Markoff's unnamed sources are unreliable
I suspect that Mr. Markoff's unnamed sources are pulling his leg again, or perhaps he is over-dramatizing some hearsay. The only time I've spoken with Markoff was to insist on a correction to an article that appeared in the New York Times on June 22, 2004. Here's the correction that was appended to the article:
"An article in Business Day on Tuesday about a revised prospectus for the initial public stock offering of Google misidentified the source of a 'Google bomb,' a form of online manipulation that causes a designated Web page to appear as the first response to a particular phrase search. (In this case, the tactic caused the search engine to reply to the phrase 'out of touch management' by displaying a Web page that described Google's top management.) While a person close to the company said Google employees had engaged in the practice, Daniel Brandt, the operator of a Web site critical of Google, later acknowledged that he was the source."
My effort was a modest little bomb that caused the phrase "out-of-touch executives" or "out-of-touch management" to show Google's corporate-executives page at number one. It took only a few links on a few domains to do this.
By the way, Google did a "hand job" and killed my bomb the following month. Now here was some real news, because Google constantly claimed at that time that they never mess with decisions made by their brilliant computers. Guru Danny Sullivan himself swore up and down that Google would never do such a thing, and he and I argued at length over this. The bomb still works in Yahoo and Bing, by the way, even though I took down my links immediately after Google's hand job.
This important news about the hand job didn't get reported by NYT. My next Google bomb will be "out-of-touch reporters." Will that one get blamed on his NYT colleagues, or will Markoff's editors catch him this time?