A few weeks ago, Google decided to drop TPN from its index. Why? They apparently think we’re lowly spammers. I need your help.
First, a little history –
As some of you may recall, back in March, on the day I was leaving Melbourne to relocate to Brisbane, I found out that TPN had been massively hacked. We’d parted ways with out IT partner a few months prior and had spent that time waiting for our new IT partner, a large firm in Melbourne, to get their act together and provide us with a contract to begin work. In the meantime, our servers weren’t upgraded with the latest patches, someone got in through a security hole and went to town exploiting the hell out of our backend. Almost every one of TPN’s 100+ sub-domains had hidden pharmaceutical spam all over it, our email server was sending out spam, there were even a couple of banking phishing sites.
So I spent the first week waiting for the new IT partner to help us out. As it turned out, they were useless and did nothing. So I started looking for a NEW partner. As you know, TPN runs on the smell of an oily rag, so finding a new IT partner wasn’t going to be easy. I can’t just call up IBM Global Services and offer them $1 trillion to create miracles.
However, after I called for help on Twitter, the guys from Pollenizer quickly introduced me to a firm in India called XMinds. Xminds jumped straight into our system and started cleaning it up and re-building it. They were Oscar Goldman and TPN’s servers were their Steve Austin (but they didn’t cost anywhere near six million dollars).
We cleaned out our servers (or so we thought) and re-built and re-launched. The process took about 3 weeks.
Fast forward to Nov 5 when I was notified by a few people that TPN wasn’t listed in Google’s index. I jumped into my Google web account where I found a notification from them saying they had discovered pharamaceutical spam on one of our old, long-dead sub-domains and, as a result, had delisted our ENTIRE site from their index. Not just the one sub-domain, our ENTIRE site. No warning. No communication. Just delisted us, a war of shock and awe launched on our site.
I immediately had XMinds delete the old sub-domain completely and then I re-submitted TPN into the Google index. That was 13 days ago. We’re still not listed.
I’ve asked around, trying to find someone at Google to talk to, and I’ve been told that I’m wasting my time, that the process will take 30+ days and even then there will probably be a penalty to our googlerank.
Now, I know TPN isn’t the biggest and most important site in the world. But, on the other hand, we’re not totally small fry either. We’ve got about 400,000 – 500,000 unique visitors a month and over 6 million page views a month. We’ve never done anything illegal or even dubious. I’ve always maintained a clean site. No gambling, no porn, nothing.
And, like many sites, a great deal of our traffic comes from Google. Fortunately, iTunes is probably a bigger referral of traffic, but Google is #2. And being dropped from their index is hurting us.
So… if anyone out there knows of anything we can do, or anyone we can talk to, to get TPN re-listed in Google’s index, I’d appreciate the help.