility to improve it, since it is within the scope of our relationship with Google to do so?

That said, I understand that targeting specific keywords is questionable. But the argument that we shouldn't "finegle with an index" is weak, considering that the index relies on finegling (intentional or not) to rank results.

Posted by: Andy at April 19, 2004 12:23 PM