Why Google won’t remove that page you don’t like

(This is just a post from my personal perspective, but I hope it’s helpful.)

Every few weeks or so, someone contacts me and says “Hey Matt, there’s page out on the web about me that I really don’t like. Is there any way to remove it from Google’s index?” People don’t usually say it like that. More likely, they say “There’s this person making crazy claims about me on the web, and the stuff they say is just off-the-wall. Can Google remove this crazy person’s page?” Or “Everybody knows that this crazy person is posting lies and twisting people’s words. Is there anything you can do about it?”

I want to kill a webpage!

I’ve responded to this so many times that I thought I’d write up a complete response. Now when people ask me some form of this question, I can just point them to this blog post. So here’s the sort of reply that I would normally send back:

Unfortunately there’s not much I can do. The page you pointed out is not spam, and pretty much the only removals (at least in the U.S., which is what I know about) that we do for legal reasons are if a court orders us. We typically say that if person A doesn’t like a webpage B, only removing page B out of Google’s search results doesn’t do any good because webpage B is still there (e.g. it can be found by going to it directly or through other search engines). In that sense, the presence of that page in Google’s index is just reflecting the fact that the page exists on the wider web.

The best actions for you from our perspective can be one of a couple options. Either contact whoever put up webpage B and convince them to modify or to take the page down. Or if the page is doing something against the law, get a court to agree with you and force webpage B to be removed or changed. We really don’t want to be taking sides in a he-said/she-said dispute, so that’s why we typically say “Get the page fixed, changed, or removed on the web and then Google will update our index with those changes the next time that we crawl that page.” Our policies outside the U.S. might be different; I’m not as familiar with how legal stuff works outside the U.S.

There you have it. People usually aren’t happy to hear that reply, but I hope they can understand the reasoning behind it. If you were creating your own search engine, I also hope that you’d come to pretty much the same conclusion. The official documentation page on how to remove a page from Google’s search results says essentially the same thing, but I wanted to give a little more context.

169 Responses to Why Google won’t remove that page you don’t like (Leave a comment)

  1. I agree with Google’s idea on this. I setup Google Alerts for my name and website and keep track as best as I can.

  2. I had no idea Matt was such an artist!

    Great idea, I know how crazy it is to have to repeat the same answers and I can only imagine you have tons of others.

    Say, I have tiny little idea to make an improvement to the Google search results. Matt tweet me at @MySeoPie and I’ll tell ya. It’s simple and I think people would use it a lot as it does not exist that I can tell.

    Best Regards.

  3. But where’s the killer bunny? 🙂

  4. Removing it from Google just removes it from the most popular place the page may be found, just a placebo effect really.

    That page most likely will show up on archive.org, scrapers sites, etc. and search engines from foreign countries that could give a rats behind about U.S. legal stuff, have it cached, and almost never refresh their index.

    The truth is that even getting the page removed won’t stop the problem, their is not solution to the problem.

  5. when i do a search i get a list of results right? right. well do you think i want to be sent to a site that is a list of results, umm nope! your algorithm is being abused by link directories like finda and the yellowpages hotfrog etc… the more businesses that advertise with those list of results the let adwords you sell, do you guys still get it or are you too busy shopping?

  6. Matt, the link you posted in the sentence “The official documentation page on how to remove a page from Google’s search results says essentially the same thing, but I wanted to give a little more context” doesn’t resolve to an article. It returns:

    We’re sorry, but the information you’ve requested cannot be found. Please try searching or browsing the Help Center.

  7. Let me play devil’s advocate for a moment, Matt.

    Google consistently gives prominence to web pages such as Rip-off Report. Reliable sources have reported that ROR’s business model is to make up negative reports and then ask the targeted business to pay high fees for “reputation management” services.

    Would Google be a better netizen if they investigated when reliable sources say that the search results are being used for unsavory (to say the least) purposes? Google removes sites that host malware. Why not also remove sites that host “malinfo”?

    Check Rand’s post:
    Accusations that Rip-Off Report just an Extortion Business.

  8. Addendum:

    We pages don’t matter much when they are not prominent. What really destroys a business or personal reputation is a negative result near the top of Google. Anything else we can live with.

    To a certain extent, Google is burdened with a higher responsibility, in my opinion, because of their success. As the run-away leading search engine, what Google says matters a lot more than anything else in many situations.

  9. I don’t want stuff removed I just don’t want it ranking #2 when it’s full out lies and misinformation 😉

  10. Thanks Matt,
    although it is a tough pill to swallow sometimes, it does make sense…

  11. Reuben Yau, the killer bunny with big pointy teeth? I’ll have to think about including him in future posts.

  12. “Reliable sources have reported that ROR’s business model is to make up negative reports and then ask the targeted business to pay high fees for “reputation management” services.”

    If this is a common practice and reliable sources have documented it then people should have no difficulty at all in getting a court to agree with that as a statement of fact. I said my piece about ROR at Vegas PubCon, which is that they don’t meet the bar for webspam that we’d remove a site for, so I’d want to see a court agree with you before we took action. I really don’t want Google acting as the truth police, and in general I think many people would agree that’s a slippery slope.

  13. “But where’s the killer bunny?” …
    …it’s just a harmless little bunny!
    (probably my favorite scene from any movie, ever – that and the black knight)

    I have to say I agree with you Matt – Otherwise whats to say that someone cant make stuff up just to try and get Google to remove the indexing of a competing page. On the other hand, if someone is obviously defaming someone publicly, it does seem to me that Google should do the responsible thing and remove the page.

    I think that things like this should really be on a case by case basis.

    Makes sense to me.

  14. Nice overview Matt, thanks!

    Jonathan points out what I was thinking… “We(b) pages don’t matter much when they are not prominent. What really destroys a business or personal reputation is a negative result near the top of Google. Anything else we can live with.”

    The full answer you could share Matt is including something like: You could release more current content that will be seen as more relevant, then your “bad” info would place lower in results pages.

    Just a thought. 😎

  15. Who drew that pic? Whoever drew it seems to have a serious case of repressed sociopathic issues. And to that person I say…stop repressing and start acting on them!!! I’d like to suggest IBM and Bell Canada as primary targets. 😉

  16. To a certain extent, Google are already acting as the truth police when they decide what pages to rank for a search on a business or person’s name.

    If you are interested in search quality, which encompasses more than just spam, you have to be interested in accuracy. When there is evidence of persistent misinformation from a source, I think you have to take a closer look at that source.

    The challenge we have is that going to court to get a ruling on ROR would cost somebody a few hundred thousand bucks. Reports indicate that ROR tends to back down when faced with litigation. What person that gets the results that they want for themselves will then go spend a few hundred thousand to help the web community at large, and all the little folks who can’t afford to hire a litigation attorney?

  17. Well said, otherwise there would be no end to the amount of requests for removal of content through out the web.

    There is only a certain amount of policing that Google can do as they do not rule the internet and say what can and can’t be on the net, except in their search engine.

    I don’t even believe the internet should be Policed, if it was (which it may be at some point) we wouldn’t have the freedom to express our own feelings or opinions.

  18. Matt: Yes that’s the one.

    Jonathan Hochman:
    “To a certain extent, Google are already acting as the truth police when they decide what pages to rank for a search on a business or person’s name.”

    I’d argue against Google acting as truth police. It displays results based largely on popularity. If the truthful version of something happens to be more popular than gets higher visibility. If constant misinformation is published about a source, then it will gain popularity and also be represented. [rip off report] is a great example.

    I don’t think it’s Google’s job to take a closer look, it’s the job of the consumer to review the information provided.

  19. Had a similar thing happen to me. One guy wanted me to remove a porn site with a similar name to his site from the web. Then he wanted me to “hack Google” to remove it (talk about asking for bad Karma) And he got very upset when I told him what he wanted was impossible, or at least immoral and illegal.

    Of course, his site was new, the other site had been around for years, and he didn’t understand SEO (he didn’t even change the default title tags on his web pages.)

    Some people just don’t get it regardless of how much you explain it to them.

  20. I am not suggesting Google entertain requests for page removal. That would be absurd. Instead, I think Google should keep an ear to the ground, and maybe once or twice a year they should pick the most egregious liars and toss them out of the index, pour encourager les autres.

  21. Fair point, its not up to google, it should be up to whatever government the website exists in i.e. spreading hate, inciting hatred etc in the uk we have laws against it. Mind you don’t know who you complain to, but its not google in the first instance.

  22. > at least in the U.S., which is what I know about

    Does Google in other countries also have a “head of web spam” position, and if so do you know any of them?

    And did you have a role in acting as head of webspam in the recent Google Japan downranking, as it’s outside the US?

  23. I’m with Johnathan. It shouldn’t be so difficult – and more importantly, so bias to the affluent – for your users to do this.

    I was reading a case recently of a female student suffering real-life consequences from forum results appearing on Google. The voluminous, malicious remarks about her were so obviously outrageous so as to be a no-brainer for removal – but no, Google hung her out to dry.

    The forum-operator would absolutely not entertain her pleas for removal (thinking he was l33t).

    She has/is still pursuing this, I believe, at great personal cost, but “winning”.

    I know it’s a slippery slope but there are clear no-brainer cases where common sense judgements can be made quickly. People are being seriously harmed and it will only get worse with time as malicious folk discover Google won’t do anything.

    Google comes out looking bad when it lets people down like this.

