Rick Santorum may have a problem pulling off upset wins in GOP primaries, but he no longer has a Google problem. After years during which people got a vulgar term for anal sex as their first result when they searched the word “Santorum,” the site responsible for the prank has been bumped out of Google’s top five results.
For months, Santorum pleaded with Google, to no avail, to remove the vile definition propagated by the site “Spreading Santorum” from the search engine results. But it seems an extended run at or near the top of the GOP primary polls was the right medicine to knock the nasty definition out of the top search spot.
While the offending site still appears on the first page, links to Santorum’s campaign website, his Wikipedia page and Google news results all appear above “Spreading Santorum,” which was created by prankster columnist and gay rights activist Dan Savage in retaliation for anti-gay comments Santorum made in 2003.
External links to Savage’s definition, such as a similar Urban Dictionary description, still appear in the top five results.
Back in September, when Santorum publicly called on Google to amend the search results, Google spokesman Gabriel Stricker said the search engine does ”not remove content from our search results, except in very limited cases such as illegal content and violations of our webmaster guidelines.”
“Google’s search results are a reflection of the content and information that is available on the Web,” Stricker said in a statement. “Users who want content removed from the Internet should contact the webmaster of the page directly.
“Once the webmaster takes the page down from the Web, it will be removed from Google’s search results through our usual crawling process.”
Google did not immediately return a request for comment on the changed search results.