"Forbidden – Your client does not have permission to get ********* from this server. Client IP address: xx.xx.xxx.xxx," said a notice when someone tried to use the Google search bar on p2pnet. "The website you’ve just visited has tried to provide you with search results from Google. Unfortunately, the site violates our terms of service so your search could not be completed."
Then, "It has come to our attention that invalid clicks have been generated on the Google ads on your site(s)," said an email. I had done no such thing but, "We have therefore disabled your Google AdSense account."
"In this kind of circumstance, wouldn’t it be both fair and good business practice and customer relations to, perhaps, simply withhold payment, contact the alleged offender and get to the bottom of things before deliberately publicly humiliating him or her?" – I asked at the time.
But that was the first, and the last, we heard from Google, despite repeated emails to a number of senior people asking how the company had arrived at this Draconian decision.
Guilty without trial, in effect. And Google still owes p2pnet the amount outstanding, whatever it was, when it took Adsense down.
But that’s not all ‘Do No Evil’ gets up to.
"What is the impact on a website of being ‘blacklisted’ by Google?" – asks Robin Goad on Hitwise, going on:
"Recently the insurance comparison website GoCompare.com faced precisely this dilemma after the search engine picked up on irregular inbound links to its site, causing it to plummet down the rankings.
"We are currently seeing a seasonal peak in searches for ‘car insurance’, and the term has increased its share of searches by 31% since the week ending 29th December.
"Before it fell out with Google, this was good news for GoCompare as the comparison site had established itself as the top website within Google’s natural / organic listings for the term.
"However, since being ‘blacklisted’ it has dropped down the listings and, at the time of writing, is currently on the seventh page of listings – i.e. well outside of the top 10."
Google giveth, and Google taketh away.