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When Your Site Ceases To Exist 191

El Lobo writes with a sobering account of how Javalobby dropped off the face of Google last month. The site had been attacked by forum spammers and Google indexed some of their spew before the Javalobby guys could remove it. According to a post in Rich Skrenta's blog, Google is now the de-facto front page for the Internet, accounting for anywhere from 70% to 78% of the search market. The power this conveys is hard to overstate. From the Javalobby saga: "We had completely disappeared from Google's main index! If you run a website, then you know how serious a problem this is. On any given day over 10,000 visitors arrive at Javalobby as a result of Google searches, and suddenly they stopped coming! ... Suddenly we no longer existed in the eyes of Google."
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When Your Site Ceases To Exist

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  • Javalobby? Another slashvertisement ...

  • by __aaclcg7560 ( 824291 ) on Saturday January 13, 2007 @07:43PM (#17596922)
    I just typed in "Javalobby" in the Google search and their link came up on top. If there was a problem, it looks like it's fixed.
    • by stevesliva ( 648202 ) on Saturday January 13, 2007 @07:48PM (#17596992) Journal
      I just typed in "Javalobby" in the Google search and their link came up on top. If there was a problem, it looks like it's fixed.
      Phew. At least when you're caught in the crossfire in the spam war, it's just a flesh wound. The seem to be on the third page [] of a Google search for java.
      • Now, the way you searched is a little more scientific than actually searching for "javalobby"
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ShaunC ( 203807 ) *

      I just typed in "Javalobby" in the Google search and their link came up on top.

      If you know the site exists and what it's called, it's not very likely that you're going to be looking for it on Google. I think the idea is that Javalobby's copious articles had been showing up with good placement on Google, under more "generic" java-related searches (couldn't resist the pun). They were getting a great deal of traffic from these Google results because they'd worked very hard to build an original, content-rich si

      • by __aaclcg7560 ( 824291 ) on Sunday January 14, 2007 @12:35AM (#17599426)
        If you don't know what the URL is exactly, you may pop the name into Google to find it first. That's very important if you're browsing at work and you don't want to pull up a web page of nude chicks serving java in a lobby. :)

        Seriously, I know a lot of people who Google first to find the link to the website (i.e., type "CNN" to go to the CNN webstie). Some people are too lazy or ignorant to type out the full URL.
  • by bennomatic ( 691188 ) on Saturday January 13, 2007 @07:44PM (#17596926) Homepage
    My joke site (SSLI: Search for Satanic Lyrics []) used to be the number one result for "Satanic Lyrics, but about two months ago, ZAP! Gone from the frone page of Google. It's something like number 50 now, so instead of getting... ummm... three visitors a day, I get something like one a week :-)

    • by GoofyBoy ( 44399 ) on Saturday January 13, 2007 @08:59PM (#17597674) Journal
      I just visited your site just so I could joke around about being your single weekly hit.

      Joke's on me and my poor eyes; I can't believe that you are ranked so high up at 50.
    • by Skidge ( 316075 ) on Saturday January 13, 2007 @09:18PM (#17597818)
      I had a similar, but opposite experience. I started setting up Yet Another Job Site, but I never got around to making it useful (see Click. Hired! []). Google decided that it sort of liked it for a while, sending some traffic my way. I went from making nothing on my google ads to a few bucks a day. It wasn't much money, but it was fun seeing the traffic come in. Then google decided it was the crappy site that it was and my traffic went back to its deserved trickle. I wrote an article about it with pretty graphs:

      What Google Giveth, Google Can Taketh Away []

      I should have submitted it for a slashvertisement. :)
      • I'm actually experimenting with the google adsense myself this week on a new website. I tried to make a site based on what I wanted to see, and the info I wanted to be able to find. After week #1, I've had 250 hits and a total of 5 ad clicks. It's been a lot of fun while I've had some spare time, but I feel I may already have hit my max.

        Posting on slashdot gets me a few hits. Google refuses to show all of my site: only the front page, and the forums despite submitting a sitemap per the google specs.

      • I've got a dedicated server running a few over hundred domains. Some very well maintained and other not. The general consensus from the SEO bigwigs is that burst of traffic you'll see at first is from GoogleBot's spiders picking up your keywords. If you site hits on some good keywords with low PKI you'll see good traffic within a couple months. Once that traffic starts rolling in someone at Google may actually view your site. If you happen to get decent traffic from low PKI keywords you'll see your traffic
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Zeinfeld ( 263942 )
      My joke site (SSLI: Search for Satanic Lyrics) used to be the number one result for "Satanic Lyrics, but about two months ago, ZAP! Gone from the frone page of Google. It's something like number 50 now, so instead of getting... ummm... three visitors a day, I get something like one a week :-) I see similar traffic due to the fact that my site is the number 3 for PI to a certain number of decimal places.

