'ObamaCare' Ads Pop Up on Google

By Chris Good

Cato Institute's George Scoville notices that ads for "ObamaCare" pop up on Google, directing people to an administration website about health care.. The administration, which doesn't like the term "ObamaCare" (uttered mostly by health-reform opponents in derogatory tones), is paying for this, Scoville concludes:

It may be hard to see, so you can find an enlarged version here, but the number one search result to come back when Googling "obamacare" is Healthcare.gov. What that means is that the administration has invested dollars in a Goolge Ad Words campaign to pay for Healthcare.gov to appear in search results for "obamacare."

Is this hypocritical? Silly? TechPresident's Nancy Scola talks to an online-ad specialist who sees it as pragmatic:

"Buying ads based on what we want people to search for," said Koster in an email, "is like buying billboards on unused highways hoping it will increase the amount of cars on the road." In a way, it proves Scoville's main point: there's no good shorthand way to refer to the bill, especially for critics who might not relish having to repeat the word "reform" again and again and again.

Without passing any judgment on these ads, I think a few points are relevant. For one, they direct people to information about health care, which is generally a good thing to be doing. Attempts to get people to use the full name of a bill, while understandable from a messaging standpoint, are often unrealistic. No one calls it the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act"; people call it the "stimulus." And, finally: "Obamacare" is a shade more politicized than "stimulus," simply because of how it's used and who uses it. "Health care reform," as I understand it, is the preferred nomenclature of liberals and centrists.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2010/12/obamacare-ads-pop-up-on-google/68146/