Why I’m Suing Google for Early April Tomfoolery

By DOM Team| 5 Min Read | April 2, 2008

Easter Sunday I had to spend with the mother-in-law.

Honestly, it wasn’t or isn’t as stark and foreboding an occasion as I made it sound in that particularly bleak sentence. I like my mother-in-law a lot – she doesn’t think I do and I never tell I do, but I feel better for having the subconscious upper hand. Think of it like in-law emotional arm wrestling and, in that metaphorical regard, I’m the snapper of tendons.

But if she didn’t snap back by making me a birthday cake and combining an Easter and birthday tea all in to one. I’m all for killing two birds with one stone.

I won’t go into attendees as I’ll be here until a week next Thursday. Suffice it to say, we had a full dining table. I can’t recall the last time I had to blow out non-comedic candles in front of a full throng, but I don’t doubt for a second that my lungs weren’t the deflated tar sacks they are now.

Library Photo

As the singing abated I psyched myself for the mother of all puffs and let rip. It’s a fairly safe bet to say my lungs are in pretty decent shape as I managed to blow every single candle out instantaneously in a scene reminiscent of your average spooky flick when a door nearly blows itself off its hinges and immediately snuffs out every flame in the house. Whether this was due to my Superman breath or the accompanying spittle that doused the entire cake I’m not totally sure. However, the entire female contingent “ewwwwed” for a good ten minutes until my mother-in-law noticed that I’d also managed to blow molten wax all over her shiny table.

Oh dear.

I expected the incessant tutting and noises of disgust from her, but I didn’t from the youngest person sat at the table – a ten-year-old lass called Maddy. Not only was she the youngest, but the most mature, and possibly the most clued up.

Her and Steph were having a chat and Maddy asked what I did for a living. Steph told her I helped Web sites rank in search engines and make businesses more money. She also must’ve explained the difference between the ppc listings and the organic listings while they were sat at the computer. By the time Steph had finished her explanation, Maddy managed to recap by suggesting that you could get a site to rank and place ads on the site itself and make money when people click on the ads.

I don’t know if Google’s Adsense had been mentioned, but it seemed that it only took her ten minutes to go to the dark side and work out a basic spam model. Brilliant….

Talking of spam, useful idiots and ten year olds, Loren Baker in Search Engine Journal rounded up all the general japing that goes along with your average April Fool’s day online:

The blogger / search marketer / prankster in me loves this stuff, but what about the average Internet user or 10 year old student who has no idea that what is supposed to be news is infact, a prank on their behalf.

It really must be an absolute hoot being a Googler. Every year they surpass themselves by integrating some gag or other into some service or other. This year we had Gmail ‘Custom Time’ highlighted as a new feature when you signed in to your account.

Oh those phD search boffins and their pranks.

But I honestly had to take issue with Loren as I read his post wondering if anybody would be daft enough to fall for any of this stuff. After all, I’ve just proved that a ten year old is fully capable of conceptualizing ‘made for adsense’ spam sites within ten minutes of having search engines explained to them – and badly. Surely the very act of being able to use the Internet raises a high enough bar over which your everyday meathead is unable to jump.

On leaving work yesterday, I regaled this tale to my good wife, Steph, and asked her what she’d done site-wise (you see, she’s my SEO stay-at-home sweatshop lackey).

Apparently she’d done very little as her mother had called her earlier in the day to tell her that Fox News had been talking about all manner of weird things happening when you click on search results. Steph confirmed this in her own mind as she’d seen a black version of the Google search page the day before:


After I’d cleared up that the black Google page was for Earth Day, I shook my head in utter bewilderment that she’d:

a) fallen for an April’s Fool.
b) taken the word of her Web challenged mother on anything Internet related.

Then again, her mother’s probably still scraping small globules off solidified wax off her best dining suite.

It’s possibly funnier for them folks at the Googleplex as they mine every last bit of conceivable data relating to click thrus for their jimminy jokester landing pages.

Brilliant boys and girls, but Loren might just have a point; and I might just be suing Google’s backside for the princely sum of $3.28 in lost productivity seeming that’s what I pay the wife.

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