Hutchison's Search Engine Sneak
BY Nancy Scola | Friday, July 31 2009
Ben Smith points us to a story out of Texas, where a reference to the sexuality of Governor Rick Perry found its way into the hidden tags on Kay Bailey Hutchison's new campaign website, nestled amongst phrases like "Travis County," "el paso gangs," "texas hispanics," and a whopping 2,300 other keyword terms. The Hutchison campaign deflected by saying that a vendor set them up with a system that dynamically generates the site's source code from what people type into search engines alongside the search terms "Rick Perry," "Kay Bailey Hutchison" and "Texas." (Smith catches a classic we-would-never!-but-since-you're-asking from the Hutchison campaign: "We did not know these offensive word associations were being searched for by hundreds of thousands of Texans every day...")
The reference to Perry's sexuality are slipped in using what seems to be a "style='display:none,'" an obvious attempt to game Google and other search engines. I ask you search experts, does Hutchison's explanation of auto-generated source-code tags pass the smell test?