  24. Philipp Lenssen, I’m head of the webspam engineering team worldwide, so I can speak to webspam policies worldwide (e.g. the google.co.jp PageRank drop was put in place by my team). My post also covered removals for non-spam reasons, which I’m not in charge of, and since I’m less familiar with outside-U.S. policies for non-spam removals, I felt the need to insert that disclaimer.

    Jonathan, it’s safe to assume that we debate these issues quite a bit within Google, but there’s nothing different/new to report regarding this since I spoke about it at PubCon Vegas.

  25. Multi-Worded Adam, I drew that picture. 🙂

  26. The best way to make the slanderous/truthful/sad-smiley-face page irrelevant would be to create several pages/profiles/etc. that target the keywords that this negative page is ranking for. Create enough pages/profiles/etc to knock the troublesome page off the first SERP or further if so desired.

  27. This was an awesome blog post even without a single word. I am adding this to my list of great artworks on the Internet. Genius, Matt .. genius!

    If you remove content at the request of users, would there still be anything left to index? I can think of thousands of sites I want taken out. Every single one of my competitors sites is a whack job on me … take ’em out Matt. 🙂

  28. What if… accusations that Ripoff Report was attempting to extort businesses in order to sell them reputation management services, were in fact attempts to extort Ripoff Report, in an attempt to sell *them* reputation management services? As extorters, Rand and Jonathan, I know a guy… he might be able to sell you some reputation management services. Hmm, in attempting to draw attention to this clear attempt at second-order extortion, I hope I’m not doing something that will somehow bite me in the ass in an unforeseen way… nahhh, that’s probably impossible…

  29. Thanks, Matt. Sorry I missed your talk at PubCon. I hope you take my criticism in the spirit it’s intended: improvement; and I hope Google continues those internal discussions. Sooner or later I’d like to see a more efficient process for resolving these issues. Going to court is not an option for the majority of small businesses.

  30. Matt,

    I borrowed the image on this post, hope you don’t mind.


  31. Dave (original)

    Matt, I agree Google should not remove pages based on hear-say. However, I do think Google should be moving towards placing the most reliable, honest and unbiased pages higher than other pages. Perhaps “branding” is the answer, or part of it?

    Often, “popular”, can mean popular misconception. IMO, popularity and reliability are often 2 different beasts.

  32. Makes complete sense. Google search rocks because it scours the whole web and returns back relevant results, not because it scours only some of the web. Getting involved with these disputes would only serve to harm Google and it’s users due to lower relevant results. If you don’t want something up on the web, contact the site directly, just like you’d contact a newspaper, TV or radio station if they were broadcasting incorrect information (and not say TV Guide).

    Oh, and great pic Matt!

  33. So what you’re saying is that you can’t break out the holy hand grenade unless ordered by God himself after the requester answers questions three.

    Monty Python rules apply!

  34. Matt,

    I have an interesting story that is from the opposite perspective. Someone was unhappy about a page on my site and contacted me about it. Maybe they even contacted Google too.

    I was ranking very well for a certain keyword. My site had some negative, but all true and public information which I felt might be of benefit to others.

    Some time later, I forgot about it. Out of curiosity I checked my rankings for that keyword and saw that I, and other negative pages had been pushed off the first page of Google.

    Instead, there were a number of pages on different sites, with essentially duplicate information. All of the pages were paid for.

    Unfortunately the duplicate content and paid content didn’t trigger any of Google’s filters, but after I noticed it, I reported it using the help us improve link. A couple of times actually because nothing happened the first time.

    Eventually the bogus pages disappeared and my page, and other similar pages were back on the first page.

    It seemed to take some manual intervention. It would be nice if you guys could not prioritize paid content, such as public release sites, over real content.

  35. Hello Matt,

    I’ve an idea to remove the un-wanted page from SEARCH ENGINE database 🙂

    To remove the bad posting we must have to do the following things

    First of all we have to comment on that bad posting and ask the customer to provide the authentic data . So that we can check he is our real customer or our competitor has done all these to blame. If he is really our customer then examine what the blunder he had done so he is suffering and mention those points in that reply.

    Must have to contact those web masters where the negative comments are posted and ask to remove that post.

    Must have to review the customer list and find out the happy customers. Then request them for testimonials and post those in Internet and ask them for comment on our post.

    Must have to list the company profile in some paid listed sites and optimize that page for the keywords. Definitely it would remove the bad article. For this we have to analyze the competitors to find out where they have listed their sites.

    Must have to post some articles with keyword rich content. It will help to remove the bad article when the article URL get rank.

    Creates pages in different Social Media Sites like stumbleupon.com, digg.com and del.icio.us with the keywords and the pages will get rank in SERP. Then the bad article rank will vanish.

    Make a channel in youtube.com with the video profile of your site and promotion that for the keywords.

    Make at least 5 blog and post content with keywords in time interval and optimize those.

    When the blog URL will get rank bad article will go back.

    What are the benefit you will get??

    At the time of comment posting you will get link to your site. /this will increase the rank in SERP.

    Testimonial will tell the positive aspect of your company.

    Form paid listed sites you will get permanent one-way link. It helps to boost your rank in SERP and the bad article will go back.

    Article posting helps to get back link from the content which is very good from SEO point of view.

    Social media sites help you to create your own profile page with them. Where you can put all the
    necessary info regarding your company and get back links. After optimizing these URL will come in SERP and bad article will go back.

    You can also get above benefit from youtube channel.

    Blogs are just like sister sites of your website. You can Hyperlink to keywords from the content of your. You can optimize the blog URL for specific keywords. So that your blog URL will get rank in SERP and bad posting will go back.

  36. I totally agree with Matt..de-indexing the page from Google is of no use.. people may come to know about that issue from the other Search Engines and also through RSS (subscribers of that website/blog). The only best option is to convince/confuse him/her and get the page down or get the page altered.

  37. Haha, its good to read about this and that other people got similiar expiriences like me.
    In my job I m helping franchise partners in countries all over the world to get a new company webpage. Recently a franchise CEO called me: “Why arent we found in Google anymore?” (Probably because of some redirect problems he has caused himself) “Bring me back into Google! NOW!” 😉

  38. what if happens the contrary… someone gave my page for spam index and google accepted their proposal… That were just unfair competition. What’s google behavior?

  39. I love the idea of Google ranking honest and unbiased pages higher.

    The good news is I have an algorithm for determining the truthfulness of any statement just by reference to information stored in the web, which is both computable, and can be solved in finite time. No honest I do really trust me 😉

    As someone who hosts websites, we have the same issue arise. A lot of folks turn up and say “they are lying”, “they are saying things I don’t like”, or “that is my copyright”. Unlike Google we can remove such pages from the web (at least the copy on our web servers), but we still aren’t in a position to establish the truth of these claims. We have a dispute resolution procedure, which basically boils down to “does the person who put the pages there dispute the claim?, if so go sort it out between yourselves”.

    Very occasionally a complaint refers to material that is clearly illegal, or violates the Terms and Conditions of their hosting.

  40. The peanut is my favorite.

    Let’s see you just try to ever get this page delisted!

    zi.ma/mattcutts (comment spam)
    Boo Haa Haa!!!!

    I can imagine the pangs it gives ones stomach sometimes keeping true to this.

    I love that google uses the algorithm to sort things out. Unfortunately with a little skill, the evil ones in the world can get some pretty bad stuff to rank well.

  41. The best tactic IMHO if the offending webmaster/blogger is non-responsive is to promote positive URLs and suppress the negative one(s).

    Set up Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter etc profiles using your name and link build to these and other positive URLs to push the offending URL off page 1.

    Or find a link farm and get them to link to the offending URL…

  42. Google is in a hard rock place situation – and I do strongly agree, its a dangerous place for them to start acting as the web police. There is stuff they definently shouldn’t link to, but that line isn’t black and white.

    I have just spotted a private conversation that I had with someone about business tactics taken out of place in an email conversation and plastered on the web, I think it is the responsibility of the publisher to make sure that private stuff stays private.

    Q. What happens if Google is the ‘publisher’ however – i.e. Blogger?

  43. Matt, very diplomatic he he 🙂

  44. Dave

    “Branding” you mean becuase I am a big brand I shoud get special treatment even if my site is poor? See the comments on another post on matts blog about Asenals main site geting pushed out of poisition 1 by a supporters site bacuase the suporters site was better.

  45. I bet Matt Cutts will quickly change his tune if he ever gets targeted by trolls and cyber bullies who are free to harass people online.

  46. Great Post Matt,

    Things I would add not to confuse anyone, you can still remove your pages from search if site is Yours 🙂 easily done via Google Webmasters Tools.

    But pretty much as u said, if site isn’t doing any harm to many people, nothing any SE can do about….

    I always say “Why did u start using your real name?” ” Why do you piss people off?” 🙂

  47. Matt, perhaps Google could make it easier to find out *how* to remove content, especially for not-as-web-savvy users? Right now, if you want to remove content, you have to go from:
    Google’s Home Page —> About Google —> Contact Us —> Webpage Removal Tool.
    That’s three web pages deep in Google, and that’s not even counting the number of pages you have to go through to actually remove the content. It’s also not that easy to find and took some hunting on my part. Logically, I’d put it in the “Help” section of Google as well. Perhaps a link to removing information could be promoted to the “About Google” page? (Obviously I don’t expect you to put a big bold red link on Google’s home page.)

  48. LOL @ the peanut! Nice touch.

  49. I think this policy is fine. I’m all for free speech.

    But…I do have to wonder if Google can do something about spite pages that people artificially drive up in Google results by holding griefing parties and getting everybody to link them, click on them, drive them up. That is, some goofy spite page would never on its own, just by itself, be coming up to the top, but the griefing parties drive it up.

