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Google's monopolistic practices dictating which websites live and die are out of control

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posted on May, 14 2014 @ 04:49 AM
I'm going through a very personal and terrible experience with Google. I'm actually rather upset.

Based on this experience I've had a number of realizations about some deep evilness in Google's business practices that don't seem to be publicly known about. You all need to know about this.

Here's what I experienced:

I built a web application as a business project that I'm working on with a small team working under an LLC. I'm the co-founder of this corporation, and took a significant amount of risk on by sacrificing other work opportunities and basically working for no pay for a number of months in order to spearhead this project and get the website live. I've designed and written most of the backend code by myself.

It's not a simple website. There is some real technology behind it, and it serves a useful function IMHO. It was not easy to build. I'm a professional software engineer that worked for high profile companies in the Silicon Valley for over 14 years, and have had a very successful career. I know how to build high quality software.

We went live with the site a little over a month ago. As part of our strategy (as is true for many websites), we were depending on getting a certain amount of organic Google search traffic to our website based on keywords in the descriptive text on the pages of our site.

We got a nice amount of traffic based on organic google search results within the first week. And it kept going up from there, for a little less than a month. We were on target for our goals, and everything looked ok. People were discovering our site, registering, and using it productively. We thought we had a successful launch.

A couple of weeks ago, suddenly our traffic dropped off a cliff. We were getting almost no visitors based on organic google searches. It took some time for us to figure out what happened, and less savvy business owners might never have figured it out. We had received a very severe "covert" google SEO penalty.

In case you aren't familiar with this, a Google SEO penalty is when Google takes a "manual action" to artificially make any search results for pages on a particular website buried under N'th page (very few people scroll through many, many pages of search results - so you basically no longer exist). By "manual action", I mean that a Google employee manually reviewed the site and made a decision to penalize it, as opposed to their normal algorithms determining your ranking in search results.

The way that we determined a "manual action" had been taken is that a Google search for our domain name puts us on about the fourth page of search results. We have a unique domain name which was showing in #1 position before this happened, and in general if you do a Google search for the domain name for any website the site shows in the #1 search position since domain names (by definition) are unique.

On Bing we still show up in #1 position if you search for our domain name.

When I say this was a "covert" penalty I mean that they did not give any indication that they thought we had done anything wrong or that we were being penalized at all in their "webmaster tools" administration site. They have a tab there that exists just for telling you if you are getting a manual penalty because you violated their "rules".

In a recent video from the Google Webspam team they clearly describe that they will not always let someone know if they have received a manual SEO penalty to their site. So, if you have a business website and your traffic suddenly goes down, you might not know that Google decided to penalize you.

So, what does this mean, and why would Google do this kind of thing?

I have a few theories.

1) In general, and not just relating to our own website, Google makes more money if people pay tons for Google AdWord campaigns. These can be very effective, but they also can be very expensive and Google AdWords is where google makes most of it's profit to this day. So, they have a conflict of interest. If their organic search works "too well" and drives tons of traffic to a website, the owners of that website won't need to spend any money on a Google AdWords campaign. So, google makes more money if new websites have trouble getting to the top in search results. Now that they are such a monopoly, is it a coincidence they are rolling out new algorithms to search that have such strict rules on when sites might get an SEO penalty, and how you are allowed to optimize your organic search keywords?

2) Our website, by it's nature, drives tons of traffic to one of Google's main competitors. Kind of fishy that they would try and destroy us with an SEO penalty...

3) The employees that Google uses for manually reviewing brand new websites that have very rapid traffic growth are probably paid barely minimum wage, or are outsourced to other countries and paid even less there, and have huge quotas of websites to review per day, or otherwise be fired. So, someone who was barely literate reviewed the site our team of highly experienced engineers worked on for months - for possibly just seconds or a minute - before clicking on some button to demote our site, without understanding what we actually did and the service we provide. So, it's just a "roll of the dice" whether or not a new, innovative site will be penalized by Google.

