Google = Evil
Repost of a piece by Nicco Mele. 3/10/08.
About two months ago I noticed that Google was marking my website, nicco.org, with a notice that said “This site may harm your computer” as part of natural search results. If you click through to my website, Google puts a screen between the search results screen and my blog that says “Warning – visiting this web site may harm your computer!“. This is the order of things right now – you can go see this process. I’ve also taken screenshots and put them on my flickr feed. Among other things, they have terrified my mother, which is not a good thing. Talk about making me angry.
I immediately contacted Google and was directed to StopBadware.org. I filled out a form to appeal their decision to classify my personal blog as “badware”. A couple weeks later, on Feb. 15th, I received this reply:We have received and processed your request for review of your website, nicco.org/. Google’s most recent test of your website found no badware behaviors on the site. As such, the Google warning page for your site has either already been removed or should be removed shortly. In addition, if your site has been listed in our Badware Website Clearinghouse, we will remove your site from the Clearinghouse list.
Sometimes website owners are confused about why Google placed a warning in the search results for their site. In many cases, a website run by an innocent site owner has been hacked by a malicious third party, causing the site to distribute badware without the site owner’s knowledge. If your site was distributing badware because it has been hacked, then simply removing the bad code from your site is not enough to keep your site clean in the future. You will also need to work with your hosting provider to fix all security vulnerabilities associated with your site.
Please note that we will be retesting your website at periodic intervals in order to monitor that it remains free from badware. If we find that you are hosting or distributing badware in the future, the reviews process may take considerably longer than the original review.
Answers to commonly asked questions from site owners who are the subject of Google warnings can be found at: http://stopbadware.org/home/faq#partnerwarnings
For tips on keeping your website clean and secure, please visit: http://stopbadware.org/home/security
The StopBadware Team
“Should be removed shortly” my ass.
It’s almost a month later – March 10 – and my site is still marked as badware.
So let me get this straight:
- Google marks my site as badware, setting up a big scary screen to anyone who tries to enter my site warning them of my badware-ness.
- At no point does Google notify me directly or explain why my blog was classified as badware.
- There are no published criteria as to what constitutes badware. As near as I can tell, they just decided I’m badware because they don’t like me.
- I changed nothing about the server setup and appealed to StopBadWare.org.
- After a few weeks they decide that I am in fact clean.
- Google does nothing about it.
My server is a small shared setup with BlueHost running nothing but a dozen or so Wordpress installations. No malware, no recent installations, nothing malicious. If there is something wrong with my setup, Google had given me zero information to help track down the problem.
What is going on? I am really, really angry. Google thinks they can simply decide I am evil, and no one should visit my site, without any justification and with no recourse?
I am going to go nuts.