Well Google may have diffused that bomb, but looks like bing.com are more than happy to keep it locked and loaded. Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land pointed out that for some reason the "miserable failure" bomb seems to be live and well (or is that lit and fused?) in recent times.
Google run their algorithms from time to time to locate and diffuse these bombs, but what of the other engines? Yahoo! never seemed to really get rid of it entirely and MSN was pretty much on the same path. At present a search for "miserable failure" on Ask.com reveals George Bush to be the number one contender while surprisingly his right hand man is now Barack Obama (does Ask know something we don't?). Okay, so there is more to this than meets the eye.
The White House implemented 301 redirects a little while ago to send most of that failure link-love back to its intended destination (that of past President GW Bush). It seems that Google have managed to once again find and block this bomb. MSN (now combined with Live as Bing.com) seem to have re-indexed the site and are now reporting the GW Bush bio as a "miserable failure", followed by the Wikipedia report on this event and surprisingly the new (and only one that I know of) bio for B Obama. Yahoo!'s results match those of Ask.com (although they have indexed the new URL). Interestingly enough Ask.com still list the old gwbbio.html file as the URL for GW Bush despite the site having implemented 301 redirects (clicking on the link takes you to /georgewbush/).
Okay, so what does this really tell us? That GW Bush and Obama are miserable failures? Well, that will forever remain a long debate.
From an observation point I'd say that this would suggest that the miserable failures in this case are the search engines. Agreed, they may simply be returning facts based on what the public perceive, however this simply goes to prove how easily these giants can be manipulated to this day.
Google seem to have worked around this one and I have a sneaky suspicion that when Matt Cutts moved from the domain www.mattcutts.com to www.dullest.com he was testing just how well they handle the 301. Perhaps Obama and Bush both owe Matt and his team a thanks on that one. On the other side of this we can gather that most of the search engines still need to work on how they deal with 301's.
Could this leave a door open to spammers to "Google bomb" a page, then simply 301 the link love to another page?
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