      I made a proposal in the W3C AC forum a week ago that would kill linkspam. So far I have not managed to

      • I made a proposal in the W3C AC forum a week ago that would kill linkspam. So far I have not managed to follow up with Google.

        Should have linked this the first time. For more details on this scheme, see my personal blog [].

  • by dj245 ( 732906 ) on Saturday January 13, 2007 @07:45PM (#17596948) Homepage
    1. Move all forums to or equivalent
    2. ???
    3. Hire 'little people' in multicoloured pointy hats to help generate traffic for your site not that it is now google acceptable
    4. Profit!
    • by dj245 ( 732906 ) on Saturday January 13, 2007 @07:47PM (#17596978) Homepage
      5. Have midgets properly proofread all posts
      • 5. Have midgets properly proofread all posts

        Why? Not proofreading gives it that "authentic slashdot editor" feel.

        They have a script called "" that takes every 3rd article and inserts a random error/non-factoid/dupe/non-sequiteur before it can be posted. Its the "magic sauce." It helps that it is written in perl - and that the original author was drunk as a skunk at the time.

        Of course, on slow news days, they change the parameters from every 3rd article to twice per article ... which expl

  • by jcarkeys ( 925469 ) on Saturday January 13, 2007 @07:45PM (#17596952) Homepage
    They're on the Slashdot front page, I don't think they'll mind being off Google for a little while.
  • Maybe... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Aladrin ( 926209 )
    Maybe you should stop relying on a single source for you advertising.

    Maybe you should actually monitor your forums. You know, in case your customers need your help or a SPAM-bot goes on a rampage.

    Maybe you should actually have a site that people care about so they'll keep coming back.

    Maybe you should slashvertise and ... wait, you did that.

    If your site is worthwhile, dropping off Google for a week won't affect it that much, and you'll actually have control over your forums.
    • Re:Maybe... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 13, 2007 @07:55PM (#17597050)
      Maybe you should RTFA - they're not relying on Google for "advertising"
      Maybe you should RTFA - they DO actively monitor their forums. They deleted the messages very quickly - but too late, because Googlebot beat them to it.
      Maybe you should RTFA - they DO have a site that people care about and frequently visit. But they want people searching for solutions that appear in their FORUMS to find those postings via search engines.
  • by Codename46 ( 889058 ) on Saturday January 13, 2007 @07:48PM (#17596986)
    If they could have implemented one layer of security or verification to prevent spambots from registering (similar to phpBB or vBulletin), they would have prevented all this. But they didn't. There is no image verification on their forum registration page. All it takes is a spammer with a source of disposable e-mails such as to spam your page to hell.
    • If the forum isn't particularly time sensitive, how about just not serving recent forum posts ( 1 week) to the search engine spiders, which advertise themselves as being such, no?

      That gives you some elbow room.
      • If the forum isn't particularly time sensitive, how about just not serving recent forum posts ( 1 week) to the search engine spiders, which advertise themselves as being such, no?

        I'm pretty sure that presenting pages to Google that are different from what regular people would see is already a breach of the terms of being listed by Google, and it's already resulted in sites being de-listed. (ie. If Google can't see what other people would see, how is it supposed to index and rank it appropriately for its

    • RTFA - they had a special forum for unregistered guests to post (stupid in this day and age), and it was that forum that received 50,000 posts for all kinds of spam spew.

      However, you're still right in that the forum software should ask unregistered viewers who want to post to answer a captcha, and perhaps restrict their posting to 1 every 5 minutes or so.

      What does /. use to prevent anonymous cowards from posting? The only spams I see are gnaa, no casino, poker, viagra, stock pumping or porn.
  • by Duncan3 ( 10537 ) on Saturday January 13, 2007 @07:49PM (#17596996) Homepage
    Did you miss the memo? Google owns your ass now.

    This is why people don't like monopolies much.
    • Did you miss the memo? Google owns your ass now.

      This is why people don't like monopolies much.

      1) Google don't have a monopoly on search, unless you think 70-75% or so is a monopoly (I don't).

