I twitted this, but I think it deserves a fuller exploration. Is it possible to Googlebomb Google’s own search-box completion content via sheer volume of queries? Presumably the things you get are based on search popularity modulated by recentness, which is why typing in “blagojevich go” gives you “-vernor” first followed by “-lden.” That makes sense, but that means it’s also vulnerable to mobbing.

Say I run a company called Adkins AC, selling air conditioners. Getting my site to the top of the results for “air conditioner” is going to be extremely difficult, requiring either a lot of time and work, or a lot of money to SEO spammers whose efforts will eventually get me deranked anyway. I can buy an Adword, but in the summer that’s going to run through my budget pretty fast. Another vector of attack would be to just get a whole lot of people to search for “air conditioner adkins ac,” which is going to put me much closer to the top in the dropdown suggestions.

Now even if I make all my friends and business contacts do that, it’s not really going to affect Google’s giant sample pool. But if I pay a few thousand bucks to somebody who runs a botnet, I could have a million PCs searching for “air conditioner adkins ac” in a randomized, staggered pattern from February to April. By the time things start heating up in May, I’m the first suggestion result, and I’ve probably spent less money than a consistent Adword would cost.

Yes, this is all illegal, but much less detectably so than SEO or email spam. The botnet owners could probably make good money this way too, since you could take on hundreds of customers at a time, and the market for DDOSes-on-demand can’t really be growing that much. Now I’ve fixed the economy! Well, someone’s economy.

I know the Googlebomb wars are kind of a thing of the past, since Google’s gotten much better at deranking targeted efforts to mess with Pagerank, but suggestions are a whole different frontier–and like most frontiers, I’m guessing it’s not well policed.