Search giant Google’s chairman, Eric Schmidt, testified in front of Congress this week regarding the company’s possible abuse of its monopoly power in the search market. They have tremendous control over what pops up when a term is typed into the search button and, during elections, the first results matter. But I have some serious reservations about the claimed unbiased results Google lets the user see first.
Former Senator Rick Santorum (R-Penn.) is the father of seven children, a devout Catholic, and current GOP presidential candidate. But when someone types his name into the Google search box, the very first result that appears is a website detailing a sex act “by-product” named after the senator. In fact, the Senator’s own website is the fourth result.
By contrast, Rick Santorum’s website is the first result that both Yahoo and Bing give the user. According to SEO Researcher, it’s estimated that over 56 percent of users click on the first result that comes up in their search, and only 13 percent click on the second result. Beyond that, the click-thru numbers are miniscule.
Sen. Santorum has contacted Google numerous times to try to effect a change. In the Congressional hearing this week, Eric Schmidt was asked about the company’s preference in returning results and if those rankings were unbiased; he couldn’t definitively answer that they weren’t.
Sen. Santorum said that he suspects “if something was up there like that about Joe Biden, they’d get rid of it. … To have a business allow that type of filth to be purveyed through their website or through their system is something that they say they can’t handle, but I suspect that’s not true.”
I tend to agree with the senator. Why does Bing know that Rick Santorum’s own website is a better match than an explicitly sex-related site? That particular website is owned and operated by “gay” rights bully Dan Savage, who targeted my young son in a gutless personal attack against me after I spoke out against an ad he made to promote homosexual acceptance among teens. That ad ran during "American Idol" one evening when my family and I were watching. Oh, and it was also released on Google Chrome.
While companies are free to give money to political candidates and parties as they please, Google has given millions to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, the Democratic National Committee, and MoveOn.org. The money flows so freely that earlier this year Eric Schmidt was rumored to be the administration’s next Secretary of Commerce.
In June of this year, Google had to answer accusations that they were giving special advertising treatment to President Obama’s re-election campaign. While Google denied those accusations, the whole situation smells fishy.
As for Sen. Santorum, Google has whitewashed their bloodied hands and told him to take it up with the site’s administrator, Dan Savage, the same hypocritical thug who bullied me for questioning the appropriateness of his and Google’s homosexual “anti-bullying” campaign. The same Dan Savage who has threatened Sen. Santorum with creating a new website defacing his first name, Rick, if he continues to oppose same-sex “marriage” and the like. Knowing Sen. Santorum, I know he won’t be bullied into changing his principles on those issues.
Just because someone disagrees with you, it gives you no right to deface and smear their name in such a way that the website comes up as the first result in a Google search during a presidential campaign. Google controls over 65 percent of the search market. Bottom line is that there’s a greater chance that anyone trying to find out more about Sen. Santorum is going to do so through Google and be steered towards the sex website rather than the senator’s actual site.
Google needs to do the right thing as a company and deliver what is best for the consumer when they type in “Santorum.” If someone wants another result, they can ask for it; but no one searching on the senator’s name should be subjected to the hatred and hypocritical bullying of Dan Savage and a left-leaning company who refuses to correct an injustice.
Penny Nance is CEO of Concerned Women for America.
Penny Young Nance is president and CEO of Concerned Women for America, the nation’s largest women’s public policy organization. She is the author of the forthcoming book "Feisty and Feminine: A Rallying Cry for Conservative Women" (Zondervan 2016).