Something is broken at Google
Google is currently the premier search engine. However, it's results are getting worse by the day. Besides
being bombarded with gateway search engine pages no matter what term you type in, you are not getting relevant
results. In other words, you are not seeing legitimate pages that other search engines like Yahoo will return.
For proof of this I give you the term "privacy service". This one affects us and our service at www.cotse.net. Cotse.Net is a privacy service. According to our logs it is indexed
daily by Google. According to Google, we are not penalized in any way by them. Because we are a privacy service
you'll find this term all over our site. So you'd think that if you enter the term "privacy service"
without quotes (it does show up with quotes, but should as well without) into Google, somewhere in that listing you would find our site. But you won't. It's not listed anywhere in those results except for the ad for
which we paid. What is going on here?
If you look at the results under that term you'll find site's privacy policies (including Google's), the general smattering of gateway
search engine pages Google is becoming famous for, as well as sites that only seem to have the word privacy in
them once. But you won't find us, a privacy service with the term "privacy service" all over it.
It's also something recent because this is a key phrase we've
monitored for years. For the last three years our site has been number two or number three in these results, suddenly
it is completely gone. However it still appears as number two or number three in nearly every other search engine
but Google. It appears that Google has seriously broken their algorithm recently.
Our results are not unique. When you use Google you are getting
less relevant returns than you do with other search engines. For proof, run your own tests. Start with the example
we gave then move to some of your own. Compare the results you get from Google to the results you get from Yahoo
and you'll start to see differences. Pages that should be listed in Google are not there.
Google, what happened
to you guys? You used to be one of the best, now you are either slipping or working your algorithm to require
sites you feel should be purchasing ad space from you to do so (like we had to do to even get listed where we should
be listed by default). Which is it?
We have contacted Google about this, they state that we are not being penalized and are unable to offer any reasons for this behavior. An also interesting note is that Google owns blogspot and has blocked users of our privacy service from accessing blogspot. We've received no response to inquiries about this.
Update 05/16 - Google responded to our latest mail asking them why with a response that basically says: We don't know, it's got to be your fault, we can't help you. That was in regards to the search results query. In response to the blogspot blocking us they could only refer us to a page we can't get to because we are blocked. The once intelligent Google seems to be breaking down.
Update 06/01 - Despite numerous complaints from both us and many of our users we still remain blocked by blogger. Google is not even returning our e-mails anymore. We're not quite sure why this is, but recommend our users instead use wordpress.com for blogging as they do not seem to have the same censorship policy that Google has apparently adopted.
Update 06/03 - We have been unblocked at blogspot. I still have not received any information as to why we were blocked and whether it was deliberate or accidental, but as of this am all proxies and SSH servers are again able to connect to blogspot. Thanks to all who helped and special thanks to EFF.org for their offer to help.