April 19, 2008

Banning by Computer, Repairing by Hand, Google KOs TechWag

For many blogs, Google traffic sends the overwhelming majority of visitors. TechWag, a technology blog authored by Dan Morrill, claims Google constitutes upwards of 80 percent of traffic. Or it did... because earlier this week, Google identified his site as harmful, and instead of sending people to his site, would-be visitors are instead warned that by visiting TechWag, their computer could be harmed (See why). As a result, traffic has, as you would expect, evaporated.

Dan walked through his site, contacted his hosting company, and resolved the issue, before April 16th. But by the 19th, the issues still have not been resolved. As he writes in a post today (We are not a Malware Site), "Google is going to take its own sweet time cleaning up the disaster in their index. It does not matter how fast you clean it up... what matters is how fast Google can clear an erroneous flag in their database."

Google Warns Visitors to TechWag.com

Dan estimates it took five hours for Google to block his site, and another five hours to resolve the initial issue. But Google's Webmaster tools claim resolving the block will take "several weeks", and they "unfortunately ... can't reply individually to each request."

Google's not being evil, and was well-intended to steer would-be victims from what could have been seen as untrusted code. But the disparity of time taken to block and that taken to fix is going to have a real toll on Dan and his site. And while I may not be the biggest fan of ads on blogs, Dan does have them, and if he was looking to get any kind of paycheck off this week's activity, he's going to be sorely disappointed.

After Clicking the Link in Google...

As he writes, "Come on Google, if you are going to kill off a web site, at least have the courtesy to respond at Internet speed. Taking two weeks to check to see if we are “ok” is absolutely unacceptable."

Why can I read his site? Because I trust him and TechWag. It's a great blog. (Also I use a Mac, so I'm not too worried...) Too bad most visitors from Google are likely going to be scared away. I dare you to take the risk. Go to www.techwag.com and sign up for his RSS feed. It won't hurt. I promise.