Google Wipes ‘Spreading Santorum’ from Top Search Results

After eight years, Rick Santorum may be getting rid of the 'Google problem' started as a prank by Dan Savage in 2003 which linked Santorum's name to a website offering a definition:

Splat_santorum"the frothy mix of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex."

The webpage, which appeared as the top search result when one Googled "Santorum", no longer appears in the top search results (although the blog, connected to the site currently ranks sixth), according to Savage.

This, of course, is what Rick Santorum asked Google to do months ago. Google told Santorum they couldn't, they told Santorum they wouldn't, because www.spreadingsantorum.com was the legit #1 search result when you Googled his last name. It wasn't a Google bomb, we weren't gaming Google's algoribbons or whatever. We were legit.

But tonight we're gone. I'm not too sad about it—hey, we had a good run!—but I am a little mystified. Why now? Was it intentional? Did Google cave to the pressure?

Unfortunately for Rick, the new top-ranking result is the Urban Dictionary's definition of the term, which Savage notes is even cruder. Savage launched the site after Santorum made remarks comparing homosexuality to "man on dog" sex.

It's unclear why the ranking has changed, and could be because of recent changes to Google's search algorithms. 'Spreading Santorum' still ranks in the top spots on Bing and Yahoo!

Comments

  1. says

    everyone that frowns upon the Spreading Santorum campaign misses the point – in the grand scheme of things Santorum being synonymous with …well…you know, is actually less humiliating, embarrassing and offensive than being associated with a member of the actual Santorum family.

    know this: nobody with the last name Santorum is upset about the “frothy” connotation – they’re upset that people will think they’re related to bigot extraordinaire Rick Santorum.

  2. Blake says

    I don’t know what’s funnier. The fact that the neologistic definition for Santorum is not going away, or the fact that Dan Savage apparently thinks “algoribbons” is a word. That aint no autocorrect failure. lol, algoribbon, hah! So derpy it’s almost as ‘tarded as that time my cousin asked “wait, are lobsters a fish?”.

  3. Rational says

    strangely when you Google the word “santorum”
    there is a not very clearly marked advertisement for “Santorum For President – Elect The True Conservative”, followed by a graph saying “Results for U.S. Republican Presidential Primaries” Both of which appear to be the search results for the name…

  4. aj says

    so everyone who reads this still needs to goggle “Santorum” then click on the Urban Dictionary that action should drive enough responses to move “the urdan dictionary” selection up right now it’s #3

  5. jack says

    I am no fan of Santorum, to put it mildly. However that immature vulgar stunt by Savage should have been taken down in 2003. Furthermore, it has always seemed to me more of a negative comment about some gay men who don’t know how to properly prep for anal sex. So they hump around in a “frothy mix of lube and fecal matter”. Disgusting!

  6. says

    can’t help but disagree with you, Jack.

    what’s more “vulgar” – the new definition of Santorum, or the synonymous-with-ignorant-bigotry definition that Santorum is himself responsible for?

    secondly, there’s nothing remotely “gay” about santorum – and truth be told us gays know how to prep for sex properly. methinks Santorum will be a hetero, or new-to-gay-sex problem.

    there’s a very easy way to avoid Santorum – know what you’re doing and prep accordingly.

    similarly, there’s a very easy way to avoid having your name become synonymous with something disgusting – know the facts and realities of life and don’t lie and spread bigotry against others.

    duh.

  7. Jason says

    My career is in Search Engine Optimization, and I’ve been wondering for some time if/when this would happen, so I can probably provide some insight into this. And sadly, I can’t think of anything being the reason for this change other than Google finally bucking to pressure to deliver a more “relevant” (or less “icky”) result. Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan examines some of the possibilities in an article today (http://searchengineland.com/santorum-no-longer-a-byproduct-of-anal-sex-according-to-google-113214?utm_campaign=tweet&utm_source=socialflow&utm_medium=twitter) but they’re all fairly far-fetched to me.