  50. @Robert S. Robbins: I know for a fact that Google staff have been the targets of online harassment, and that’s nothing that I’d wish on anyone. I am sure Google are keenly aware of the problem.

    What we need is a better answer than “go to court and spend $250,000 to litigate a case in front of a judge who doesn’t understand the technology.” There needs to be a more expedient process for determining that a website is engaging in fraud, abuse or scams, so that the Web 2.0 community can exclude them. Just because a problem is hard does not mean it is unsolvable.

    I think there is a lot of value in preventing web services from being used as attack vectors. It’s better to fix the problem ourselves than to wait for government to enact well-meaning but misguided rules.

  51. This is not quite true. I know of at least one web site that was de-listed for containing illegal content and/or promoting illegal activity. While controversial, the web site contains no such material. Other major search engines still index it. As far as I know, the people who run the web site are unaware of any court orders affecting their web site and Google.

    The take-away from this:

    The absence of a long-running site in Google does not mean that it is a spam site or that it is subject to a court order.

  52. Google would serve the public better if it stopped being a directory for warez.

    It was always a problem in the Web Search, and Blog Search became ridiculous years ago from the number of fake sites (particularly on Blogspot), and recently even Google News has had ads from people trying to get their own executable code onto consumer machines by counterfeiting brandnames.

    There are people out there who want to hurt others. It’s shameful that Google abets their efforts.


  53. Multi-Worded Adam, I drew that picture.

    In that case…that is so freakin’ awesome! It’s like there’s this secret split personality that you have possibly waiting to perform vivisections on spammers. You guys see what happens if you start DNS hijacking or link exchanging or buying paid links for SEO reasons? Matt’s goin’ bring da PAIN, Terry Tate-style!

    Seriously, dude, that pic rocks. It’s so dark!

  54. I think you need to factor in how relevant the source of the information is. If you are actively promoting yourself and associate yourself with relevant sites, you will push those pages into oblivion.

  55. Wonderful post! I do agree with it. Is not so easy to manage your online reputation and can’t avoid some bad words, as long as you do your best and response ethically. I have to thanks to this post because it has alerted me of something that I should react asap, as I can understand the frustration to have to repeat answering the same questions by different clients. I think I will also same like Matt create a FAQ type blog post to answer most frequently asked questions by clients 🙂 Thanks!

  56. “I bet Matt Cutts will quickly change his tune if he ever gets targeted by trolls and cyber bullies who are free to harass people online.”

    Robert S. Robbins, someone posted an anonymous rant to Usenet a few years ago. They claimed to be a Googler (I could tell they weren’t because they got some details wrong that a real Googler wouldn’t) and that all things wrong with Google could be attributed to me. It was a pretty long post, and purely anti-Matt. I take my smears and various lumps just like anybody else.

    Jonathan Hochman, I always welcome your take; constructive criticism and opinions are important. Even when someone criticizes Google heavily, we try to peer through to the kernel of the argument and see what we can improve. For example, http://www.wolf-howl.com/category/google/ is a bunch of articles that might come across as anti-Google, but Michael does make lots of good points and I take that feedback seriously, even if it comes in with an extra dose of sarcasm. 🙂

    “Q. What happens if Google is the ‘publisher’ however – i.e. Blogger?”

    Good question. If the content is hosted by Google (Blogger, YouTube, Street View), we do have different policies. I was only talking about our policies for web pages in our index.

  57. the problem is more about the anonymous idiots than the he-said she-said scenario!

    i do agree getting in touch with One search engine rarely would solve the issue! its geting in touch with the hosting company that would give better results. (afcourse with fingers crossed)


  58. Matt, what about asking ISP to remove “that page”?

  59. Google can always put an offending page in the nether regions of the results, so removal is not really necessary, methinks.

  60. > only removing page B out of Google’s search results doesn’t do any good because webpage B is still there

    Google has some problem with its search algorithm and displays some old search results on the top as compared to other search engines which are constantly displaying updated content. In this case google should tweak the search content to display more relevant information on the top.

    I agree with Robert – “ever gets targeted by trolls and cyber bullies who are free to harass people online.” Searchers look for and focus on negative content more than positive content so Google’s algorithm (as compared to other search engines) favors those more than righteous search results.

  61. As frustrating as it is to deal with misinformation and trolls on the internet, it’s probably best that Google remain content agnostic. Removing information at the request of private parties gets into the sticky situation of censorship, especially as there are a lot of people who could use this sort of scenario to squelch opposing viewpoints that they don’t like.

    On the flip side, it’s very easy to have an individuals/business’s reputation damaged by a few malicious pages. Considering that your only option at that point is ask nicely or spend a giant pile of money in legal fees, having another method (especially for individuals) to resolve conflicts like that would certainly be nice.

  62. Totally agree Matt, also, love the inclusion of rm -rf/ haha!

    As an aside, what font is this I’m typing? I’m using Win XP IE6 (work PC).

  63. Klodrik Fanatik

    Dear Matt (or others…),

    1. I’ve contacted the webmaster and he has removed the info.
    2. The cache is finally gone.

    But, the description on the SERP still contains the info. It’s not a 404-page, but it’s a page containing nothing but a box for username and password.

    Is this going to go away by itself (now that the cache is gone, but it’s still there…)?

  64. On a somewhat similar tangent, it would be nice to have a filter list that would permanently exclude selected websites from ever appearing in search results. I tend to click on results based on titles and occasionally end up at sites that I’ve found to be consistently less than useful…either because they have pop ups, require registration/payment to view the relevant content or have gargantuan lists that capture many less popular search terms but offer little in the way of substance. I guess for people who feel unjustly maligned they could at least remove the site from ever appearing in their own search results.

    Just like linking to a site adds to the site’s page rank…perhaps permanently filtering a site could subtract from the site’s page rank…even more so than merely removing the site from specific search results.

  65. What Google just said sounded like the biggest cop out I’ve ever heard. I mean, if you google my name, the first thing you’ll see is the Encyclopedia Dramatica, the worst troll site you’ll ever find on the internet. I had people know me more for a site that had photoshopped pictures of child porn declaring it as “my inspiration” over my own web site. (While they took that picture down, and eventually moved their page on me so that Link #1 goes to a blank page, they actually had that pic and their dead link is STILL #1 on the searches.) And almost every attempt I have of at the least changing that ranking only got me blank states and the occasional middle finger. And the meantime anyone who could have had a job for me that googled my name would have kept me at arms length.

    I ask you, how can you just tell someone like me that “There’s nothing they can do” about sites that intentionally harm other people for their own amusement. And I assure you the ED does do that. You can expect them to show up in responds claiming that I’m acting butthurt again. On this very page

    Google has GOT to have some control for people to be able to at least filter unwanted pages from their pages, so that they won’t have a troll site practically hang on them like the proverbial millstone.

  66. I agree with the comment from Douglas regarding the process to have no-longer-active pages removed from googles index. It is difficult to find and in my own experience is typically unsuccesful.

    Years ago, I started contacting google regarding the removal of cached pages that were no longer active. I was directed to the webmaster removal tool, for which my requests have ALL been denied, even though they complied with the requirements.

    Finally, in frustration, and after too many back and forth canned responses from the google help team telling me to go back to the webmaster tools, I discovered the DMCA. I started sending formal notices to Google, and again was met with resistance and redirects back to the webmaster tools…eventually after months of persistence, I was able to have a resolution.

    I realize that it is not Googles responsibility to police the web or censor materials, but for legitimate requests, the process is frustrating and very time consuming for the end user.

  67. Whoa. That graphic is epic.

    I read this in my RSS reader and thought it was a great article. But then I was talking with someone else, and they mentioned the great graphic you made, which I had completely missed.

    Please don’t make your RSS readers have to go without seeing images! Fix your feed so that I don’t miss such great artistic talent in the future — after all, I came _this_ close to never realizing the greatness of that graphic at all!

  68. Mitch Theophila

    Your reliance on the courts to provide guidance on page removal only closes the door to small companies and individuals who can’t afford to lawyer up enough to get something through the court system in time to help them avoid loss of revenue or reputation .. and that would be most small companies and individuals.

    “with great power comes great responsibility.” the world needs Google to show it gets that equation.

  69. A small claims court has the authority to order a takedown notice. Often the actual amounts of real money involved would not require more legal firepower, unless damages are sought.

    Unfortunately, I did find this 2006 article http://tinyurl.com/smallclaims that seems to indicate that horribly censorious things can happen through the legal system at relatively low cost as well.

  70. Matt,

    Here is a couple questions that may seem snarky, but I am 100% serious that an answer is needed so you can define what appears to the rest of us to be an uncontrollably slippery slope.

    1. You often tell webmasters to publish their sites for their users and don’t worry about manipulating search engines–that’s Google’s concern. However, now you are explicitly telling us that if we don’t keep your algorithms in mind, we can expect to be penalized. What if I thought NOFOLLOW was only for comment spam. Would I be penalized for not keeping up on your indexing problems?

    2. You claim that even if a link has editorial merit (as it clearly does in the people who actually shopped at target and wrote about their positive experiences), if you received payment from that entity then you should nofollow it.
    However, you link to Google all the time. You are clearly compensated by them. I don’t care if you think Google Earth is really cool and linkworthy. The fact is, you collect a check from them and then link to them. In your black and white world, you are guilty of sponsored posts, no?

