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    Quite a few prominent bloggers, including Ethan Zuckerman of Global Voices, confirmed early on in the Free Alaa campaign that Google bombing does not work. Someone at Google told Ethan that the search engine sniffs out these campaigns and regards them as bad practice.

    On the other hand, bloggers did succeed in getting a lot of mainstream media exposure for Alaa. Egyptian Sandmonkey and Manal were interviewed on CNN and several articles were published in the Western press. Yael (Olehgirl) and I were interviewed by a Cairo-based Spanish reporter who was interested in knowing why Israeli bloggers were joining the online campaign to free Alaa; we were both quoted in the article that was published a few days later. So now Spanish readers have been informed that Israelis and Arabs were working together to free an Arab political prisoner.

    There's no way of judging whether the publicity influenced the decision to release Alaa, of course, but I do think that raising awareness of the Egyptian regime's repressive, anti-democratic policies is a good thing.


    I'm sure it was worthwhile to raise awareness of Alaa's arbitrary imprisonment as a blogger and pro-democracy activist, and that it was a campaign which attracted Israeli and Jewish bloggers as well as others.

    Would I have joined the campaign if I'd known that googlebombing didn't work, and that it's regarded as bad practice by Google? Probably not.

    I think there's food for thought there about the need to go on finding ways to devise campaigns that capture people's imagination (or, as in my case, appeal to my subversive instincts) without adopting bad internet practice.

    And I didn't pick up on any of the posts I read by fellow googlebombers that it had emerged that it was regarded as bad practice.

    What also still interests me is whether we will get any evidence of how the Egyptian authorities were affected by the campaign.


    I sort of doubt that the Egyptian authorities were directly influenced by the bloggers' campaign to free Alaa. Actually, I'd be surprised to learn that they read blogs at all. But it seems reasonable to assume that that they watch CNN and read the mainstream Western press, which did pick up on the story from blogs. So perhaps blogging had an indirect influence.

    No-one knew going in that Google bombing was bad practice. That discovery was made after the campaign was already well underway. Google bombing was an idea that one blogger suggested and it gathered steam quickly because it's (a) easy and (b) (let's face it) appealingly populist.

    I guess that a lot of bloggers who participated in the Google bomb would not otherwise have written about Alaa, so perhaps the wrong thing was (unintentionally) done for the right reason.


    I want to vote but I can't dowload the rriequed forms from the website. Whenever I write down my ID number on the website, I get a message saying This service is available for those who'll vote in round 1 , please visit us later for round 2 & 3 voting . I can't understand what that means. Will the voting for Egyptians abroad be divided into 3 rounds? and which round shall I join? and if it's only 1 round and the last date for submitting papers is tomorrow the 26th, how can I vote and send a letter by post that arrives to London tomorrow while I can't even dowload the forms ??? !!!!!!!!!

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