In any case, Google is acting as "judge, jury & executioner" in determining whether our own website succeeds or fails in the interwebs. There are various examples I can give of other organizations and corporations that have been hurt by such decisions made singlehandedly by Google. And, it doesn't seem like this is just and "algorithm" thing (lots of people blame the "Panda" algorithm). It seems like human beings at google are making judgements on websites, and that Google is exerting a power that threatens Net Neutrality and fair commerce in general.

This is typical behavior for a monopolistic corporation. Google controls almost 90% of all searches on the interwebs. That's a monopoly. That's a ridiculous amount of power.

Power corrupts. Google may have had good intentions years and years ago, but now????

posted on May, 14 2014 @ 05:56 AM
If we don't have anti monopoly laws on the webz yet....things like this are bound to increase big time....
Such activity could have blowback attached for google at a later date...but itll take time.
The whole issue of dealing with the internet and its twisted labrynth of new angles for immoral dealing is far from settled...
Have you spoken to anyone at the head office about it?

posted on May, 14 2014 @ 05:58 AM
What i don't understand is with your 14 years of work and expertise how could you not figure sooner this would happen: make you pay to stay alive.
I mean it's public knowledge google got trillions (exagerating) of servers to pay each month, bandwidth (youtube) etc.. and they got the monopole as you said.In the end the clients (or potential clients) always pay for that.

posted on May, 14 2014 @ 06:09 AM
I can understand your frustration, but you have nothing to fear, ... yet

You are experiencing the dreaded Google sandbox, this can last from days to months, and it is something of a blanket policy they use on all new websites.

Be prepared for more such movements with every "Google dance" where they change their algorithm overnight, and everyone then panics.

I must agree with your views on the monopoly, they virtually blackmail every advertiser with heightened costs without any grounds to back it up.

For example, you might expect to pay a dollar a click for a keyword like motorcycle jackets, or anything else with competition, but try to use a fictional nonsense product like plastic banana, and they will still charge a dollar, claiming there are competitors bidding against the same keyword, BS.

The only way to be sure of high rankings is to cheat the system, this advanced SEO involves a great deal of effort, and cost to maintain, but of course this goes against G's terms of service, and people flap about this like they are breaking some laws of some kind, when all they are really doing is sticking it to Google.

That is why sometimes you will find a search result on some wacky domain like, they are using a throw away domain. Once caught, they instantly set up a replacement and move on.

My advice is to steer clear of costly blackhat SEO, and wait it out, your site should return to the front page shortly.

Good luck.

posted on May, 14 2014 @ 06:41 AM
a reply to: Watchfull

I have no intention of using blackhat SEO, although it would be relatively easy to do so. That's just not my cup of tea and not how I personally do things. I don't think that type of tactic will ever work in the long run anyway, if you are trying to build a solid business based on making customers happy, and a name brand. I'm not convinced however that we will bounce back from this, as it seems to be a very aggressive penalty based on what I can see.

posted on May, 14 2014 @ 06:48 AM
a reply to: TheMasterOne

I never expected super great results from organic google search - but for our domain to be put on page 30 or so if you search for the exact domain name - and all our other search results are similarly hidden - this makes it so that it is almost impossible for anyone to find us even if they are looking hard for us. And it makes it difficult to promote our business in other ways, as if we don't show up if you specifically search for us it looks bad. Google has always had a motto to "not be evil", but it seems they have jumped the shark here.

posted on May, 14 2014 @ 06:56 AM
a reply to: PhysicsAlive

Also, I think it's possible that Google thinks that we are doing black hat SEO already, based on some confused interpretation of our site - either by their algorithms or some dumb employee.

posted on May, 14 2014 @ 06:58 AM
Google is a large money making corporation.....I would have expected they do this stuff bottom line.....
The same crap is stacked against people no matter how they get their information.....
The lie and half truths spill endlessly from the propagandists for everything from soap to missiles....
One could argue that alone is driving the world population mad......

posted on May, 14 2014 @ 07:06 AM
Have you actually talked to anyone at Google about this? I can understand if you don't want to cave to any blackmail, but if you haven't talked to anyone yet, for all you know, this could be a clerical error and something could be fixed with a phone call (or few) and talk to a manager or two.