    On many occasions you have run posts by legal and gotten buyoff to make an official statement via this blog, so you can’t even claim this is your “personal” blog, because no court would buy it because they know if you quit Google tomorrow and started work as a teller at a movie theatre you’d lose the majority of your audience. People come here to hear about what you do at Google. Even you can’t claim otherwise with a straight face.

    Matt, you need to find a way to detect what you want for your index without the coercion of publishers. Let them write for the people and you worry about your algorithm and what it can or can’t detect.

  71. Travis Lane, that’s not true. When Matt joined Yahoo! a few years back, he didn’t lose a single reader.

  72. Matt,

    Can you comment on whether Google’s position might be any different when personal information is posted? I know there’s an article in the Google help docs about requesting removal of a page containing an SSN or credit card number.

    Someone incorrectly attributed my cell phone to another individual with whom I assume I share my name on a RoR post. This is the only single instance of my number occurring on Google, and I don’t intend to launch a reputation management campaign to further spread my private contact info. 🙂

    Thanks for taking the time to read this.

  73. Wow this is one of the most content-rich articles I’ve read on SEO… Thanks for making me feel stupid Matt… Your blog articles continue to get better and better, very nice!

  74. No way, is this a peanut? I really thought it was a panty-liner!

  75. What about when Google owns the bad page (it’s a blogger site)?

  76. We already do these Reputation Management services for google SERPs. This post just reminded me that I need to do a post about it.

    I’m glad Google doesn’t remove the results; because we charge a fair sum to manage the SERPs for people that really want or need it done.

    Don’t change that policy! You’ll kill one of our cash cows 😉

  77. Paging Solomon…?

    I understand the “no one *wants* us to be the thought police” point of view entirely, and I agree with it.

    Conversely, the “$250k in court” point of view is a pretty realistic evaluation of the situation, and the “it would still be on the web” argument doesn’t carry as much water, Matt, as I think you’d like, and here’s why I think so:

    Are you using Firefox?

    Look up in the right corner of your window. Where does that little search box go to by default? As much as we’d like to say it doesn’t — and believe me, I’d like to say it doesn’t — the “reality” of “what the Internet is” s defined by the majority of the people who use it… and they’d be lost if Google folded its tents and went home tomorrow, and you know that they would.

    The Internet, for better or worse, is what Google says it is.

    And that puts you in a monopoly position, all your search competitors notwithstanding… which requires you to exercise special caution not to be evil. Good Men Doing Nothing does qualify, you know.

    You already have a protocol for this, with Chilling Effects, and while (being a Wikipedian for 6 years) I’m fully aware of the dangers inherent in building any *new* bureaucracy to deal with this issue, I, like Lauren Weinstein, think that the topic probably deserves some more formal attention

  78. Just google “Eric Cesspool Schmidt”

  79. Oct 13, 2008 … According to Google CEO Eric Schmidt, the Internet is a “cesspool” where false information thrives.

  80. I understand why Google can’t “remove” a web page just because someone asks. That is what the courts are for.

    I would like to see Google commit more resources to limiting the amount of Spam posted in Google groups. We see the same people in China posting multiple copies of the same post hawking counterfeit items. Apparently nothing is done when these posts are reported.

    This is ruining Google Groups

  81. Rip Off Report

    Matt I love google. But really the Ripoffreport.com Webpage is garbage and is very highly ranked by google. Often in number 1. The guy makes money off this page hurting reputations. Here is a few examples. Of random pages. Please tell me that this is not a concern.




    This is just garbage. Pick any business name located on the ripoffreport.com and you will see they come up 1,2 or 3 in google. yahoo and MSN have pushed these listing back so they are not on pages.

    This is wrong. Ripoffreport, clearly manipulates the title tags to make sure they are high up in the engines, modifies mettas etc to control teh position. With it high page rank, underlying pages are pushed to the top.

    Here is a few links you should read about rip off report.com





    Matt – Please answer this specifically. Google ahs created an entire industry based around not pushing them down.

    Please reply back.


  82. Actually I think it’s a bit of a lame excuse for Google / Matt to say that “only removing page B out of Google’s search results doesn’t do any good because webpage B is still there”.

    Google has around 50% market share. A common reason people would want these links removed it to avoid a potential employer / partner / etc from finding some information you’d rather they didn’t see.

    Take it out of Google and you reduce the chances by 50%. Get it knocked out of Yahoo and there’s another 25%.

    Really Matt should just come out and say the truth – It’s a can of worms they don’t want to open. Can you imagine how much work it would take for them to maintain the index in this way? It’s not feasible for them to have to handle such requests (short of a court order).

  83. Hi,

    I am just happy that the algorithm that you use in your seach engine consistantly delivers relevant results. At least you filter out the spam site…that is enough for me.

    The only thing that I could think that you could do would be to put a sign next to the website saying that it is safe to be visited, due to the ever increasing numbers in spyware and other types of malware. I would like it even if you had to sign in to your Google Account in order to find out.

    Thank You

  84. I deal with the issue of reputation management and the lack of accountability on the web every day. I can tell you with a 100% certainty that one person who is willing to spend the time can completely destroy a company without much effort as long as that company is not well known, ie Walmart, Sears, etc. I’ve been tempted to write a ‘how to’ article for some time now.

    The problem lies in the fact that no one is accountable. Site owners are protected by laws that say they are not accountable for what users post. Anonymous users are protected by privacy laws and free speech laws. Who is a company going to sue? You’ll get nowhere fast suing the website owner. You’ll never find out who the anonymous poster is because the site owner won’t give them up. If they do give them up, you’ll have an IP address that you will have to try and convince an ISP to translate to a persons name. And if you don’t get that have you ever tried to get a court order against ‘P1nk Fluff13s Bunni3 H@ck3r 01’? And to top it off Google gives these anonymous users power via their search results. Without the search results these sites are worthless. Without the ad revenue the sites go away.

    I can’t believe I’m saying this since I am anti big government but the government needs to step in and create legally binding procedures for site owners, hosting companies, ISP’s and search engines to follow. Something similar to a DMCA takedown request could work.

  85. Dave (original)

    Good points, Travis Lane.

    My main concern with Google is their inability to communicate new changes, that, IF Webmasters don’t use, they are punished.

    You are dead right about most only reading and linking to Matt’s blog due to his current occupation/position at Google.

  86. So, it’s not OK to censor pages in the United States, but it is in China? If Google is already censoring pages in China then they probably are in the United States (and every other country) as well – it’s just done way more on the down-low.

  87. Matt and Rubin Comment –

    RSA Enterprises had a ton of Rip Off Report and then they are all gone in google. Here is some legal I found. http://news.justia.com/cases/featured/new-jersey/njdce/2:2007cv01882/201664/


    Take a peak at this page I found Yikes- Download the doc it is huge. Just trying to help.


  88. @Eric Herboso, the RSS feed seems to have the graphic. I was able to get it in Google Reader, which uses an RSS feed.

  89. Manage your reputation before it is broken. I know sounds like a broken record but one day companies and inviduals will actually listen. Many do not listen until after they have paid a very large sum of money to clean up a mess.

  90. No way, is this a peanut? I really thought it was a panty-liner!

    It’s neither. It’s actually a footprint. Matt’s tapping into his inner Stone Cold Steve Austin and stompin’ a mudhole in someone and walkin’ it dry.

    Now there’s a good costume idea for next Hallowe’en, Matt. Shave your head, put on a nice camouflage cap and black tights, and go to town.

  91. >I really don’t want Google acting as the truth police, and in general I think many people would agree that’s a slippery slope.

    I think this pretty much sums up why Google’s existing policy on the issue is probably the best one. If it’s left up to Google to decide which content is accurate, which is offensive or not offensive, or who’s telling the truth in a personal dispute, it leads to a kind of censorship that I don’t think Google wants to be a part of. Backlash from users would also be (rightfully) swift and scathing in the event that Google started choosing to de-index content based on their own opinions.

  92. I think spam report on WMT doesn’t work for this problem…

  93. As Jhet said, reputation management can really be hard. Destroying personal as well as brand or company reputation should not be supported by search engines.

    What about websites offering crime pillory services, breaching law as well as copyrights and trying SEO against politicians, VIPs and private persons as a service, e.g. addressing Germany but protected by US Hosts and US Privacy Services?

    I would love to give you an example, filled with lies, racism and reputation damage efforts – plus lots of Google AdSense! If you do a search for the author of those articles more and more results from ChillingEffects.org show up, driven by lawyers in order to protect their customers against untrue stories and crime pillory.

    Is this the new type of spam fighting, searching for untrue stories and forbidden content and help people find it in ChillingEffect comparisons after all? I think it`s not. Using this way of reputation management you flag yourself in search engines. This is not really what you want. Is it?

    Aren`t crime pillories a new kind of spam? Good enough for Google Trust and Search Engine Rank? Also good enough for AdSense Campaigns?

    In my opinion protected services like this (probably no real name, no address but a lot of dangerous influence) is a new type of spam. I don`t know if people pay for those articles. But people mentioned on portals like that might have a huge reputation problem and no chance to do anything against it.

  94. Kelly Lincoln

    Is that why you will not remove a defamatory posting from google groups? To be clear, the posting is defamatory. to call defamation a “free speech” issue or tell met to ask the person who posted it under my boyfriends name to remove it, is bs.