    There’s an important distinction to note, here: this is not a “Google bomb” akin to the George W. Bush “miserable failure” result from several years ago. That was driven entirely by external links and the destination page never used that term, a practice that scarcely (if ever) works anymore. Instead, Dan Savage’s attack on Rick Santorum was semi-brilliant, because he a) created an actual definition for the word “Santorum” itself and b) created a page that was specifically optimized for that term and c) no matter how gross, chose a definition that was actually quite topical in regards to Santorum’s 2003 comments about the gay community. In other words, the intent here was always to deliver relevant information to someone who was researching a public figure, and aside from the crude definition itself most of the rest of the site was pretty newsy content about Rick Santorum.

    Also, more evidence that this is manual tinkering: 1) the Urban Dictionary page is currently #1 for most users, and it’s for the same definition and 2) I and many of my friends have “+1″ed the spreadingsantorum.com page and I’m not seeing it on the first page at all despite that Google’s personalized results would now almost always elevate such a thing. Classic example of a manual -10 or -30 penalty

    Essentially, this was a piece of “fair game” political journalism that, nearly a decade on, became very relevant again. Google has decided to push the result down in the search results to make the search results more palatable to the right, and lessen the voice of criticism from a minority group. That’s alarming, but not remotely surprising given the state of Google in 2012.

  8. RyanInSacto says

    Jack, are you telling us that straight people do not have anuses or that they do not excrete feces? Either one of these would be monumental scientific discoveries!

  9. says

    the galling reality is that “santorum” as a frothy byproduct of badly-prepped-for anal sex is actually less disgusting than the world of misinformation and bigotry Santorum spews daily.

    ten bucks says his granchildren want to their names changed and their DNA fumigated.

  10. jack says

    No Ryan, what I am saying is that a gay man named Savage came up with this definition of Santorum as “a frothy mix of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the by product of anal sex”. That is an immature and vulgar thing to do to someone. Even to someone one whose politics you strongly disagree with. Also, correctly or not anal sex is mostly associated with gay men. To suggest that some gay men are humping around in a “frothy mix of lube and fecal matter is really insulting to gay men.

  11. Mary says

    The reason that it is good for the “spreading Santorum” website to be down is because the gay community as a whole will suffer by being linked with it – even indirectly. This was a 1960’s-type stunt that was bound to backfire. We have a 44 year history to show that tactics like this from the cultural Left only push people further to the right. I know from experience. Liberals still haven’t completely recovered from the damage caused in the 60’s era. Google did everyone a favor by getting rid of this website. All of us, straight or gay, liberal or conservative, are adults. We’re capable of more mature ways to communicate than smearing someone’s name. The excellent analysis we find on Towleroad is proof of this – as well as the tolerance that Andy and Brandon show in letting me post here.

    Just as Rick Santorum (as much as I love him) is capable of better than juvenile comments about how JFK’s words made him “want to vomit” and how Obama is a “snob” for believing that more students should go to college. These comments are more worthy of a strutting adolescent than a US presidential candidate.

    Kiwi, forgive me for provoking you here, and I know how you feel about Rick Santorum, but what if the guy actually becomes president? It could happen. Do we really want a president’s last name to be synonymous with fecal matter and lubricant frothing up? Dan Savage made his point. Now what he should do is write a memorable essay (and he’s talented enough to do it) arguing against Rick Santorum as president.

  12. Charlie says

    Google has said that they have tightened the criteria for an “official page” and that sites that are not official get a lower ranking. I will mention that the LGBT group I am associated with has a website (glaa.org) where we publish candidate ratings for the city council. For a long time we were in the enviable position of being at the top of the search results when someone entered a candidate name along with DC and Gay. (Except for the gay city council members.) With the new search algorithm we are on the second page of search results at Google. We remain at the top for Bing. I am not please with this development.

    On the other hand Google has been very unresponsive to the need to improve the operation their site. When Google was new it was a wonder of efficiency since the information you sought was readily located. This is not longer the case. There are so many companies promising to do “Search Engine Optimatization” that the results of a Google search typically bury the information you are seeking after many, many pages of unrelated information. Each day on my blog I remove hundreds of items submitted by bots that have no relation to the focus of my site. If someone would address the problems with the Google search engine they might make a lot of money. I think the best way to do that is a distributed network of search engines that focus of specific subject areas. The Usenet taxonomy would be a good start. Or perhaps the framework Yahoo had.