      2) Search isn't everthing. and were highly-popular websites, last I checked; people are free to advertise on them (and yes, I know appearing in Search results is free). Specifically for java-related issues (which is what TFA's website appears to be) there are various websites on which you can a
  • Is this normal? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rumith ( 983060 ) on Saturday January 13, 2007 @07:50PM (#17597010)
    The problem is indeed deeper than just a headache for a webmaster or two. Let's face it: just as the desktop software market depends on MS Windows, and a lot of software companies will vanish overnight in case Microsoft introduced a new trick [like, signed - for a price - executables only, or backwards-incompatible API, etc], so the web now depends on Google. Should all the Google system administration team take a week off - and voila, you get no new customers, because they don't know where to go, and you're lucky if somebody from your old clients returns using his browser's history. Of course, there's Yahoo, MSN, Nigma, and a hundred of startups, but all of them combined hardly have the same significance that Google enjoys alone. So let's either keep our fingers crossed and hope that Google will not do anything more evil than it does now, or... heh, I don't really know even what else could we do.
  • From the title, I thought this was going to be finding a mirrored copy of your website after you stop maintaining it and your host drops you. But being nolonger indexed?? That doesn't make your site dissappear - what a drama queen. Untill Google becomes the only search engine, or becuase a government institution, people need to stop being so dramatic. Websites existed before search engines as far as I understand.
    • Even if Google was the only search engine, why does JavaLobby assume that they have a right to be near the top of the results? Their site had poor content on it and Google indexed them appropriately. It's the spammers that are at fault, not Google.
  • whilst some people may have a point about the *cough* slashvertisment this article has made me think about Google and monopolies, should I now change my search engine of choice because having many players in any market is better or is a monopoly acceptable when they are (pretty much) the best... even if they do sometimes change where, and if, they list sites
  • by Midnight Thunder ( 17205 ) on Saturday January 13, 2007 @08:06PM (#17597168) Homepage Journal
    Maybe this is where Google needs to provide multiple indexing algorithms. The idea by giving different result types ( most linked, closeness to keywords, flashiness, highest rated, totally random, etc ), this would make it harder for site spammers to know which algorithm to be targeting.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I refuse to even click the link. This site, based on what I see here, deserves anything bad that happens to it. Millions of sites see their traffic rise and fall every day. And none of them take up our valuable time to post a sniveling bitch about it to the front page of Slashdot.
  • I don't care f'r Google for personal reasons undisclosed, so I don't use their products.

    They're not MY de facto site, nor do I consider TFA any more than fanboy buzz. Just like other search engines we've used over the years of 'net usage, they're just the one on top right NOW. Give it 10 years. They might be the next big monopoly, or the next Webcrawler.

    Personally, I prefer the meta-search engines; more baskets means more eggs.
  • by popo ( 107611 ) on Saturday January 13, 2007 @08:53PM (#17597614) Homepage
    See the irony?

    I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that your lame site is getting more traffic than its ever received in a single day.

    Which means that you've just been depending on Google too heavily for too little in return.

    Digg it. Sig it. Promote the hell out of it.

    I'd say this is a non-story, but the irony is that it was ultimately a wonderful short term solution to the author's issue.

    Google does *not* own the Internet unless you depend solely on Google.
  • by jafo ( 11982 ) * on Saturday January 13, 2007 @09:00PM (#17597680) Homepage
    In the comments are some strings that one writer of theirs expects to find on their site when searching google, but didn't. I just searched for the "jgoodies data binding" and their site comes up the 7th top level listing on the first results page.

    It seems to me that google worked perfectly here. When 50,000 spam and phishing messages were posted to that site, the ranking of it went way down. When they cleaned them up, the site ranking came back.

    What, would the site owners have google preserve their site ranking even though the content on the site went in the toilet? As a google user, I'm quite happy that google de-listed these folks for a bit, because otherwise these and other searches would have been severely polluted.

  • by xwizbt ( 513040 ) on Saturday January 13, 2007 @09:12PM (#17597766)
    Try typing any mis-spelling of javalobby. Anything. Google offers you the alternative of 'javalobby'. They *so* do not recognise this website... so much so that they dare to *suggest* it as an alternative to a common mis-spelling of the forbidden site. Bastards! How deep does their vitriol run?
  • Build a search engine which reads my mind better than google does and brings me results which are more relevant. Perhaps something which learns what I want and what I don't.
  • Ask Matt! (Score:5, Informative)

    by dekkerdreyer ( 1007957 ) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (reyerdrekked)> on Saturday January 13, 2007 @09:17PM (#17597810)
    If you would have tried doing even a little research, you would have found out that Google penalizes hacked sites [] and even makes an attempt to contact the webmaster to alert them to the problem. Not only that, they'll relist you if you remove the spam.

