by Mike Masnick

Search Engine Death Penalty: WhenU Kicked Off Of Yahoo And Google

from the take-that dept

WhenU, the adware/spyware company that already has quite a bit of controversy surrounding it for both (a) sneaking their software onto users' machines and (b) then popping up competitive ads when surfers visit websites has now been removed from both Yahoo and Google searches after it was determined that they were using tricks to boost their rankings in both. WhenU blames an outside search engine optimizer who they hired, but it does raise some issues. Considering the power that sites like Google and Yahoo have over anyone finding your site, how long will it be until we hear about a lawsuit when someone sues a search engine for kicking their site out of search results?

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    w.h., May 13th, 2004 @ 10:04pm

    I'm actually surprised...

    .... that it took them this long.

    I mean, I'd expect that Google would have a second googlebot that would mimic IE or Netscape just to make sure that the page isn't cloaked.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    thecaptain, May 14th, 2004 @ 6:01am

    No Subject Given

    Who the hell wants a spyware company to get at a result in a legitimate search anyway?
    (unless you're looking for spyware...and even then)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    NOBODY, May 14th, 2004 @ 7:22am

    No Subject Given

    Only the VC's that they're trying to coax into giving them money.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2004 @ 12:19pm

    Didn't google get sued once

    I swear there was some story once about Google getting sued after some dude's website got pulled from the rankings for abusing page rank.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    jeff, May 14th, 2004 @ 3:55pm

    No Subject Given

    Kazaa asked google to remove kazaa lite (the p2p software that uses no banner ads and hides your url) and google complied. You cannot find the site for kazaa lite with google.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Andrew Klossner, May 14th, 2004 @ 4:54pm

    No Subject Given

    You haven't tried it lately, have you?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Chris Falco, May 14th, 2004 @ 11:17pm

    Re: Didn't google get sued once

    Here's the article when they did get sued.

    "In what's believed to be the first lawsuit of its kind, an ad network and search marketer is taking Google to court over changes the popular search engine made to its page-ranking system."

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Ben Edelman, May 15th, 2004 @ 11:19am

    Googlebot is bandwidth-intensive, slow

    I agree that in principle a second googlebot that mimics IE would be a great advance for Google. If that 'bot only crawled top results for major keywords, it might not even be so hard for Google.

    But a couple problems:

    1) A far-reaching bot, that crawls deep, would be long, slow, and bandwidth-intensive. Google's existing crawl takes, what, a month (?), though really it's a never-ending task at this point. All indications are that Google is continually facing a constraint as to how much of the web to crawl -- would want to crawl more if it could, seemingly, but continually drops low-pagerank sites in an attempt to focus efforts where they're most needed.
    2) Google doesn't look favorably on folks tampering with HTTP headers. But the crawler you propose would have fake HTTP headers (User Agent, Referer, etc.). Google might be uncomfortable with this.
    3) The crawler would still come from Google's IP blocks. Some cloaking is based on HTTP headers (user agent or, in WhenU's case as to the research I just posted, Referer header or lack thereof). A second 'bot could catch these tricks. But cloaking on the basis of 'bot IP would be much harder to find: Google would have to use another set of IPs for this project, and once word got out which IPs those were, the smart cloakers would adjust their behavior accordingly.

    All in all, I think it's actually not such an easy task. Wouldn't want to be in Google's shoes!

    Ben Edelman

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Chris Smith, May 4th, 2006 @ 2:54pm

    Google search

    I think it is great. People have to pay lots of money for SEOs. Google is doing great
    Chris Smith

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Charles Grace, Jul 12th, 2008 @ 4:19am


    When I go on the internet for a while, and get off to play a game and go back to the internet,it wont let me on onless I log out and log back in.Tried every thing and spent all kinds of money with techs with no luck.Can anybody HELP me
    please.Thanx CGrace

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    barb, Jan 18th, 2009 @ 9:41pm

    getting kicked off

    in yahoo i get kicked off when an ad from sprint comes up. It stops me from playing and knocks me off. It just started on 1-16-09 Why?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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