I'm not trying to defend Google here, just trying to make sure you've covered all your bases before trying other, sneakier, tactics. Google certainly does need to be broken up. It has surpassed Microsoft as the evil tech company of the modern era, and the worst part about it is that they aren't as overt about the evilness as Microsoft is. (MS on the other hand is having their evil deeds catch up to them with the win 8 debacle)

posted on May, 14 2014 @ 11:55 AM
a reply to: PhysicsAlive

I lived this nightmare in 2012. I had a reasonably popular, well established website from which I earned a decent income from for almost 10 years. Updated daily, good content. Overnight my pages which were previously well ranked disappeared to the back of the line ... and I mean so far back they would never be found. I submitted several reinclusion requests and all came back as no manual actions or penalties had been applied. I spent a year trying to figure out what happened, but was never able to regain my rankings. I finally gave up and pulled the site down a couple of months ago.

It really hurts to pour so much work into something, enjoy the success of your labor, and have it vanish overnight for apparently no reason at all. But the big G will do what it wants, and there is nothing we can do about it. My advice to anyone starting a web business is to build site traffic without reliance on Google organic rankings, because they can disappear in an instant and kill your business overnight.

You mentioned the human element in determining Google's rankings, I might suggest applying for that job. It's a part time gig, doesn't pay as bad as you might think, and what you learn might be very interesting indeed. (I do not have this job, but am somewhat familiar with that type of thing. Can't elaborate tho.)

As a side note, I have a second site which is not particularly high tech, is not an income generator, and is updated very irregularly. This sites rankings continue to slowly climb while I pretty much ignore it most of the time.

I do think any site with commercial intent that may compete with the many pies Google has it's fingers in, or wants to get it's fingers in, can expect to be on a hitlist unless wildly popular and well known.

edit on 14-5-2014 by eeyipes because: (no reason given)

edit on 14-5-2014 by eeyipes because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 14 2014 @ 02:49 PM
a reply to: Krazysh0t

Easier said then done. Have you ever seen a "contact us" link on any Google webpage? Also, they have covertly done this to our site as they haven't indicated any manual action was taken in the webmaster tools "Manual Actions" tab. So, I'm not expecting they will admit they have deliberately destroyed our site when I contact them.

Still, I'm planning on contacting them soon. I just want to make sure I do it in the right way as I don't want to make them hate me any more (I'm still not 100% sure why they hate me to begin with).

posted on May, 14 2014 @ 03:02 PM
a reply to: PhysicsAlive

You mean this?

posted on May, 14 2014 @ 03:10 PM
a reply to: PhysicsAlive

I doubt they hate you. More likely they just don't care about you. If you get anywhere with that contact number, I'd be astounded and amazed to hear about it. Thousands of sites get dumped on with every update, I seriously doubt they have interest in fielding those calls and complaints unless it's a big player. Sorry if I'm not encouraging ...

edit on 14-5-2014 by eeyipes because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 14 2014 @ 03:45 PM

originally posted by: PhysicsAlive
So, what does this mean, and why would Google do this kind of thing?

Because there are a bunch of really scummy actors making websites and entire linked networks full of junk, bad content, malware, spam and other sleazy junk using nasty techniques to get them on Google, and Google is very suspicious.

And they can make mistakes, but they don't know you from a dog on the internet.

posted on May, 14 2014 @ 04:20 PM
a reply to: PhysicsAlive

I feel for you. Aside from all the facts and theories as to why and how, isnt the real question for you now is how to fix it? What would be necessary to get your ranking back and them leave you alone? I know its not right what they are doing, but thats not the issue.

I would think with your expertise you could just do whatever it takes to get back online. Then you could figure out what to do about it all after you get back in the ratings.

posted on May, 14 2014 @ 09:06 PM
a reply to: mysterioustranger

Yes, there are things that we can try to "fix" on the site to make Google happy, but I'm afraid that the issue might be that Google fundamentally doesn't like our site because of it's nature and the fact that we direct traffic to one of their major competitors. In any case, it's a little bit hard to "fix" something if you don't know what's wrong, and since Google never communicated anything to us we have no idea specifically what they objected to.

