Sunday, June 04, 2017

Bots, malware and fake news … oh my!

How the Trump-Russia Data Machine Games Google to Fool Americans

By Roger Sollenberger | June 1, 2017

A year ago I was part of a digital marketing team at a tech company. We were maybe the fifth largest company in our particular industry, which was drones. But we knew how to game Google, and our site was maxed out. We did our research and geared the content for the major keywords that we knew people used most frequently when they were shopping for drones or researching drones or looking for drone video. We knew our audience: their buying habits, their interests, ages, geography, etc., and soon our Google results were up there with a company that was literally an order of magnitude bigger than we were. A few months later, we were beating them at Google.

Our sales reflected this nearly immediately, but perhaps more importantly, we were perceived as being much bigger and more influential than we actually were. It was unfair and fair at the same time. It’s just how that game is played, everywhere.

But then the giants wised up, poured a ton of people and money into it and squashed us.

Thing is, it doesn’t take all that much to do what we did. Ask any digital marketer. You just need a little experience and a whole lot of time and money. I’m not going to get into the weeds of SEO (search engine optimization). But I am going to say something that sounds completely insane, and warn you that we’re in the middle of something we’ve never experienced in America: a full-on psychological war. And Google, of all places, is a main battlefield.

I’m going to show you one specific weapon in this war that’s being used against you and me and the United States right now: Google. There are other information weapons, such as bots and fake news sites, but other stories have those pretty well covered. But before we get started, though, two things to keep in mind:

First, most of us don’t even know we’re in this war yet. You don’t know when you’ve been wounded, when you’ve been killed. And that’s the whole point: You’re not supposed to.

Second, the attacks in this war aren’t aimed at your enemies. You attack your own side.

(More here.)


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