Sunday, March 2, 2008

@goobama - it's's's a misnamed Twitter account and website!

When people aren't talking about BIL and TED's excellent adventure on Twitter, they're talking about the @goobama account on Twitter.

And no, it doesn't have anything to do with the University of Alabama. Apparently, it's related to presidential candidate Barack Obama.

Or is it?

Let's take a look at some of the first tweets from @goobama, dated March 1.

@Scobleizer thanks for being follower #1. You are a major supporter to our very American cause.

Welcome @barackobama and @joevideo I'm glad to see you stand by us on our platform that search engine results can be better! engine results?

Yes, technically the @goobama profile says exactly what their real business is:

Change to believe in... to your Search Engine Results!

Not that you would have guessed this from its avatar, which is a picture of Barack Obama with a superimposed red "o" and yellow "o."

But @goobama supplies a link to their website, And therein lies the picture:

Yup, the red "o" and the yellow "o" on the @goobama avatar, as well as the @goobama logo itself, are a direct violation of Google's Terms of Service:

9.2 Unless you have agreed otherwise in writing with Google, nothing in the Terms gives you a right to use any of Google’s trade names, trade marks, service marks, logos, domain names, and other distinctive brand features.

9.3 If you have been given an explicit right to use any of these brand features in a separate written agreement with Google, then you agree that your use of such features shall be in compliance with that agreement, any applicable provisions of the Terms, and Google's brand feature use guidelines as updated from time to time. These guidelines can be viewed online at (or such other URL as Google may provide for this purpose from time to time).

For example:

Don’t copy or imitate Google's trade dress, including the look and feel of Google web design properties or Google brand packaging, distinctive color combinations, typography, graphic designs, product icons, or imagery associated with Google

So, would YOU want to trust @goobama with a search engine optimization study of your website? I didn't exactly run out and provide these people with my name, phone number, and email address - especially since the owners of the business are not identified anywhere on the site. And this was interesting:

Please fill out the form below, and we will work with our partners in the world of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) to do a thourough assessment of your website, and how they can help you increase traffic and make new customers.

So not only do we not know who @goobama is, it sounds like @goobama is only the middleperson, and that the name, address, and email are passed on to "partners."

Well, let's look at the whois entry for the domain. That should clear things up, shouldn't it?

Domain ID:D151885921-LROR
Created On:29-Feb-2008 18:06:54 UTC
Last Updated On:01-Mar-2008 06:57:10 UTC
Expiration Date:28-Feb-2009 18:06:54 UTC
Sponsoring Registrar:Intercosmos Media Group Inc. (R48-LROR)
Registrant ID:IMG-838480
Registrant Name:Searchak Goobama
Registrant Organization:Goobama for Internet
Registrant Street1:Goobama
Registrant Street2:
Registrant Street3:
Registrant City:Goobama
Registrant State/Province:IL
Registrant Postal Code:90210
Registrant Country:US
Registrant Phone:+1.8000000000
Registrant Phone Ext.:
Registrant FAX:
Registrant FAX Ext.:


Hmmm...false registration information. Yup, these sound like the winners of search engine optimization.

I wanted to see what other people thought of their service but, other than a Chicago Craigslist advertisement, there isn't a lot of information out there about @goobama. But I think I can predict what search optimization advice @goobama and its partners will give:

i suspect that @goobama seo advice consists of "incorporate 'obama' into your website text, even if he doesn't relate to your business."

Ah, the price of fame...

But I'm not the first one to raise the flag, as it were, about @goobama:

tipjoy : @goobama lame: twitter spam? << (2008-03-01 13:43:27)

(Note: the TinyURL in the tweet above no longer works.)

LindaSherman : Are you sure @goobama has to do with Obama? They appear to state they will free us from Google tyranny through SEO on their "about" << (2008-03-02 20:21:56)

Unfortunately, some people are assuming that @goobama was officially sanctioned by the Obama campaign. I won't reproduce those tweets, but you can find them easily enough if you are curious.

I was going to block @goobama, but thankfully they haven't found my Twitter account yet. Lack of notoriety is pleasant at times (but it's interesting who they did target; in addition to Robert Scoble and the true Barack Obama account, @goobama seems to have targeted a number of influencers).

Lesson learned - don't judge a tweeter by its handle.


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