Rants In Our Pants

All the Google News That’s Fit to Print on Google News

Yes, you too can rise to the top of Google News — no journalism skills necessary. But a high tolerance for mindless repetition and sucking up to advertisers is a plus.

By (@tynanwrites)

November 14, 2009

google news dunce capWe’ve just made a fascinating discovery about Google News. If we repeat a certain keyword phrase often enough – like “Google News” — in every sentence of a story, Google News will put that story at the top of Google News, or at least among the top Google News stories on the Google News Science & Technology page, despite having absolutely no (Google) News content whatsoever.

And, oh yeah: Google News, Google News, Google News.

Take this fine example of reportage about Best Buy’s Black Friday sales, found in the Charlotte (NC) Examiner – and, of course, on the front page of Google News’ Sci/Tech section:
google news fail black friday best buy medium

Diving into this deeply researched yet cunningly repetitive story, we find the following:

Best Buy Black Friday deals during the 2009 season are great. Best Buy is a great place for Black Friday deals all across the country, and Best Buy Black Friday deals 2009 can be found in many places around Davidson County.

What can you expect to get at the Best Buy Black Friday sales during 2009? For starters, you can enter to win one of 25 $1,000 gift cards in each of the Best Buy markets.  This would be the ultimate 2009 Black Friday deal, as you can not only win free merchandise, you will also be chauffeured around in a limousine.

Best Buy recently had an early Black Friday deal on an Acer Laptop.  For one day only, Best Buy shoppers could get an Acer laptop for $249.99.  The deal sold out online rather quickly and is no longer available at Davidson county locations.

Best Buy has an early Black Friday sale going on RIGHT NOW ONLINE ONLY.  Head on over to BestBuy.com to purchase things such as a Vado HD Pocket Camcorder for just $99.99 or a free speaker system with the purchase of an iPod nano.

Gosh, if we didn’t know any better, we’d suspect this was really a thinly veiled bit of Google News gaming designed to fool Google News’ not-exactly-sophisticated algorithm to shoot this “story” to the top of the Google News charts. And, oh yeah, maybe do a solid for one of the newspaper’s major advertisers.

Wait, aren’t those Google Black Friday ads splattered all over the page? What an amazing coincidence. We bet there’s a Google News story in that.

The author of said piece, “journalist” Davie Cook, has mastered the fine art of using just six words to tell an entire story. Like this example, titled “There’s water on the moon, does it really matter if there’s water on the moon?” He writes:

There’s water on the moon.  Yes, you heard me right. Water on the moon was found by scientists. What does water on the moon mean? Will water on the moon really make a difference in our lives? These are the questions I sat out to answer.

davie cook charlotte examiner

Davie’s answer? Yes, you heard him right, there really is water on the moon. No sign of Best Buy Black Friday sales deals, though.

According to his bio:

Davie Cook is a self-proclaimed news junkie. He resides in Davidson County, Tennessee where he’s held a variety of jobs during his career. He received a BA in Journalism from Strayer University and has completed work towards his master’s at the University of Phoenix Online.

We’re guessing that “variety of jobs” includes stints at Kinkos, Hardees, and Wal-Mart. Still, we think he’s earned his PhD in Google News gaming. And kudos for revealing just how brain dead Google News’ algorithms really are.

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