  13. says

    Mary, if your concern is about a President who’s name is synonymous with fecal matter, and not about a president who is literally the Catholic Equivalent to the Ayatollah Khomeini then you are a complete idiot who needs to get your priorities back in order.

    read that paragraph 5 times until it sinks in.

    the problem is not that Savage succeeded in a new definition for Santorum – the PROBLEM is that Rick Santorum is a gallingly bigoted and deeply prejudiced and dishonest man.

    the gay community hasn’t suffered because of the spreading santorum site. the community has suffered, “Mary”, in large part because of people like YOU who continue to cling to pathetically inept and deeply unintelligent fears of “what will happen to the future if gays can marry!”

    If Rick Santorum didn’t want his name to come up and bring to mind visions of anal sex then he should have STOPPED OBSESSIVELY TALKING ABOUT MALE MALE ANAL SEX for the last 15 freakin’ years.

    literally.

    Jack, your fears and comments are ridiculous and should be ignored.
    Mary, you’re still an idiot.

    If Santorum becomes President the USA can prepare to be the biggest laughingstock on the planet. Truly. But it won’t be because of spreadingsantorum, it will be because enough bigoted nitwits voted for Captain Ridiculous, and thus you’ll make the USA look like a country populated by the absolute dumbest, most whitetrash dunces in the world.

    That he, as a Catholic, can’t understand that JFK’s legendary and inspiring speech about the separation of Church and State is truly astonishing. Rick Santorum owes a debt to JFK – but he’s either too stupid or too bigoted to see it.

  14. says

    and mary, as much as you “love” Rick Santorum, i “love” knowing that you will never marry, never have children, and will blessedly die alone 😀

    but it’s ok you can hold rick santorum close to your heart.

    you dismiss his comments as “juvenile”…his comments, which he’s been making his entire political career, are responsible for the culture of prejudice, bigotry and intolerance that has continued to drive so many young people to end their lives.

    so yeah, mary, i think very little of you. but so does God, and that’s why He’s seeing to it that you die without popping any buns out of your oven. for that, i’m thankful.

  15. jack says

    Little Kiwi: I live in Pa and have been following Santorum’s political career from its beginning. I have always voted against him and was overjoyed when the last time he ran he lost by over 700,000 votes. He has always been opposed to civil rights protection for LGBT folks. However you should stick to the facts. He has never “obsessively talked about male male anal sex”. Just because you put it in caps doesn’t make it true. You mentioned that my “fears and comments are rediculous and should be ignored”. Truth is there isn’t much that I am afraid of. Least of all any comments from Little Kiwis.

  16. says

    Jack, learn nuance – he doesn’t talk about lesbian couples. he doesn’t talk about woman on woman. understand the very specific statements from the santorums of the world – equating gay to mean MEN HAVING ANAL SEX and “gay marriage” to mean the exact same thing.

    then, of course, are his comments that gay people are of Satan. that ‘we’re no different than child rapists or people who have sex with dogs.

    but if you think his anti-gay rhetoric has not been delivered in such a way to make people think about MEN HAVING ANAL SEX you’re sorely mistaken.

  17. Mary says

    Kiwi, it’s amazing how you think you speak for the entire gay community. Also how you think you speak for God. And for the record, Mary is my real first name. And you have no idea of my marital status as I never discussed the subject. As for not having kids, this only gives me more time for political activism – be careful what you wish for! My “love” for Rick Santorum is meant in the political sense of that term only . I’m not about to seek him out personally and try to get him to pull a “Gingrich” so I can be his next wife. Especially since the first thing he’d want to do is insist that I not read or post on Towleroad anymore (ain’t no way that’s happening, I’ll tell you!)

    But your’re wrong if you think that what Savage did won’t hurt the gay community. It isn’t widely known yet by swing voters. But it will be soon. All the successes you’ve had recently on the marriage equality front are impressive and I’m happy for all of you here, but this issue is going to be battled for a number of years to come. Only so many states in the US are liberal. You won’t be seeing marriage equality pass in 4 states every year. And the news from North Carolina and Minnesota later this year isn’t likely to be gay-friendly news. There may already be backlashes due to Washington state, Maryland, and the DOMA decision. It isn’t wise to add fuel to the fire, so to speak.