  95. Heheh,very cool ilustration, i wonder who draw it,anyway thanks for the response. 😉

  96. As your blog suggested, I followed the steps to remove a page from your search results on 6 March. The removal request was approved. Over the weekend, I ran a search, and the page did not show up in the search results. Now, though, when I run the query that resulted in the page showing up, the cached page appears (again!) in the search results, despite the fact that:
    1. I requested a removal and got a removal and
    2. The actual page that is linked to returns a 404 error.

    There’s now nothing I can do about removing it, because there’s no way to contact Google to get it really removed from your search results.

  97. @Kelly Lincoln Once people start impersonating you online you have some leverage. For one, it is illegal to impersonate someone online in some states such as NY. It may be illegal everywhere if you can prove it is a form of identity theft. It may not be worth it to pursue in a personal dispute but if it is done against a business it may be woth it.

  98. Matt

    Found this about you on rip off report FYI. Is it fair to be posted? ( It is garbage but shows up when you search your name in google?



    Note that ripoffreport .com pust your name in title tag etc to get higher SEO etc.




    Sorry for the bad news Matt. I think you are great. It jsut time to shut down these clowns. They even place text ads in your rip off report to make money.


  99. You suggested: take them to court. The problem is that in my case, it’s the court that’s publishing erroneous information about me. While the court do not use my name directly, it uses another’s adding my name as an a.k.a. Fight the court you suggest? I’m sure you know how expensive it is to get justice. If it’s not the government milking us, it’s the lawyers. Can’t win fighting either one of them – either one will get your money. What worth saving a good name when it costs every penny one’s got? What’s in a name anyway you say? Well, because the published person’s name is aka’ed mine, coming from the court people are likely to miscontrue one for the other. For example, Joe Blow is also known as the Bostron Stranger. It isn’t so. The Boston Strangler was actually a different person that was never taken to court. Result: wherever Joe Blow goes, those who have seen the Google “info” construe Joe Blow as the Boston Strangler. Google should at the very least drop web information that are disputed.

  100. If someone has a real gripe with a company, it’s much easier for them to get negative content to the top of Google by using powerful negative content driven by sites like ROR. You would never post to these sites with positive content.

    One of my clients has a big issue now as someone now is adding to Wiki another site that seems to dominate top rankings, combined wiki and ROR and their references to each other makes if very difficult to keep incorrect information from the top of Google, because of the weight of the site not because of the facts. Thus this makes it very easy for negative content to get to the top and not positive.

    It’s in human nature to write negative stuff and not positive stuff.

  101. hi. I have a question. My mom ”googled” herself and it shows some of her medical problems. She wants/needs these pages removed from search engines.

  102. Hi Matt,

    I had posted a complaint on http://www.consumercomplaints.in after several weeks there was a settlement between me and the person. I had sent a request to http://www.consumercomplaints.in to remove my post submitted from their website. http://www.consumercomplaints.in has already removed the page from their website and has also sent a request to google servers. I have also requested the same through Page Removal Tool. However, still after several requests sent by me and the website webmaster the content still displays in google search without any relevant information when clicked on that search result list. I would like to request google to remve it from their cache as all the required steps have been already taken by Website Owner or Webmaster and myself

  103. Costa Glikofridis

    Hi Matt,

    There is a story published on a website that falsely lists me of being charged for a crime. I have a court decision document giving me an “absolute discharge” of the charge, in other words I should never have been charged in the first place. I have contacted the webmaster of the site twice and with no success. Is there somewhere I can send a copy of my court document to have the link removed?



  104. I think many people would agree that’s a slippery slope.

  105. Im curious about you stating on whether courts agree with the wrong doings of ROR. If in fact I provide you with a list of successful cases against ROR, does this mean that you will reconsider? Since you arent the truth police and the courts are… and that seems fair.. then all you need are court documents right ?

    There have been many cases lost by ROR and the basis of what they were doing was wrong and/or illegal. Now that you have agreed to go by what the courts decide (and there is documentation of such that exists with ROR as the loser in the cases) does this mean you would only remove the ROR page of the company that won against suing ROR or that you will at the very least put less emphasis on giving them high results?

    If its in fact up to a court to decide what should be done, I would be more than happy to provide you with court findings on ROR where they lost. But the question is, would it really make a difference like you said? I hope so. Please respond.

  106. Here is what I don’t understand… I pulled the information from MY web site 18 months ago, completely shut the site down, and created a DIFFERENT site with the same name…. yet information I had on the first site NOT available to the public to begin with ( I was simply storing court documents on the server) are showing in the searches…. how do I get THAT stopped? It’s not in the CACHED pages either it’s stored as a down loadable document. (that was how I had it stored on that server)….

    HELP please

  107. I too know of someone put on a certain website that has been used to slander their name. If they are allowed to do it to Matt Cutts and get away with it they will do it to anyone. These sites should be stopped.

  108. I’d sure like to keep experts-exchange.com from popping up in my search results. It’s just a spam site that wants you to pay to see answers to questions. Anything I could do to keep from seeing that when I Google a programming question?

  109. Hi Matt,
    In 2003 as a joke someone on a USENet group posted a thread with my full name in the title claiming I was impersonating him including some bizarre content with fake e-mail address and responses. I never payed much attention to the thread until launching a professional web site early this year. The content from the joke thread now appears directly under my web site in a Google search with my name.

    I have contacted the author of the thread and asked him by phone call to remove the content. He agreed and has made a sincere effort to remove the his thread with no luck. Apparently, the web site with the thread copy and pasted his USENET posting and rejected his request to remove the thread from their server.
    Due to the fact the thread is an active thread it continues to show up on a Google search.

    My 2 questions are:
    What can I do legally to have the thread removed from the site?
    Who can I contact at Google to ask for the thread to be removed to avoid both reputation damage and financial loss?


  110. First I would like to commend Matt for his work of art. My family has a small business and was a victim of that ROR. I have to agree with what Matt said in his post as well as what the others have stated.

    Though some may have their doubts, I am thankful that my family acquired the services of Reputation-Technologies.com. They were able to push down the negative stuff to the 5th or 6th pages of Google and placed positive information about our business on the top pages. If interested, you can check out their link: http://www.reputation-technologies.com/

  111. Unfortunately this blog post didn’t cover the situation where Google itself is publishing the defamatory material. Our company has been the victim of outrageous libel posted on Google Reviews by people claiming falsely we are engaged in criminal activity, among other horrible and false things, yet Google will not consider removing it. But they did at least respond, and they did say that they will comply with court orders.

    So we hired an attorney and filed a John Doe lawsuit so that we could subpoena Google to give us the identifying information of the malicious posters, and – surprise – Google’s in-house attorney told us they will not respond to a Colorado subpoena since they are in California. Thus, Google deceptively tells people they will respond to court orders without mentioning that those orders must come from a Santa Clara County, California judge. We investigated hiring a California attorney and starting a lawsuit there but we simply cannot afford it. And who is to say that Google will actually comply with such a subpoena: they have already deceived me twice (the second time is below). And we believe we are losing customers due to the libel.

    Meanwhile, we found out that Google has an office in Colorado, and thus they really are subject to the jurisdiction of a Colorado court. So even their lawyers are willing to deceive us.

    What’s the next step? As soon as we can afford to pay for more legal services, we will seek to have Google held in contempt of court for ignoring a properly-issued subpoena. But do you think that is the end of the story, or do you think Google will hire the biggest law firm in Denver to bury our sole practicioner with papers and motions, forcing me to drop the case because I cannot afford to fight a multi-billion dollar corporation?

    Google has an economic incentive to allow every kind of libel to be published on its Google Reviews. Google earns its revenue from advertising, and the ad rates are based on eyeballs. Thus, the more people use Google, the more money this company makes. So if a child day care company posts secretly that their competitor is a convicted child sex offender and it creates havoc in the life of the victim and his customers – the parents who pull their kids out of his day care – or even if it causes some detective or prosecutor to waste their time investigating this non-issue, this is meaningless to Google. The only thing meaningful to Google is that more people will use their service, even out of desperation, and their revenue will increase, if multiplied by all the libel that is going on in Google Reviews (I have found hundreds of posts by businesses harmed just like mine which were posted over a short period of time, leading me to believe that this is a widespread problem, and one that will only grow worse.)

    Obviously, businesses are suffering all across the world. The anonymity that the web affords bring out the worst in human behavior. As a boy, pre-internet, I recall being shocked at hearing that people angry about something a person did in the news would call and threaten to cause trouble to, harm or kill that person. (This was also pre-caller ID.) Now, the same kinds of attitudes that enables a human to behave that way are facilitated, immeasurable, by services like Google Reviews.

    What’s the answer? The law has to catch up with technology. Let’s consider the concept of justice. It it a just society that allows an anonymous person to sit at home, open multiple Google accounts, and then ruin a business and cause emotional distress to innocent people without the victims being able to correct the libel without hiring a California attorney and going to court in that state? No, this simply is not just. Is there a solution? I am not an expert, but it would seem to me that if we wish to freely allow expression that could be defamatory, we should just as freely create a way to correct or remove the defamation. And since Google will not do this, Congress must. As it stands, libelists rule, and Google enables them to the enormous dismay of many innocent victims.

    According to Upton Sinclair, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

  112. I agree. If you remove every page someone doesn’t like there would be very few pages left and you wouldn’t have time for anything else.