    1. Fail to follow even basic internet precautions standard since 1998
    2. Whine loudly on Slashdot when search engine behaves as advertised
    3. Get lots of new traffic
    4. Profit
  • (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Solokron ( 198043 ) on Saturday January 13, 2007 @09:25PM (#17597866) Homepage
    This has occurred with as well. It use to offer a subdomain feature where snowboarders could create their own website. A spammer used a few subdomains and had cialis and other drug links placed to it all over the net. The subdomain service was ended a year ago and all of those subdomains have timed out for over a year as a result yet the site continues to be sandboxed by Google. A site that was on the first page of Google results since '99 is no where to be found. There is a difference between showing up on page 10 and being sandboxed completely. You can type in itself into Google and the website itself does not even show up. Google has been contacted several times regarding this and nothing has been done. A link campaign was also performed to overpass the amount of bad links with good links and that search term to no avail. With the recent Google update it is now a PR0 website when it was a PR5 for a very long time.
  • I think that the article is overdramatic, and maybe a bit of self-promoting.

    According to ALexa [] (look at Reach), they dropped by roughly a factor of 2 to 3, from 100 to 150 per million, depending on the base period chosen, to about 50 per million. A factor of three variation in site traffic over a few weeks is large, but it's not the end of the world.
  • Alex Chiu (Score:5, Funny)

    by tylersoze ( 789256 ) on Saturday January 13, 2007 @09:43PM (#17598076)
    Join the club, Alex Chiu has been blacklisted by Google for years. []

    A choice quote:

    "Google controls 50% of the world's searches. This famous website is so controversial that it has been banned by the most popular search engine in the world 'Google'. That's right. You cannot find in Google system. Some very important people don't want you to know about Alex Chiu. Alex Chiu is on more than 30 TV interviews, 250 radio interviews, and in business ever since 1996. Yet cannot show up on Google?"
  • by AftanGustur ( 7715 ) on Saturday January 13, 2007 @09:54PM (#17598166) Homepage

    How Google handles hacked sites []

    As it turns out, Google is very professional on this issue, notifying webmasters, putting timeouts on the "sandboxing", etc ..

  • "Suddenly we no longer existed in the eyes of Google."

    Then you should have gotten your shit together and been more proactive on the spam front.
  • This Is An Easy Fix! (Score:4, Informative)

    by sgtbenc ( 886605 ) on Saturday January 13, 2007 @10:08PM (#17598274) Homepage
    It's extremely easy to get reincluded to the Google Index. Just follow the steps on their help: []
  • Idiots. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jessta ( 666101 ) on Saturday January 13, 2007 @10:11PM (#17598294) Homepage
    Making your whole business reliant on a single vendor is just stupid.
    Especially a vendor that you don't even have a contract with.

    People act like Google is a public service, Google is a business and as a business there is no reason why they have to index your site.
  • Here

    Let this be a lesson to all of us who have websites. Your sacrifice will not be forgiven. RIP
  • Javalobby dropped off the face of Google last month.

    Good riddence! I dared criticise Java and OOP there and it started a long involved discussion. When the discussion ranked too popular on their traffic ranking system, the editors yanked it. They couldn't handle Java criticism so they pulled a "China".

    It feels good when censorship aholes get what they deserve. Cheers!
  • Visitors from Google are not your real customers, they are more like guests. You should service them well, of course, and they do contribute a lot to your profitability (if you are commercial) or your popularity as a site. But your real customers are those who remember your URL by heart and visit you again and again, posting to your forum and buying from you repeatedly. You should focus on them. Have an pot-in mailing list where they can learn about your news and make sure they are interested to know wha
  • I have a website that got around 600 visitors a day with a certain domain name (.fr).
    When my host had to renew the subscription for the domain name, they didn't, even though I paid. Then someone "stole" the domain name when as it was free.
    Now I had to buy another domain name (.com) and some a**hole put ads on my former domain.

    Does anyone know what I can do to have google index the new one and give it the position my former domain name had ?
  • This happened last year. There've been several follow ups to the original blogpost on how the situation was resolved. There's even a guy from google who showed up in the forum and offered his helped to fix things. By now the damage has been undone of course but for some time Google stopped returning any javalobby results.

    Btw. it's, they're not for profit and sort of pay the bills with the advertisements. Just like slashdot. I've been a member of their site since 1998 and they're good guys.

Did you hear that two rabbits escaped from the zoo and so far they have only recaptured 116 of them?