    And Raymond, can’t you come up with some original material? How many times can you mention my unused ovaries? It is, as Sarah Palin would put it, “lamestream.” But it’s OK, kiddo! I’m still one of your biggest fans!

    BTW, do YOU plan on having children? And what would they be called? Baby Kiwis? Little mini-me Kiwis? Pee-wee Kiwis?

  18. Polyboy says

    So Google is evil. So much for the company slogan.

    They should change it to:

    “Do evil better than any one else.”

  19. Mary says

    “How could anyone claim to love Santorum? I don’t need to cover the reasons”

    Sorry for that comment, Paul. I didn’t mean it to sound provocative.

  20. Mic says

    Mary, Jack; you both are a pair of top-notch Morons. Your pathetic attempts at justifyng the bigot Santorum are completely laughable. He is a pig. You two are shlls. Pack up your troll carts and ply your Moron Kingdoom elsewhere. Christ, what a pair of tired old bitches.

  21. jack says

    Hey MIC you might learn to read. Not only am I not a shill for Santorum but have always voted against him. I am a lifelong liberal democrat who participated in civil rights demonstrations as far back as 1965. However, I do not abandon reason when I am discussing the important issues of the day. You seem to mistake civility for weakness. You really like calling people names: Pig, Moron, Shill, Troll Bitches. All in one little paragraph. Get a hold of yourself. Your bloodpressure is probably going through the roof.

  22. Kenneth says

    For the record: Dan Savage DID NOT come up with the fitting definition of santorum, His readers did. He, rightfully incensed by the frothy one’s assertion that gay men are the equivalent of pedophiles, deviants, and men who have sex with dogs, put forth an invitation to his readers, many of whom are wait for it…straight, to redefine ricky’s last name. The winning submission, by an overwhelming number of votes from the same readers, defines santorum as “the frothy mix…” which shall follow the scum bucket until the end of his days.
    Incidentally, Mary, you are delusional if you think swing voters a: would vote for the oh so extreme frothy and b: you think they don’t already know about frothy”s “google problem.” If they didn’t know, it wouldn’t be a problem!

  23. sara says

    I still see spreading Santorum on the first page if a little further down the page. The second item is the urban dictionary Santorum.

  24. aj says

    Folks Keep “Goggling” Santorum, earlier this eve the Urban Dictionary was in 3rd Place it is now in Second place the first place is a chart of “presidential primary results” Whatever!!! KEEP GOGGLING!!!

  25. TJ says

    Oh, the things you miss by not looking at a post!

    I don’t know if anyone has done an actual study on this particular issue, but I think a great many people think Santorum is a dangerous nut job. I don’t think that many people who think he is a nut job have any problem with the definition of Santorum. Certainly, most of my straight friends think it’s pretty funny. I just don’t understand how this works as a negative and will produce a backlash, but then, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t think he is a nut job. Or who can’t separate a juicy insult from from a deserving object. It’s not the insult, it’s the man, that shapes opinion.

  26. jack says

    TJ, I think Santorum is a “nut job”. However, I think the whole discussion of the “frothy mix of lube and fecal matter as sometimes being the by-product of anal sex” makes all male gay sex seem disgusting.Because whether correct or not anal sex is associated almost exclusively with gay men. I wonder, if your straight friends think that some gay men are humping around in that “frothy mix” if they don’t privately say to each other: thats disgusting.

  27. TJ says

    Dear JACK – there is ALWAYS the problem of the wet spot. Doesn’t matter which sort of sex one is having. And if one has sex, no matter what sort of sex one has, some sort of mess is involved. People who have sex get the humor. In this case, the delight comes in making Rick sleep in a wet spot of his own making. He demonizes gay people. Therefore, the wet spot of gay anal sex gets to be his albatross.

  28. jack says

    Hey TJ my partner and I have been having all kind of sex for more years than I will admit. We always prepped for anal sex and in all our years of some pretty hot sex, we never have had a “frothy mix of lube and fecal matter”. Just sayin.

  29. jack says

    You lose Markus. The adults are in charge now.You may want to go out and glitter him. You will be just as effective. Or you may want to do what adults do and register to vote and register all your neighbors, volunteer in a democratic candidates race and if you have a job contribute to a pac that supports democrats.

