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Try this. Type â€śchurch,â€ť â€śOld Testamentâ€ť or even â€śfriendâ€ť into Google, and the Web site of the LDS church, the Mormons, pops up near the top of the list.
In the age of the Internet, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has found a way to dominate what is arguably todayâ€™s most important information source: the search engine.
Itâ€™s all about Mormons controlling their own image, church officials say. Theyâ€™ve been doing that for a century or more. And now, with two of their own vying for the Republican nomination in the 2012 presidential race, and a Broadway hit and reality television generating huge interest in the denomination, much is at stake....
If you know how to do it, you can game the web - or at least the search engines.
A case study is Swami Kriyanana. In the 1990s and early 2000s, he was mired in lawsuits about his sexual adventures and cult-like colony. These were all over the web. Since then, his organization has flooded the web with new sites that show up higher in the search engines than the articles from this time. They created sites for their organization, for him, for his music, for every book he's published, etc. They're sanitizing the web and rehabilitating his image as a wise teacher, harmless old man, and link to a divine avatar.
Sure, you can still find the old information. But the people who game the web know most people never get beyond the first page of search engine results.