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March 19, 2006

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» Kinder Stop: Kinderstart Sues Google over Lost Traffic from ReveNews - David Lewis
File this one under stupid lawsuits. Kinderstart, a parental advice website, sued Google over lost search engine rankings. Kinderstart wants Google to reveal how it ranks websites in the SERPs. [Play REM's "End of the World as We Know It here.] If my k... [Read More]

» Google, KinderStart, And Eleanor Roosevelt from Talkshop
Eleanor Roosevelt once said that "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." Though I'm pretty sure she wasn't talking about search engines, I suspect this quote is applicable in this case of KinderStart v. Google. From Reuters:... [Read More]

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I don't get what is so wrong about google dominating the market for searchs?

The more I think about it, the more I see that this is really a brilliant tactical move on Kinderstart's part to get a million dollars worth of free publicity and traffic. Just do a www.technorati.com search to watch the kinderstart meme explode across the Internet.

"I don't get what is so wrong about google dominating the market for searchs?"

What is so wrong about one SE controlling 80 to 90% of your business's total traffic?

Hmmm....

Think of it this way. Suppose you lived in a country where all customer traffic to your business was controlled by the government. The government appointed Grand Commissar of Business Traffic had a list of all the customers and all the businesses in the nation, and he alone had the power to determine how many customers would be diverted to a particular business on any given day. None of the businesses truly understood how he made his decisions and all lived in fear of his wrath as somedays he would decide to completely cut off a particular business from customers.

Would a situation like this make you nervous as a business owner?

That's basically the situation we have online today with search engines. But this phase of the Net is coming to a close. Thankfully.

Here is what I would like to know. How were you able to regain your traffic and more after being tossed out of G's index? This same thing happened to one of my sites late last year.

DT,

I am not going to get into specifics about my recovery strategy since every good idea on the Net has about a 6 to 12 month shelf-life. As soon as everyone starts doing it, it's dead.

But to get your creative juices flowing pretend that you have just received notice from Google informing you that your site will no longer be in its index and that it's banned from Adwords as well.

What would you do to start building up the traffic back up if you couldn't abandon the site and start over?

Great blog.

I personally share the concerns that others have expressed about Google and its hubris. They simply don’t seem to care about the livelihood of small business owners. Google sandboxed our site, and since then I’ve had to let go of two employees and take a job myself simply because our traffic is down 90%.

I can’t wait for MSN to become a more of a player and show Google they are not the only player in town.

Stop sucking up to Google, people!

In most cases, when Goog sandboxes a site, it's either the fault of a bad SEO consultant who went too far or it's some purely unintentional little thing that the webmaster did. What Google needs to do is send legit sites a 30 day warning to fix the problem instead of just dumping them without warning or recourse. Then it would have far fewer people angry at itself.

Kinderstart.com went "supplemental". Googleguy said he had a theory about this on 03/04. http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum30/33351-16-10.htm

It's suspected to be a flaw in the Google changes that are dubbed "Big Daddy" http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/bigdaddy/ beginning of January.

Some SEO Firms advice to hold still a bit longer because if it's a bug, then it should be fixed by the end of the month.

However, the same effect can be the case if Google penalizes your site because of SEO practices that violate their Webmaster Guidelines http://www.google.com/webmasters/guidelines.html. Google is clear about it, if you violate it, you risk a ban, without prior notice.

A Ban (or better "penalty") is a manual process done by a human who reviews the site in question first, to check if the violation happened unintentionally or on purpose. Only if the ladder is the case a Site is penalized (like the corporate site of BMW Germany).

If you are drunk in public and a cop sees you; you might end up the night in jail. When you wake up sober the next morning and are mad at the cop's, be mad at yourself and don't start a lawsuit, because you are not going to win. Same thing here, with Google, actually not, because you were sober before you did it and knew it's wrong and the consequences, sober when you did it and sober afterwards.

Anyway, I don't know how you want to sue somebody who provides a free service you can use at your own risk and based on the rules Google set itself (I believe there is a disclaimer/terms of use somewhere). If you don't like it, don't use it.

For Webmasters does not exist any inclusion guarantee, none about being added to the index at all and also none that guaranties that you stay in it. Google is not providing a paid inclusion service that makes such promises. What is the basis for the lawsuit? I would like to know the arguments this suit is based on.

I also don't like the dominance Google has right now. Too much power in one hand is never good, it does not matter who the power holds, a Saint or a Sinner, but market dominance is clearly no argument for a lawsuit. I am not aware of any law like that, with exception of the Anti-Thrust laws, but then would it be the US government and not a small company from Newark that is suing.

I believe that this suit was started to get the publicity. I haven't seen any official document or statement from neither KinderStart nor Google. If there is a secret suit and the whole thing is not just a rumor (April, 1st is still a few more days to go), I believe it will be dropped quickly by KinderStart, because they got what they wanted and I bet it was cheap too.