  30. says

    Is my Google broken, or am I late to the party? The SpreadSantorum campaign is number one when I search for him? Hmm…

  31. Geoffrey says

    Not sure why any of you are wasting your keystrokes (and brain power) on Rick Santorum, he has about as much chance of becoming POTUS as I do.

  32. Perkin Warbeck says

    Mary: if Santorum becomes your President, then the rest of the world will gladly turns its collective back on you. We aren’t interested in dealing with a bigoted religious crank. Sort it out yourselves and when you are ready to rejoin the human family of nations get back to us.

  33. michael says

    I’m in France and when you google “santorum,” the Spreading Santorum site is the top site on the page. Oui!!!!!

  34. TJ says

    But JACK, it’s just not as funny if it’s too hygienic. But even if one doesn’t get a wee bit of debris (and for some, achieving the clean wet spot involves a learning curve), sex is messy (if you do it right). For everyone, gay or straight. Not all girls swallow. And douching isn’t just to get that “oh so fresh” feeling (see the great Joanne Woodward movie, “Rachel,Rachel”). Given Santorum’s position on all sorts of sexual morality, one might consider also identifying him with the mess made during “period” sex.

    Okay, now I’ve gone too far.

  35. says

    Mary, you “love” santorum Politically?

    you love a man who is against higher-education, because it’s easier to control uneducated dolts and keep them in lower-level positions so his Upper Class Cronies can continue to benefit?

    you love a man whose approach to his religion is truly no different than that Ayatollah Ks approach to Islam?

    What Savage did did not hurt the Gay Community, nor will it. What Santorum has done for close to 20 years has been devastating to the LGBT Communities.

    SpreadingSantorum? pointing out how disgusting it is that this grown man has spent nearly two decades vilifying, demonizing and spreading bigoted lies about LGBT people?

    you’re more concerned about the SpreadingSantorum website than the sheer reality that Santorum wants to run a Catholic Country, and is clearly so committe to bigotry that he’s willfully misunderstood JFK’s landmark speech?

    you’re a complete idiot.

  36. says

    “santorum” is not a problem for gay men. gay men know this.
    “santorum” is a problem for self-hating closeted men who dont’ know how to prep because they only get their action in a CPAC washroom

    fact.

    😀

  37. Mary says

    Kiwi, as you can see I’m someone who started out anti-gay politically and has moved to a more pro-gay position politically. Although I’d still be called “homophobic” by most gay people’s standards my views have “evolved” somewhat (I mean, I’m on Towleroad, aren’t I?) So don’t you think I know what it would take to make a neutral or anti-gay voter less hostile? I’m almost 51 and have been a poliitcal activist for 30 years. Also, the community I was raised in contains a lot of the former-urban ethnic Democrats turned independents who are just the type of swing voter Obama will need to win in November. A lot of these people are Catholic (not religious, but nominally Catholic.) Knowledge of the “spreading Santorum” website will cause Rick to get sympathy from them. You say this website hasn’t hurt the gay community? Well Santorum hasn’t run for president before, so there’s no way to know. But take my word for it, most swing voters won’t find this funny. Santorum will become, to them, a victim of the arrogant cultural Left. Dan Savage will be seen as the Jerry Rubin of 2012. This is not what the gay community needs. These voters are already dealing with the emotional change of seeing two men put rings on each other’s fingers and take wedding vows publicly. Don’t overwhelm them with unnnecessary attacks on their sensibilities.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Obama will need all the culture war tranquility you can give him if he’s to get reelected. The political establishments of Washington state, Maryland, and New Jersey should have left marriage equality for next year and given public opinion another year to “catch up.” But now all they’ll do is assure a larger vote for whoever the Republicans nominate.

    Kiwi, you always say “fact.” Well, here’s a fact. In the past 50 years we have never seen a Republican presidential candidate defeated for being too far to the right culturally. Not one. Even Goldwater’s loss, which occured nearly 50 years ago, was due to his economic views.

    Your best bet for neutralizing the opposition is to take the Jonathan Rauch approach. He’s the one most responsible for the changes in my attitude toward gays, so I know what works and what doesn’t. What people will tell pollsters isn’t what they will necessarily do in the voting booth. Take my word for it, folks. Santorum is electable.