Google Ranks High in Press Release Mentions

Times Staff Writer

Within the cult of Google, no victory is too small to celebrate. Or to publicize.

Echoing the giddiest days of the dot-com boom, small companies are issuing press releases that trumpet any affirmation they get from online superstar Google Inc., even if it’s just a bump in the Web search titan’s rankings.

The Robotic Industries Assn., for instance, reported that the PageRank -- a geeky metric Google uses as one factor in its search algorithm -- for its Robotics Online website had risen “from a solid ‘five’ to an even stronger ‘seven out of 10.’ ”

“One more reason to celebrate” the association’s 30th anniversary, its press release proclaimed.


Source Direct Holdings Inc. of Idaho Falls, Idaho, which makes a cleaning product called Simply Wow, thought it necessary to tell the world that it had finally “achieved a top-response search engine ranking on one of the world’s best-known search engines.”

What that meant was that when people type “Simply Wow” into Google’s search box, the top website to appear is that of, yep, Simply Wow.

The press-release frenzy echoes the 1990s, when companies would trumpet their affiliations, however loose, with dot-com darlings such as Inc.

Investors seem to appreciate the name-dropping. Synergy Brands Inc., a holding company on Long Island in New York, watched its shares soar 42% the day it said its cigar-selling websites would become “select merchants” in Google’s comparison shopping service, Froogle.

“It’s irrational exuberance,” said Synergy Brands Chairman Mair Faibish, who pointed out that cigars make up only 5% of the company’s $55 million in annual sales.

Meanwhile, the streak to which these smaller players have hitched their wagons lost some of its momentum. Google shares closed at $179.39 on Friday in Nasdaq trading, up $4.63, but off their peak of $201.60.

Nathan Weinberg, a New York-based blogger who has ridiculed the rash of Google- oriented releases, had a suggestion: “Perhaps Google can boost its stock by announcing it has entered a strategic partnership with Google?”