  113. Christine McLaughlin

    So there are no “safe search” setting to screen out porn, etc. ? Because otherwise I need to block Google search from my computer. I don’t want my ten year-old using Google search if there are no options for parents. He has his own user account on my computer, and when he signs online it takes him directly to a safe kid’s site with a safe kid’s search engine. BUT I am not going to leave it to chance that he will NEVER sit down at my computer when I’m logged in with my profile. If he were to Google something, and see this type of thing, that would be bad.

    Too bad Google doesn’t families with children to use their search engine.

  114. i cant believe so many people here are like ‘oh matt, someone posted my name and now its on another site, who do i contact in google to….’ crap! like he says, that would be a stupid way of managing all the indexing and we would end up with less relevent searches in the end.

    its so simple, google reflects whats available : to change whats available is nothing to do with google.

    whats all the fuss about (and most of the time its silly things people have posted themselves! yeah, ‘my friend’ did it.. ahuh.. sure…).

  115. Regarding ROR – your comments about a “slippery slope,” and not wanting to be “truth police,” are irrelevant. The fact is that, by whatever means, the site consistently gets its slimy content on Page 1 of your search results, and it stays there, in a consistent pattern that is very different from any other site that I know of. The owner of the site engages in extortion, and, to all appearances, Google actively helps him do it. Does “do no evil” mean anything to you?

  116. Christine McLaughlin, check out http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/11/locking-safesearch.html for info about setting SafeSearch on your computer and locking it on.

  117. Hi Matt,
    I wanted to add my thoughts on ROR – I hope you aren’t sick of hearing about it! A friend of mine has been damaged by the site, so I may be biased, but I think it’s also a significant and interesting issue in its own right.

    As I understand it, the sequence of events looks something like this:

    1) Google crawls the web indexing pages and using an algorithm to assign them a rank.
    2) The rank has monetary value, so people learn how to game the algorithm to move their pages up.
    3) People at Google evaluate the performance of the algorithm, among other things attempting to ensure that the top-ranked pages have genuine value.
    4) From time to time, Google tweaks the algorithm to improve the quality of the rankings, and the process starts again.

    It’s at step 1, the application of the algorithm, that the argument makes sense about Google not wanting to be the internet police.

    At step 3, though, value judgments enter into it. This is where the argument from algorithmic innocence, if I may call it that, fails. Google wants to ensure that its top results have value, because if they didn’t, people would lose interest in Google. So part of Google’s job is to pass judgment on the results its algorithm returns, for purely corporate-self-interested reasons if nothing else. Google’s users have made it clear that there is a big problem with ROR, not only with comment threads like this, but in many other ways. By not responding, Google has passed a value judgment that the site is a-ok.

    This is a much bigger question than just ROR, of course. As it stands now, anyone can say anything on the web, and Google will index it, and people will learn how to game the algorithm to grab more attention to their message. The long-term result, unless something changes, is that search results will come to be more and more meaningless over time. People will learn to rely more on their own judgment than on the judgment of an algorithm. This may be a good thing overall, but it won’t be good for Google – it means that Google search results will get attached to an attitude like “Oh, ok, that came from a Google search. That doesn’t mean anything, then.” Perhaps the long-term solution is to find an effective way to involve the user community. There have been some attempts along these lines, but so far they haven’t been very effective.

    In my view, the user community has spoken about ROR, loudly enough to get the attention of the other major search engines, which have intentionally pushed those pages lower in their results. I think they have acted responsibly in doing this; so far, Google has not.

    I sympathize with the problem you face, though. It’s a big one.


  118. Hi mr. Matt Cutts, I am deeply sorry if my comment here is out of topic, please accept my apology, it is because I am so frustrate, please at least read what I am going to say, I heard a lot about you on the net and all of the them are positive comments, people say that you are a fair man, therefore those comments have encouraged me to write this comment, I want to report you about great amount of blogs that steal RSS from Yahoo and Bing to get traffic from Google and please deal with them

    These blogs retrieve or fetch Yahoo and Bing RSS Feed and display the results on their blogs that make their blog as if as search engines here is the example of one of them:

    girat.info/search/wordpress+theme (Please visit the site to study it deeper)

    And please see the image result of the link:

    That is the result, and if Googlers click on the headline links they will land to another page of the same blog and so on and that will frustrate Googlers and unfortunately it seems Google loves such links so much, because most of them rank pretty high in Google results for many keywords and those thief get huge amount of visitors from Google, i mean it the blogs get huge traffic from Google alone i have seen many of them get 30,000 visitors daily and they are using WordPress, I don’t know what they use to retrieve Yahoo and Bing feed perhaps they are using a plugin or whatever, but they can change wordpress “search” function, if you search information from their sites, their blogs will display this kind of link;


    not like a usual wordpress search link like this


    And their links are indexed and rank pretty high by Google, many Google face confusion while landing to their pages because they get nothing but another result page (see the image) and if they click the headline link they will land to another page from same blog

    Mr. Matt these kind of blogs only contaminate Google and trouble people who use Google, if you want to keep Google quality please deal with these blogs and I still have long list of the blogs that practice this naughty techniques to gain traffic if you want the name I can give you the list you can email me via my email on this comment

    You don’t have to approve this comment if you don’t want to, I don’t mind either in fact I prefer the comment is not approved at all, but I just want you to take an action and deal with them, they are stealing traffic from other blogs, including me, we have been struggling for months and years to have established blogs and get traffic but they just steal our headlines, descriptions through fake search result on their blog

    Please don’t disappoint me and other bloggers who have the same fate as I do

    And i am sorry because the comment is lengthy i hope this is not the first lengthy comment on your blog

    Thank you very much mr.Matt

  119. There are so many posts here to read so hopefully someone can help me. There is a website blog that has my name listed as being a child predator. Later in the same sentence they go on to say that I am not the person that is in question. I have left comments to the owner of the site asking nicely for him to remove my name from the site but he has never replied or posted my comments.

    I am *not* a child predator! I have been denied employment because a Google search has associated my name with a disgusting and illegal thing.


    The website is http://predatortracker.blogspot.com/ and if you look under the dated section Monday, July 24, 2006 I am mentioned in the first paragraph. They even admit I’m not the man they are looking for yet still will not remove my name…!

    I appreciate any help in removing my name from the site and Google search results. I’ve contacted them but they only say to contact the site owner…

  120. Matt,
    I love it when you bring an issue out like this that has real teeth. An exception to the rule is when a Google asset such as blogger is used for corporate assassination. In less than 10 minutes a 12 year old can use blogger to reduce a company’s gross income by hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    I respectfully submit Google should address this issue. I believe the origional position Google has taken is a good one, but times change and heck, even windows patches bugs when they catch them.

    Michael Guy

  121. I don’t exactly know why they don’t. Perhaps because they can’t. I had to hire an online PR firm before when I had to get rid of a someone’s blog with my name on it being reflected in a negative light. Reputec was very accommodating and they got rid of the bad blog in no time. They also came up with good PRs, based on the resources I provided them, of course. I’m very glad I decided to hire them.

  122. Matt, I understand businesses with attorneys on their staff should have no problem getting a court order, but what about 18 year old high school students who are the victum of cyberbullying on BlogSpot? I don’t have a lot of money for an attorney, and I’m really not sure how the court order stuff works, but I sure do know I’d like to see a particular libelous Blogger blog removed. How does one get a “court order” to have something removed?

  123. I’ve had a person who is out against me trying to create false links that inlcude my name so they come up in search results. I’ve worked dilligently with these various sites to take my name down but sites like ripoffreport won’t take articles down after they are published. Is there anyway to delete these pages from the results when people search “jon hlutke?” These sites are created to defame me, and infect my ability to gain employment or relationships with people who don’t know me. There has to be some kind of control google can place upon what comes up when people search my name. Please help me.

    I’ve created a google profile and I’m in the process of verifying my identity so people can know its really me trying to remove erroneous sites from when I’m searched. I’ve also started a blog, a wiki, a linkedin account, a flickr account, a twitter account, and a ping account to try and take control of my internet reputation, but how long will it take for this to become something buried in my search results is really up in the air. Any advice?

  124. They’ve done it to me first. Didn’t have enough links or something. The result, I went from 45,000 pages indexed to 400.

  125. Jon Hultke,

    I think web press is fair, good or bad. Clean your act up!
    By the way..your press is not too good.

  126. I had the same thing happen to me when I was doing a fundraising program alone time ago.. had a blogger tell me that we were exploiting homeless teens by raising money for them online through affiliate offers… I had a huge contact we were working on, and he alone busted a deal that could have raised millions for homeless teens..

    We are judged not by how we fall, but how we rise

    Getting more capital, and going to give it another shot… 🙂 What can you do? Thanks for this blog, it’s good to know at least people are talking about this issue.

  127. Hey matt it is me again and i have gave you 2 months to react after my report i write in this post and you don’t seem to care to clean google from spam blogs and from black hat technique,or you need more convincing proof?

    you can please to open this link to have proofs;


    see the result in the page from google and all the sites permalinks like this:


    if we pick one link and paste to browser bar and visit the site you will see my point or just try this links;



    you will find what my mean here. please please go to the link and you will find fake search results page like google and yahoo in that sites, please try to click the result you will redirect to the same blog again and again, imagine if information seekers search for information and google take them to the kind of sites and it will only make information seekers angry and their trust on google will be down

    there is no good to keep that sites in google database if you let this sites without punish, in the future their number will be growing and growing because google seems to love the kind sites, believe me i see the kind of sites got thousands over thousands visitors everyday

    i am sorry for my bad english i hope you can understand me

  128. I disagree. An individual has the right to customise what comes up under their name, and it is indeed a personal right. It makes or breaks a person’s identity, and one has the right to choose here. It is not fair that personal information, etc is available on the Internet against someone’s consent. I strongly contest that this policy is changed, and that an individual is able to choose what should be visible in their Google search results and what shouldn’t.