I will try and contact them soon, and hopefully that will be productive.

posted on May, 15 2014 @ 01:05 AM
a reply to: Krazysh0t

lol! I guess I'm a bit of a moron sometimes
Seriously though, they don't make it very obvious in their webmaster tools pages, or other areas of the site, as to how to contact them.

The reason I haven't contacted them yet is not that I don't know how to contact them but rather that we are trying to figure out what exactly to say to them, and whether or not we should make some changes to the site to address things we think might have triggered a flag for them *before* contacting them. If we make these site changes, it might negatively impact our SEO with Bing, and cause some other problems, and also it is a bunch of work. I really hate doing throwaway work, and so I'm torn about whether to contact them right away, or to make the changes first, considering I'm not even sure making these changes will help.

I'll figure out these problems and make a decision eventually. But, my feeling right now is that there isn't a huge rush and that I should do things very deliberately and carefully.
edit on 15-5-2014 by PhysicsAlive because: Some weirdness happened when I put in a smiley face

posted on May, 15 2014 @ 01:15 AM
a reply to: PhysicsAlive

Also, I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who replied to my thread! I really appreciate all of the thoughts and comments, and this has helped me to feel much better. I've always felt that the ATS community is one of the most intelligent and thoughtful online communities. So many popular social networking sites and boards (I won't name any specifics to be polite) IMHO have degenerated into illiterate mindlessness where the majority of posts are just silly images of cute animals, and nobody is writing or reading any significant amounts of original, thoughtful text. One of the things I love about ATS is that people do read long posts, and write detailed comments.

Thank you for being such an awesome community, and I do hope that you learned something useful about Google's current practices from my post.
edit on 15-5-2014 by PhysicsAlive because: Some dyslexic tpyos

posted on May, 15 2014 @ 01:56 AM
Welcome to my world and like you I am a pro and have worked on more commercial web sites than you can shake a stick at.

Well first off forget all this SEO black magic its BS and even if your site is fully w3c compliant and passes accessabilty testing at level two you still won't do that good unless you pay Google some money and then you can put any crap you like in the meta tags and have broken tables and your site can still be nummber one.

Google is scum, talks BS and breaks all its own rules as you would know if you looked at the garbage HTML google spits out in its pages and a big NO NO for them apparantly is to get _javascript to intercept mousedown on links that changes the Href but Google does this all the time.

We now have an evil empire on the internet with Youtube, facebook and twitter in on it and its a 50/50 chance that twitter will block any tweets that contains links to your site with some stupid BS about the site is sending spam or has a virus.

Go back on my posts and you will keep seeing that I have been warning people that Google services 90% plus of any quesry known to man using the same old 1000-2000 controlled sources, I know because I have scraped them for months, thown the data into a DB and seen the results myself.

Google at max only has 100k fee paying customers and I got to this number by scanning Google for 3 months solid across about ten domains using several VPN and Tor and going slow so not to tip them off and google also has something like 2 millions fake search sites all linked to domain names that are being parked.

What gets me is how Google is hiding 90% plus of the internet and its not easy to spot like when Youtube removes a video that does not play along with NWO thinking but this is just what they are doing and unless you splatter ga.js spy-scripts all over the site, link to facebook and Co and are not paying Google any money then no mater how interesting the sites is you will still be religated to the back pages.

Url-Rewrite can help out a little bit, robot.txt and site.xml but the bottom line is google wants money and my advise is to spend it with Bing or someone else but not Yahoo because they are in fact Google as you would know if you inspected some of Yahoo's _javascript.

God knows what they are doing with this "Right to be forgotten" law they are talking about but you can be sure it will be used in a way that will not server the publics interests and Google will play punters like you over this for all you are worth.

edit on 15-5-2014 by VirusGuard because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 15 2014 @ 02:07 AM
a reply to: VirusGuard

If this is truly the case, then Google is destroying the internet. One of the greatest things about the net has always been that anyone can easily put up a website and have some chance of getting some message out there, or providing some service. If Google is blocking a huge percentage of websites from showing in organic search results, and about 90% of people depend on Google for finding things on the web - this is terrible.

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