Does Rick Santorum Really Have a Google Problem?

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Years ago, gay columnist Dan Savage created an alternate definition for the word "santorum," after then-Senator Rick Santorum compared the issue of gay marriage to pedophilia and bestiality. Savage launched the website SpreadingSantorum.com in 2003 to retaliate against the arch conservative. The site defines "santorum" as "the frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex" and encourages the usage of the term. Since the coinage, the site has risen through the Google ranks and now sits higher than the senator's own campaign page (likewise, if you Google "santorum," the Wikipedia page that appears first is the one for the "sexual neologism"). Now that Santorum has dutifully been making appearances in key primary states, lining up his ducks in order to launch a presidential run, Mother Jones thinks he has a serious Google problem.

"This is an unusual problem," Michael Fertik, CEO of ReputationDefender, told the magazine. "It's devastating. This is one of the more creative and salient Google issues I've ever seen."

It's certainly creative, but it's hardly deadly. Santorum's been flying under the radar for years now and his campaign site only has 5,000 inbound links, compared to the 13,000 that SpreadingSantorum has. But if and when he becomes a mainstream candidate, of course that will change, and hugely. In addition, with a savvy web strategy and the purchase of paid search results, he could make the Google issue go away relatively easily (if not cheaply).

Still, Dan Savage hasn't been working on his SpreadingSantorum campaign for years now, and it has nowhere to go but up. "I've sort of been in denial about the fact that Rick Santorum is going to run for president," he told Mother Jones. "But now I'm going to have to sic my flying monkeys on him." Not that this is necessarily a net negative for Santorum; It's not like he was going to have much luck getting the gays to include him in their pillow talk otherwise.

Rick Santorum's Anal Sex Problem [Mother Jones]