    A person should be able to apply, in a proper procedure, with their identity documents – for things that they don’t want to have public, to be removed.

    Take the example of Twitter? If Twitter has a provision for a person/celebrity to verify their account so that nobody misuses their name, I don’t see why Google can’t provide this to ordinary netizens too. It’s high time this is done.


  129. Here are a few points to note:

    1. Someone on the forum mentioned teen cyber bullying. I whole-heartedly agree. How is a teenager going to defend himself or herself?

    2. Is everyone who is a victim of defamation or libel capable of spending money on a court case? No! So how can everybody either “request the website to remove the information or make a court appeal”?

    3. A person has a right to showcase to the world only and exactly that which they wish to showcase. It’s a basic and fundamental democratic right.

    4. If Twitter allows you to verify your account through a proper procedure, why can’t Google do that too? Surely it’s not technically impossible if one service has already implemented it.

    5. You can enable a way in which the entire link of an article or a webpage or forum is available through certain key word searches, but is not available through other key word searches: keywords that include a certain individual’s name who has applied for this.

    6. You can charge a minimal fee to people for each link they want to remove, and an identity proof certificate or document. That’ll ensure that people don’t misuse this service.

    Google, please help people. It’ll do your brand more good than you can ever imagine.

  130. Florence Stasch

    I doubt whether Google ever reads these comments because they never have the courtesy to acknowledge them.
    So why do I keep posting? Because I have no place else to go. It is a hopeless feeling to have my privacy hijacked. The untrue snippets about me on Google, are for public consumption.
    As I stated before, I am a grandmother and I use my computer to order from Amazon and email my friends and family. I am a private senior citizen of the US. I am not in any way a business. The computer is not my work or my job. Therefore, the formula to remove snippets from the pages is a mystery to me. ie: I don’t know what meta is or even what to do with it if I should ever find out. By nosy intrusion into my life and by keeping the removal tools a secret and ignoring all my pleas for help, Google has complete and total control over my well being and safety. Certainly a scary thought.

    I am not saying that anyone is maligning me on the Internet. This is not a he said-she said situation. I am telling you that Google has collected false information about me and is publishing it on the Internet like it is the truth.
    Just to remind you: I am not a member of Beautiful People, AWG, match.com, Facebook or Classmates.com even though my page states that I am. (To be clear, my husband who has been dead for 9 years was a member of AWG). Those lies are very hurtful to me. Will you please correct it?

    “We’re not responsible for what appears on our website, true or not. It’s not our fault. We are not responsible and unless you are a computer wizard, you can’t take it off. HaHaHaHoHo. Gotcha!!”
    In a desperate attempt to elicit some help in getting these lies removed, I even sent a copy of my CA drivers license to Google
    Answer from Google? Silence. It figures.

  131. Florence Stasch

    Thank you, Google, Inc. for removing some of the out of date material from my “page” but you left the one bit that I originally begged to be removed.
    The Classmates.com reference. I am no longer a member; I am no longer listed; I am not, in any way, associated with Classmates.com. What does Google not understand about that? I don’t care what “Bing” (Crosby? cherries? whatever it is) says. As huge as Google is, I assumed that it would think for itself and check out the facts.
    Oh, yes, I noticed you for moved the outdated snippet about Classmates closer to the top of the page. Jeepers! You got me. Nice shot!!!
    You know, it is strange that some of my friends with common names–Sandy Star, Susan Larson – don’t have their private, personal information and history on any of Googles pages. Why is that? They have far more interesting lives than I ever thought of having. Age old question::Why Me?
    To lower my internet profile as much as I can, I have resigned membership in all my environmental and animal rights groups. Wonderful causes but going on without me. I suspect that Google will begin to exploit my involvement with them and put me out there as a target for scammers.
    I am wondering what I have done that elicits such close inspection by strangers? What accounts for the bull’s eye that Google has put on the back of a 74 year old widow who lives by herself?
    I am only asking for the dignity of keeping my personal life private. I please want the false Classmates.com reference removed. Thank you for correcting some of the mistakes. I appreciate it what you have done but will check back.

  132. Florence Stasch

    I’m sorry. My mistake. I thought you had helped me but you ignored my request again. I can’t contact Classmates.com anymore because I resigned off the site like you told me to do and now your removal instructions tell me to contact them. If I want to contact them, I have to sign up and pay again. But then you’ve got me as a member again. Another Catch-22. Help me understand why you are doing this.
    I don’t know where to find the megatag or the googlebot on the Search page associated with my name. I have no idea where to look for those things. I don’t know what to do with my disappointment. I am heartbroken.

  133. I’m sorry: I take my earlier comment back about asking people to pay and remove. I don’t see why anyone should pay for their own suffering of defamation and libel.

    Google, it’s high time you take this privacy thing seriously before you get into trouble. I don’t know how long you can get away with being indifferent — but I do know that not respecting people’s privacy as an Internet entity can be understood as illegal.

    Best of luck.

  134. Going by the audacity of the programmer of this blog: my photograph has automatically appeared (I don’t know where the fuck from! because I had replaced it with another on my blogger/google profile ages ago) alongside my comment — I don’t think I need to say more about the disrespect that you have for people’s privacy or their consent. Who gave you the permission to source out my picture and place it alongside my comment here? This is disgusting. Please get the picture removed.

  135. Jonathan Malcolm Hlutke

    My name is Jonathan Malcolm Hlutke or Jon Hlutke for short. Over the last year I’ve had a person who has a personal goal of defaming me create many links that include my name in them (namely homosexual blog sites like queerty.com and ripoffreport.com). Many of these articles, blog posts, or other various postings are clearly humorous attempts at making me look as though I myself am a homosexual or a unethical salesman (he details a false affair where I try to sell broken phones from my trunk). In today’s world employers google my name and have questions about some of these things. Obviously its touch to explain such a story to someone who might give me a job, especially if that conversation never even gets a chance to happen. I’ve contacted all of these sites and many of them helped me, but many don’t even respond. This is slander in my opinion, and while I agree the search engine in theory should reflect simply things that exist on the internet and not judge whether or not they are valid, I feel this is a direct assault that I can do nothing about per your rules. I went to google’s help forum for help: http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Webmasters/thread?tid=59a3697eb03c1182&hl=en but that basically lead me to where I’m at now.

    If you simply google my name you’ll find many of these articles like I said, what you see today May 5th, 2010 is the result of nearly three months of nonstop correspondence with the many sites this person has used. Clearly this can’t be the best way to help me, any feedback would be greatly appreciated. I’m not asking to be treated special, but if anything I’d hope cases like this will someday protect people like me.

  136. I respectfully submit Google should address this issue. I believe the origional position Google has taken is a good one, but times change and heck, even windows patches bugs when they catch them.

  137. Google has become a monster, but you do have a right to defend yourself. I agree that you should simply publish your own positive content in order to offset the negative links. Build a ton of back links to your positive content and you can trick the Google robot. I picked up a few really good strategies from http://www.removeitnow.com but you have to commit to putting in major work. Do not pay a reputation management company $1000’s of dollars for something you can really do yourself. If you take no action other than complaining then the sites will never go away. Rip off Report is losing a lot of the cancer power it once had and I thinks it’s because Google is trying to put an end to their love affair. Stop crying and get off your butt and start publishing positive information about you and your business all over the web. Become a marketing machine, promote your own image and the site will fall.

  138. stephen melinger

    How do search engines trade or use each others information?

  139. stephen melinger

    The first amendment was once a good idea. I also liked the fourth amendment. When these two amendments went the country suffered. The Constitution was the framework for a free country. Americans let the freedoms slip away. No one has a monopoly on good judgment and correctness.

  140. when i do a search i get a list of results right? right. well do you think i want to be sent to a site that is a list of results.
    thank you google. thank you everyone.

  141. Hay Ron, thanks for the tip on http://www.removeitnow.com – it’s Gone!!!!!!!!!!!!

  142. I have a competitor using SEO tactics to rank a page about me which is completely designed to defame me and then upsell another product which he is an affiliate to. There should be google policy to remove such pages, in which. 1, Obvious deception and false remarks are being made, 2, An affiliate link from a bad review about one person or company to a competitor selling a similar product. 3. Forum threads which are locked, preventing true reviews from being posted. 4. Obvious Page Optimisation which reveals that the review pages intention is clearly to draw google traffic and defame one product in order to promote another. There is plenty of good reviews out there, but customers tend to focus on the negatives, its a know fact negative reviews tend to show up in search results more than good ones.

  143. Answer is easy “why not?” 😛

  144. I am so disappointed to learn that people are allowed to post lies about companies with no punishment. This is happening to our company and it seems we can do nothing. They are not signing their name to the lies. I think no one should be allowed to post reviews about companies unless they sign their names. If people had to sign their name, then this would eliminate alot of lies. What can I do, to stop this person from posting negative reviews full of lies, not once but monthly?

  145. But we have no access to the American court so what we do.

  146. I think their is one more way : http://www.chillingeffects.org/

  147. Someone made a post to Facebook that ____ (my name) was actually a person named ___ (someone else’s name). Now when someone puts in my name in to do a Google search this comes up. I am not this person. It’s causing me problems because the person that posted this false information said I am aka ____ a computer hacker. I reported it to FB and they removed his posts but how do I get it off of Google? This suggests I have another name and that I am a computer hacker. Not so. I’m a little old lady in a small town. Please tell me how to get this one remark removed.

