Posted August 23, 2008 3:36 pm by with 15 comments

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Back in June of 2007, we conducted an in-depth analysis of the search engine reputation of the presidential candidates in contention. As part of our report, we noted that of the Democratic hopefuls, Barack Obama had zero negative search results–the best of all Democrats. Who had the most negative search results?

Joe Biden.

Yep, the newly anointed running mate to Barack Obama had more negative search results–across Google and Yahoo–than any of the 8 candidates, vying for the Democratic nomination.

Before you rush off to review Joe Biden’s search results in Google today, keep in mind that the freshness of Google’s results mean that Biden’s naming as Obama’s vice president, will skew the current sentiment.

While search engine sentiment doesn’t remain static–John McCain made dramatic improvements to his, when we checked again in February 2008–Joe Biden is a strange choice for Barack Obama.

So, do I have any suggestions for John McCain? Well, the search engines aren’t exactly a crystal ball, but if Google results are anything to go by, Ron Paul has maintained the best reputation of all Republican hopefuls. Something to think about, John. 😉

  • Brian Carter

    Your comments are researching are interesting- I wonder if negative sentiment, though, is directly or inversely proportional to electability?

    It’s probably apples and oranges to compare party nomination and party selection with success in the general election, and I don’t know if your reputation research can go back in time or not, but it would be interesting to see how this shook out in past general elections…

    I suspect any good candidate in this partisan environment would have a serious amount of negative sentiment. I’m not sure how it’s possible Obama has none- there are certainly conservatives saying negative things about him-

    Also can I question your methodology? What if Obama just has better SEO people working for him? Wouldn’t he have more positive top 20 results? That’s not a clear indicator that there’s no negative sentiment against him.

    I guess this raises a lot of questions about how many social media sources you need to use to get a complete picture of the sentiment for a candidate, as well as how looking at only online sentiment skews the results when so much of the country is not quite so tech-savvy.

  • Andy Beal

    @Brian – some valid questions. This is really just one metric to measure. That said, it did correctly predict Obama and McCain as the front-runners. :-)

  • RSS Ray

    You’ve got to be kidding us with this post, right?

    Normally your stuff is much more informative and not politically slanted. Now I’m not sure who I am going to vote for but I do realize Biden has a much longer career than most any other Democratic candidate at the time you mention and was involved in much more than most. Common sense would dictate that a 35 year career in the Senate would produce tons of content indexed by Google, some of which is bound to be negative. No surprise about your McCain/Obama February 2007 results…McCain’s reputation of being a maverick and Obama’s lack of Senate experience were bound to create the result you reached.

    There are also variances in the relative strengths of the online marketing efforts for the respective candidates that could be a factor as well.

    You’re normally right on in your postings but I’m not sure this one brings your readers any true value.

  • Kevin Norman

    I found this post very interesting because the internet has proven to be an important resource for where people find info on who they’ll vote for.

    Kevin Norman’s last blog post..It’s true – email is taking over your life

  • Andy Beal

    @RSS Ray – thanks for adding your opinion. I’m not making any political statements, merely noting an interesting observation and updating a previous reputation management series.

  • Utah SEO Pro

    Obama definitely needs to teach him a thing or two about ORM.

    Utah SEO Pro’s last blog post..Building an SEO Friendly Site – SES San Jose 2008 Presentation

  • Goran Web Design

    Well with so many years active in politics, Joe Bidin is bound to have more negativity reflecting on him, as he has accumulated a lot on his record throughout the years. So I wouldn’t really judge him on that, it just shows that he has been in the game for quite a long time, and being still active regardless should speak volumes of the man. Politics, politics… I hate em.

  • Nicole Price

    The opposites attract! Great team is likely to come out of this then!!

    Nicole Price’s last blog post..The Most Expensive?.

  • Fifty Studio

    Maybe I’m being critical, but I don’t find any relevance to studies that say someone has ZERO negative anything about them whether the negative stuff is true or not.

    The Ron Paul phenomena really means nothing more than that he has an online audience. Does that audience vote? Signs point to no.

    Fifty Studio’s last blog post..Twitter Spam Block List

  • Jaan Kanellis

    McCain/Paul? I can only wish.

    Jaan Kanellis’s last blog post..Search Marketing Standard Acquired by iNET Interactive

  • Ashley

    So can I

  • franki

    Obama definitely needs to teach

  • Tiffany

    I agree that Joe Biden is a strange choice for Barack Obama as I read many negative opinion about Joe Biden.

  • Peter Monroe

    Interesting. But it doesn’t mean much. I missed why this is significant.

    Peter Monroe’s last blog post..Peter Monroe

  • Peter Monroe

    The September 4 entry was not posted by Peter Monroe The real Peter Monroe