Googler Matt Cutts, whose site I recommend if you want to stay current on that which Google allows him to talk about (usually Adwords) has an interesting post on the practice of hard coding a response for a particular query, in this case, “Google.”
Loren points out Yahoo has hard-coded some special behavior for the query [google]. Searching for [Google] at the Australia/NZ version of Yahoo returns “Try the new Yahoo! Search:” with a prominent search box right above the listing for Google. Interesting..
This reminds me of similar incidents from other search engines in the past. Remember when Inktomi hand-coded the result for [dumb motherfucker] so that the #1 result was a Google page about its executives? Boy, I do. That was motivating.
But let’s be honest here. Everyone does this. Google might do it through targeted AdWords, but it’s hard coding by another name…