  148. I wrote a blog. The kid who set it up for me wasnt suppozed to get it out there. Few days later I wanted to take it down. I used the email and password he gave me for the blog and coultnt get in. Kept gettin “the email and password” are wrong msg. Serched the web and read other people have the same problem. they sign up and wen they go to sign back in google says the same thing. Google’s answer is to get a court order for them to remove it. I can go to court and get a court order …against me!!! that’s stupid i wrote it, the kid put it on the web by mistake and I just want to remove it.

  149. Ok, I tried reading through all these comments, but my pea brain got very confused. May I state the issue and request someone answer it like they are talking to a 3 year old? O.k., as most people here, my bf’s ex wrote some insane malicious stuff about him on a website. I did get the website to remove her comments, but the url still shows up when you do a search of his name. When you click on it, the content is gone, but not on the cache part. So my question is: Does this link with the cache stay there forever? If not, how long will it take to go away? Is there anyway to expedite this process? Thanks so much! Rose

  150. OK,
    Not my real name. BUT, my name is so unique it is remarkable that someone else has it. This other person has f-bombs and other profanity in his website title. Is there no provisions for profanity? My profession involves expert testimony and other sensitive issues. Could I place a statement which Google would kindly give priority such as the “Samby Mamby website of %?$ is not the same Samby Mamby of Anytown, USA”
    I have no interest incensorship, just a solution. And since “google” is now a verb, I believe you clearly understand that your help would solve much of my problem.

  151. Hi Rose,

    Yes, you can expedite the removal of Google’s cache. As per the instructions on this page:

    1. Go to http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/removals
    2. Click New removal request.
    3. Enter the full URL (the address you see at the top of the browser window) of the page where the comments were written. For example: http://www.example.com/comments.html. Do not enter the URL of Google’s cache (like http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:7gPhoXA22lEJ….)
    4. Click continue.
    5. On the next page, click Content has already been removed from the page.
    6. Enter a word or phrase that no longer exists on the page. If someone wrote “Rose is funny” but the page now says “Rose is nice,” then don’t enter “Rose is funny” because “Rose is” still exists. Just enter “funny” if that word doesn’t appear anywhere else on the page.
    7. Click Submit Request.

  152. How can you let RoR possibly get away with this? They are designed exclusively
    to slander and extort businesses. Why would you possibly
    allow these results in the top? That is just unbelievable.

  153. the cool part about search engines and names is that the generations following are forced to be less primitive in terms of admitting own traits (past/present/irrelevant). Certain pages that bare names of individuals who posted them may be an issue as time passes, or simply because of the lack of understanding of publicity on the interwebs, however are valuable for googlestats(), as well as people who forget… It’s about time people stopped hiding from themselves and i am glad that the topic of absence of privacy on net is not very popular (let the people be as open as possible 😉

  154. Vincent Winston

    Mmm… Matt the more I read the more I wonder.

    I to have been victim of people thinking that they can do and say what the like on the net. The problem with what I read and what I personally have experienced is that Google is evil. I had to educate myself in hacking and performing DoS attacks on the websites that fail to comply with take down requests. Did that on Google a couple of times as well (bit of black-hat SEO, DoS re-indexing requests and spoofing). As with a lot of the previous posters I don’t have the money to pay for a lawyer to protect my rights.

    He said ..She said.. I can understand, but when he said .. and she said with proof and it’s personal and private and Google shrugs it shoulders! Like the feeding frenzy of pony magazines/newspapers, Google sits in the middle with the other search engines in a feeding frenzy trying to provide content (accurate and inaccurate) to users/customers. Having said that, understanding the interpretation that displaying a page in a browser constitutes publishing information and knowing that disclaimers fall to the wayside if you assist in a crime or violate a law. Google is in a tight spot if it publishes information that is inaccurate in the search results.

    Unfortunately Matt, in this post you sound like a policy man and I would love to see how you retract this post if I had the money floating to take Google with the other parties as respondents to task.

    Matt also remember that Google is more and more finding itself in the same boat as Micro$oft. US and EU courts raided the wallet a couple of times and with a big (almost majority) market share, responsibly should also be added to the “Is this evil?” question. By virtue of market share Google has a responsibility to it’s users to act like a good corporate citizen of the planet, not just America.

    Another thing of interest and something that you do not seem to fathom is that after an offending page is removed from the world wide web by request and you (Google) have received a request to have the page removed from the index, but still provide a link and a basic page for that page. You are the publishing authority for the page and thus leaves you in the wrong and from what I understand of American sue happy law, suable as primary respondent.

  155. Hello Matt,

    I’m an avid follower, colleague, and acquaintance (we spoke in a small group following a talk you gave last year).

    I am an SEO/SEM professional who has been in the industry since before Google was a verb 🙂 A while back, someone posted some very nasty things about me – probably an ex-employee who felt my expectations were too much or a girl whose affections I did not reciprocate. 🙂 The point is “that’s life” and if they infringe on copyright or trademark or damage you in some way – then you have some legal recourse – but Google shouldn’t be responsible for necessarily indexing those pages.

    However, where and how Google ranks these pages is very telling. This particular rant about me appeared on a Blogspot (A Google owned Company) Blog entry. Five posts – 1 line each – no body content – just began with my name as the H1. Why are meaningless pages that repeat the keyphrase in Blogspot posts appearing so high in search results? There are no authoritative links to speak of, the content is thin, and the most recent post is over seven months old. What’s more there are literally 100 pages properly optimized with authority/trusted incoming links according to Google Webmaster Guideline standards that appear BEHIND this post.

    I began to pose this question to Google and to Blogger over 6 weeks ago and I’ve received nothing but form responses. Since then, the ranking has risen almost 70 positions to page two. Now there are over 170 more optimized entries on-line that appear BEHIND this page. You would think there would be volumes of fresh content and relevant inbound links, and great on-line promotions and everything we as SEO professionals do. However there is NONE of that.

    The only unique differentiator is that this page is on the Blogspot platform. (owned by Google)

    So, Matt, in the name of all that is Google and good, and out mutual interest to get things right, and in honor of our shared love of cats :), please take a closer look at this.

    For reasons of confidentiality, please e-mail me directly at sempresync@gmail.com for the details.

    Thank you,


  156. i think everyone is not getting the picture if people think that google has to decide whether to keep or remove a page you want to get rid off, if it were the case the internet would be a mess with everyone wanting to remove a page google must have a army of staff only removing pages, and don’t forget the freedom of speech.

  157. Going to court and then contacting Google to remove page from web is a long term task. I think the best Idea is to find out the person whosoever has uploaded it and force him to modify or remove the page from Google and request for index update.

  158. What about when someone deliberately manipulates search results for your name and places damaging claims about you so that they appear in either the first or second result? Also? HOW IS THAT FAIR TO THE VICTIM of such a prank?

    The fact that Google does not offer a way to remedy this is irresponsible. If a wrong is committed, there should be a way to right that wrong. Failing to do so or even condoning the behavior by saying “well, it’s none of MY business…” simply encourages it to happen more.

  159. @ Vincent Winston

    You are completely wrong to claim that Google are liable for the content of the search results, outdated or otherwise.

    See – en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Section_230_of_the_Communications_Decency_Act

  160. @Vincent Winston
    Well, i suppose this is what the clueless people think. Google is a search engine, not primary respondent. If the primary respondent removes the data, google will follow up in the near future crawl to remove the result or update it in accordance with the new content of the url in question

  161. I bet Matt Cutts will quickly change his tune if he ever gets targeted by trolls and cyber bullies who are free to harass people online.

  162. Despite the fact that Google does help with a lot of searches, it as well help criminals. This is why it should be illegal to index people’s names. At leas in Brasil, criminals are helped by Google to find victims. But then again, there’s no right and wrong in this world, there’s only strong and weak, and I am weak against Google and criminals.

  163. I have found a link that libels someone but actually goes from google.com search to another search engine (www.junglekey.com). Junglekey seem to list out a whole lot of other sites on their website pages, then use google to get hits!

    I contacted google and nothing happened about it. I thought this was against googles rules?

  164. I completely disagree. Try being a research scientist and experiencing not getting hired at several children’s hospitals because they do a Google search as part of their routine security procedure, and you happen to have posted pro-illicit drug use material on Usenet more than 15 years ago while an undergrad in college before Google even existed–hell, before Dejanews’s archival service even existed.

    You attempt to use Google Group’s removal service, but the URL leads to a 404 error, and you learn it has done so for at least the last 18 months. You contact Google support and get nothing but form letters back. How is this fair? I was supposed to know that Google was going to archive Usenet posts and append them to search results, including my professional web pages before Google, or the idea of Google, even existed?

  165. Why won’t Google delete old Usenet posts on request that are archived on their own servers?

  166. i went to google and went picturse and wrote my name and there was a photo of my 3 year old son and i dont want on the net so there any way of taking down, im a single mum and don’t want a photo of my son on here

  167. Thanks for themessage! I am bookmarking this now.@CRLF

  168. This is an issue that should be addressed. Times change and if the quality and accuracy of the content is of importance then to sit and do nothing does seem complacent.

  169. How can you let RoR possibly get away with this? They are designed exclusively
    to slander and extort businesses. Why would you possibly
    allow these results in the top? That is just unbelievable.