Michael Phelps Google Results Drastically Change

    February 2, 2009

In case you missed the news, Olympic superstar Michael Phelps was caught on camera smoking cannabis from a bong.

Say it with me: IDIOT!

While Phelps has admitted the photo is legitimate–and apologized to his fans–there can be no doubt that for an athlete of Phelps’ caliber, any scandal that involves drugs is going to have a hugely negative effect on his reputation.

To prove just how quickly a squeaky clean Google reputation can come crashing down, here’s a look at Michael Phelps’ Google reputation after just 24 hours!

If the swimmer’s sponsors decide that they no longer wish to be associated with a drug-taking athlete, Phelps could lose as much as $100 million in endorsements.

Some observations:

  1. It didn’t take very long for the negative news to hit Google’s search results.
  2. Despite many, many positive web pages about Phelps, this proves that a scandal can easily infiltrate the first ten links.
  3. Google is already suggesting “michael phelps smoking weed” as an alternative search suggestion. What’s interesting is that this is not showing up in Google Suggest for the search box, which indicates that the “searches related to” algorithm at the footer of search results may be based on very recent search queries–with Google Suggest using a larger timescale for its suggestions.