Have I been penalized..?Demanding greater search engine transparency
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Did you know..?
  • With some 1 billion searches each day, search engines are the gate keepers of the web.
  • Search penalties can have a severe impact, effectively removing a website from the net.
  • Most penalties are applied for a good reason (e.g. spamming sites). However, in some cases severe penalties are imposed accidentally on legitimate sites - with severe consequences.
  • There is currently no penalty notification from search engines.
  • In most cases, website owners have no means to confirm the penalty status with the search engine.
  • Online businesses waste considerable resource optimizing sites which are penalized, or trying to rectify the cause of a suspected penalty without being subjected to one.
  • Search engines leave affected online businesses in the dark. This needs to change. More transparency is required.
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Search Penalty Stories in the Media

Penalty Stories you may not have heard of...
Penalties - whether imposed on paid or unpaid search results - typically have a detrimental impact on any online business. In most (all?) cases, website owners of legitimate sites are left in complete darkness when it comes to confirming a penalty or determining its cause. Here are some examples of search penalty stories in the media.
Please Contact us in case you have any comments or other penalty stories we should consider adding here.

When algorithms attack, does Google hear you scream?
Inside Google's search penalties gulag

The effect of the penalty had "significantly reduced inbound visitor traffic from Google which, in turn, adversely impacted revenues on these websites" - Justin Drummond, CEO of Media Corp
The Register - November 19, 2009

The Dirty Little Secrets of Search

You get the sense that Mr. Cutts [of Google] and his colleagues are acutely aware of the singular power they wield as judge, jury and appeals panel
The New York Times - February 13, 2011

Stuck in Google’s Doghouse

[...]People like Mr. Savage, who are demonstrably not bad guys, find themselves in Google’s doghouse and then can’t even get the company to respond to them. Is it any wonder that they feel treated unfairly[...]?
The New York Times - September 12, 2008

We have been de-googled!

"We have repeatedly asked Google to explain its decision..",
"We have been trying to obtain an explanation ever since, without luck" - Lew Irwin, owner of Studio Briefing
IMDb - November 28, 2009

Die Unsichtbarmacher

"Das System ist nicht transparent und absolut willkürlich" -
translation: "The system is not transparent and entirely arbitrary" - Levent Yurtlu, Zumabheben.de
Die Welt - September 19, 2010 (in German language)

Neue Vorwürfe gegen Google

“Michael Weber, head of the cartography service, Hot-maps, reports that the monthly figures for visitors to his website have plummeted from 750 000 to 250 000 since the head of Google, Eric Schmidt, allowed its own online products to be placed at the top of search results. Weber is also planning to submit a complaint in the next few days.”
WirtschaftsWoche - August 21, 2010 (in German language)

Google Told by France to Restore Map Service’s Ads

Google's removal of Navx from the Adwords internet platform "brutally and profoundly affected the revenues" - France's antitrust regulator Autorite de la Concurrence
BusinessWeek - June 30, 2010

It's Not Just Microsoft Against Google

Overnight, traffic plunged — because, Mr. Barella says, the company stopped indexing pages from Ejustice.fr for inclusion in Google’s search engine.
“We asked Google, ‘Why are you doing this? We have no more money,”’
“They didn’t want to work with us, they didn’t want to help us, they didn’t want us to exist.” - Dominique Barella, founder of Ejustice.fr
The New York Times - March 1, 2010

Why I Sued Google (and Won)

"With a single click, a faceless Google employee decided that Think Computer Corporation's membership in the AdSense program 'posed a significant risk to our AdWords advertisers,' and the account was disabled with no warning"
Huffington Post - March 6, 2009

Unrest over Google's secret formula

"We were certainly penalised." - Dave Sifry, founder of Technorati
The Financial Times - July 11, 2010

Formulas at heart of Google complaint

"Senior Google executives told us that Foundem had been struck by an automated penalty designed to detect travel search sites" - Shivaun Raff, founder of Foundem
The Financial Times - February 24, 2010

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