DNC, Goldman Sachs, others bidding to buy Google search term 'Goldman Sachs SEC'
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From last Friday until sometime today, if you went to Google and typed in "Goldman Sachs SEC," the No. 1 sponsored -- that means paid-for -- result that came up at the top of the page was www.barackobama.com. The site's description read: “Fight Wall Street Greed: Help Pres. Obama Reform Wall Street and Create Jobs. Families First!”
Clicking on the link took you to Organizing for America, a Democratic National Committee project. The site includes a quote from Obama: "We've seen and lived the consequences of what happens when there's too little accountability on Wall Street and too little protection for Main Street. It's time for a change."
Lots of people, including Limbaugh, said this suggests that the SEC's fraud charge against Goldman Sachs last Friday -- which came just as Democrats are trying to push through a financial regulatory reform bill -- was politically orchestrated by the White House and Democrats.
Today, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) sent a letter to SEC chairwoman Mary Schapiro, challenging her to prove her agency's probe is not political.
In his story on Friday, Allen quoted DNC communications director Brad Woodhouse saying:
“ 'We have all kinds of online advertising up to allow folks who are searching and reading online to get involved with Organizing for America and the president and make a difference on his agenda. We've been running online ads since early last year. We watch closely what terms folks are searching and set up our ads accordingly.' Woodhouse said the ad is part of an online campaign that began about two weeks ago, and has included such Google search terms as 'Goldman,' 'Wall Street' and 'Bank of America.' ”
Today, however, the story has morphed from a political story into a Web story.
If you search right now for "Goldman Sachs SEC," you'll still get www.barackobama.com. But that's not all you'll get. You'll also see a sponsored link for "Rush Adword Goldman Sachs" that takes you to a blog for something called EJM Designs Limited Blog, a Web design firm in Cincinnati.
The business's owner, one Eric Marschall, writes:
"The President's PR force, in light of a drive towards financial reform, had bid on the phrase in an Adwords campaign. Just like anyone can do. As a matter of fact, I just began a campaign myself for 'goldman sachs sec' that you can see as well if you type those words into Google. Just to show you how easy it is. Unfortunately many people do not know how search results work and even less will check the validity of the claims for themselves. The truth is not nefarious nor malicious nor collusive; it's actually a pretty clear case of Capitalism in action. Heck: even I got on board."
For the non-Web-savvy, AdWords is the program that Google uses to sell sponsored links connected to search terms. Here's how it works, according to Google:
1. You create ads and choose key words, which are words or phrases related to your business.
2. When people search on Google using one of your key words, your ad may appear next to the search results. Now you're advertising to an audience that's already interested in you.
3. People can simply click your ad to make a purchase or learn more about you. You don't even need a Web page to get started – Google will help you create one for free. It's that easy!
Of course, there's a bidding process involved for the key words. If you pay the most for those key words, your link will appear first when people search for those key words. I e-mailed Woodhouse today to see if the DNC is still bidding on the search term "Goldman Sachs SEC" and he said, yes, it still is.
But another bidder has evidently entered the arena, as well. Today, if you search for "Goldman Sachs SEC," one of the returned links takes you to ... Goldman Sachs.
And as for the when-on-Friday question, here's a piece from Politico today showing how the DNC mocked the Washington Times by buying a search term that hit Google right away.
Follow me on Twitter at @theticker
April 20, 2010; 4:01 PM ET
Categories: Corporations , The Ticker , Wall Street | Tags: AdWords, DNC, Democratic National Committee, Democratic Party, Goldman Sachs, Google, Mary Schapiro, Organizing for America, United States, Wall Street, goldman sachs sec
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