Google Sucks! (And Google Can Be Wrong)

I really loathe the fact that Google has decided to be Net Nanny for all of us. Go ahead and try this even if you dislike Google as much as I do. Go to the Google main page and type in, including the quotes, “blog.eracc.com” and click their [I’m Feeling Lucky] button. Did you see something similar to the following page?
Google Sucks 000
If you did not see a similar page and went straight to one of our Blog pages then you may ignore the rest of this post if you wish. However, even if you did not see something similar then take a minute to read this article at PC World“Is Google Falsely Flagging Harmless Sites?”. Then take another minute or two and read “What To Do When Google Tells People Your Website Is Dangerous?” at techdirt.com and come back to read the rest of this article, I’ll wait…

Glad you’re back. Now read this message I sent today (the day of this article).

From: ERACC Webmaster (ERA Computers & Consulting)
To: appeals@stopbadware.org
Subject: Review our web log
Date: 04/15/08 12:11 pm

Hello,

Google has automatically flagged our web log as "dangerous" and it has been
flagged since January of 2008 when we had a bot attack that inserted some
popup messages for online gambling in our WordPress web log. While I agree
that online gambling is evil I strongly disagree that those actually made
*our* site "dangerous". Following the URLs to the gambling sites might have
been "dangerous" for those with a gambling addiction.

Since Google apparently flags sites automatically and our web log was clean
and updated with a new WordPress within a few days I have been awaiting the
automated removal of that warning and it has not happened. Apparently I was
working with a false premise that automated warnings *should* be quickly
removed by automated follow-up checks. After all, Google is still indexing
our blog.

While researching this I found references to other sites also abused by Google
and found this e-mail address to use for arbitration. Review the site and
have Google take that warning off.

Site: http://blog.eracc.com/

I understand this takes up to 10 business days. I would of course prefer to
have the warning removed "yesterday" but I can continue to be patient. Thank
you for your time.

Sincerely,
ERACC Webmaster

I am actually skeptical that this will work but am willing to wait and see as, apparently, my only alternative is to sign up for Google’s Webmaster’s Tools and supposedly use something in that to get our site reviewed. I think I will sign up for a Google “service” the day Sol goes supernova or somewhere near the end of time … or under duress to have our web log cleared, can you say extortion? I knew you could.

I have said before I seriously dislike Google for personal and political reasons and refuse to use Google “services” for the most part. Some, not all, of my reasons follow. I felt dismayed but took a “wait and see” attitude when Google took over the USENET archive formerly at Deja.com. Then I decided to be angered when Google put a web face on the archive and started their own web “forums” which include USENET. Why get angry? Because this allowed pretty much any troller with a cause to have the ability to post near anonymously to USENET thus breaking traditional filters. Yes, one can filter out posts from “Google Groups” but unfortunately that is a broad shotgun filter that also gets many legitimate posts to USENET. I was further turned off when Google started using their search engine for “in your face” advertising revenue by putting “sponsored” results at the top of a search. I understand the desire to profit off of one’s labor and would have no problem with the advertising that shows up to the side in a Google search. But ranking paid advertising at the top of a search is too much in my face for my taste. In my mind all the above are unforgivable sins. I know there are others that have similar views to mine shown here. My more esoteric personal and political reasons for disliking Google I will keep to myself.

This little fiasco with Google disrespecting our web log is just a bit more sewage in the septic tank of Google that helps solidify my resolve to use Google searches only under protest (as of now I prefer AltaVista although I loathe their copying of Google’s “sponsored” results at the top of a search). As for signing up for a Google service … yeah, right.

[No Longer] Trying “Hello Blogger” WordPress Theme

I have received complaints about the fixed width theme we have been using all of 24 hours now. So, I am trying the Hello Blogger theme today I downloaded from FreeWordPressThemes.com. This is a simple, semi-fluid width theme that should work ok for everyone (I pray!). Please post any comments about this theme here.

Web Log Madness

In case some of you haven’t noticed I’ve recently been trying to straighten out problems with our web log. We had been “hacked” by a blog-bot that exploited a flaw in versions of WordPress prior to the 2.3.3 release. So, I had to clean up several posts removing <noscript> and <iframe> spam sections inserted by these dirty bots. A couple of the posts were pretty much completely trashed. One of them I had not backed up so it had to be completely rewritten once I got the bug fixes in place.

After I updated to WordPress 2.3.3 one of the posts was hacked again and had to be restored from backup. Apparently the hole in the older WordPress allowed the crackers to insert files into our WordPress directory that allowed them back in even after I closed the holes. So, I had to wipe out the directory at our host and reinstall WordPress from download. I also closed off registration until I could find out if the updated WordPress was now really “secure”.

Then we had comment problems due to the upgraded WordPress and an old theme I had been using [sigh]. So, I had to solve that problem by updating to a new theme. Now it appears that the new theme causes “issues” with folks using Firefox (jerky scrolling) and it does not scale well for those that need to use large fonts to view web pages [sigh, sigh]. I updated to the latest release of the new theme and the latest release of WordPress as of today. Still not fixed [sigh, sigh, sigh]. Needless to say, I am tired of chasing down problems with our blog at this point. So, I am sticking with the new theme for a bit and going to try to contact the theme author to see if he would be willing to look into the problems.

I’ll put another post in this category (ERACC Blog) once I have more information for y’all.