Remember that google newer actually think, it's not like someone at google decided to nuke an site, no it's done by aoutomation by and wery complex system, that probably is pretty damn full of bugs.

Phaps an simple network error or an hardware failure in one of google's boxes is all it takes for at site to vanish completely from google's memmory.

Remember what google is trying to do is not to evaluate an site for relevance, or anything like that but to build an 100% automated popularity index of the web and, that index is under constant pressure from spammers, and the actual algoritms are secret and probably under constant development.

Nice column... I personally think this is a brilliant PR move on the part of Kinderstart. Just wish I'd thought of it first! ;-)

I also think you hit the nail on the head with your advice to not rely on Google for your traffic. My site is Alex’s Coupons ( http://www.alexscoupons.com ) and we've been riding the Google Rollercoaster for the last year or two. I run a completely clean site and don't use any blackhat SEO techniques, yet we've still been screwed by Google on three separate occasions. Here’s a short history:

Pre-November 2004: Solid rankings for our site, nothing spectacular, but we ranked high for a few key terms.

November 2004: Drop almost completely out of the rankings.

February 2005: Rankings back to Pre-November 2004 levels + a little bit of boost.

May 2005: Rankings go through the roof. Ranked high for dozens of key terms. Life is good.

September 22, 2005: Drop almost completely out of the rankings.

October 15, 2005: Rankings go through the roof again. In fact the best ever.

December 27, 2005: Drop almost completely out of the rankings for the third time. Pages are still in the index, but very few are ranking high for key terms.

The good thing is that these drops force me to work harder on alternate ways of promoting our site including newspapers (e.g. Hot Site of the Day in USA Today & dozens of Gannet Newspapers), TV (e.g. upcoming Feature Story on Evening Magazine Seattle, Site of the Day on Boston, St. Louis and Jacksonville newscasts), Magazines (upcoming article in June issue of Kiplinger's Personal Finance), social bookmarking (e.g. Stumbleupon, Furl, del.icio.us), viral networking (e.g. Digg, word of mouth, tell a friend), podcasts (e.g. Mommycast, Geekcast) and blogs.

For me Google is becoming less and less relevant every day. Partly because of our other promotional efforts, but also because my Yahoo referral traffic has quintupled in the past few months, even though my rankings at Yahoo have remained stable. That tells me that at least some people have gotten so fed up with Google that they're switching to Yahoo. I know that I have!

Keep up the good work...

– Todd Martini

Todd,

Thanks. Very inspirational post. I just launched a new company. This time around I am not spending any time worrying about Google. The webpages are optimized for SEs and that's about it. I'm not spending a penny on Adwords yet although that may change in the future. So far traffic is good.

Todd, Are you reading my diary? Looks like it, because what happened to your site happened to ours, exactly at the same time.

I know that Google does not like Affiliate Sites (in their organic Index) very much, but I think this is not the case here. Jagger and Jagger II (Big Daddy) and their "experimentation" with the algo's must be the cause of all this.

What p**sed me off was the fact that Google Traffic almost vanished completely right during the holidays. I had to work my a** off to compensate, quickly with pretty good success. Yahoo likes our site more now. Ask.com ignores us more or less after eating tons of our server resources last summer. MSN does not know what to do with us I think, it's like with the tides. High, low, high, low ....

Connie Berg (Flamingo World) was way ahead of us a few years back when it came to efforts to not rely on search engines. I remember the whining in 2003 after Google's Florida update that but a lot of Datafeed/Webmerge affiliate sites out of business, she had no problem at all.

Also posting the Affiliate Site URL was no problem for her, because copycats were not feared by her. Copy the site, "sure go ahead, send me the link that I can see how my site looked in the past, just like archive.org".

We learned our lessons. That's why didn't put us Google's f**k ups during the last 15 months out of business, but it did hurt nevertheless.They better get their act straight soon or Google will have an Index full of pages that b*tch and yell about Google.

Hey Peter,

Thanks for the nice comments. I hope your startup is continuing to do well. We're still struggling in the Google rankings, but over the next 6 weeks we should be getting a lot of media exposure. At some point I'm hopeful people will realize that Google really is broken, but I'm not holding my breath! ;-)

Here's an example of just how screwed up Google is right now. Currently in the index you can find 12,300 pages of my site by an IP address (69.20.29.210) that was deactivated three months ago when I had to change servers due to the fact that we were hacked. For the actual site (www.alexscoupons.com) you can only find 801 pages in the index.

Oh well I'll just keep plugging away. Hope everything is going great. Take care.

-- Todd

Todd, read my lastest on marketing without Google.

Nice read, more info to add to my useless knowledge of search engine ranking lol

S.E.O is a blackart sometimes and because on SERP's changes things can not always goto plan, especially with the semantic searches and WEB 2.0 networks that can alter things on a daily timescale as opposed to years ago when things were far slower.

I think that results on www.clusty.com it is better than on other web search engines. And what you think of it?

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