by Robert Wilkinson
If you’ve noticed I’ve been absent for a few days, well…. There are times in life when things crunch together, whether we want them to or not. I’ve lamented that my life sometimes seems to “interfere” with my work, which of course is a universal human situation. The past 3 weeks have required that I shelve writing while dealing with something disturbing which you need to know about. I’ll be composing articles on Mercury retrograde over the next few days, but for now, here’s the story of an odyssey.
The good news is I’ve finally finished the last phase of my move which has consumed much more time than I could’ve imagined. It involved driving 180 miles r/t to get a van, then drive 800 miles to LA, giving 3 talks in 2 days with another 180 r/t drive to Ojai, then load up what’s left in storage in the middle of the blinding rainstorms racking Southern California along with doing 4 chart readings, then driving 800 miles back, then another 180 to return the van. I told you I had moved to the middle of nowhere, and when you have to go almost 100 miles just to rent a vehicle, you know you’re not in LA any more!
Now the disturbing revelation I alluded to recently in a comment stream which consumed a lot of my time these past 3 weeks. On January 4 or 5, I TOTALLY disappeared from google. Every single page on aquariuspapers.com had vanished from display on google. For 3 weeks, no one could find me via google except through my old Salon blog site or links from other websites. What could this mean?
I tried every search vector and nothing was displayed. At first I thought it had to be either a radical programming error on their part or someone inside of google had monkeywrenched my site. This latter possibility isn’t so far out when you remember that there are many in our world who hate astrology and metaphysics, or any belief system that doesn’t agree with their own.
Through my research tools I found that my site pages were still being displayed via search engines like Yahoo, Dogpile, Ask.com and others, so it could be assumed it isn’t the government taking issue with my political views, though they have been known to muzzle or shut down certain political sites unfriendly to this administration through the use of security letters. This is an established fact, and they have done it before. When they issue a site (or search engine) such a letter, the contents of that letter cannot be divulged even to an attorney under threat of jail. That’s how fascist our country has become. Given that I have a large global clientelle and receive many international calls and we know such calls are monitored by our government, I don’t think it was an unreasonable assumption to check out such a possibility.
I tried to call or email google customer relations, but found no such thing can be done. I was able to email google security, but got an autoresponder email stating they may or may not investigate, and may or may not email me, offering no contact. I waited another week, watching my traffic drop between 1/3 and ½ of previous hits, then decided to snail mail google customer relations with my concerns. Can you believe the largest search engine in cyberspace makes it impossible to contact them except through snail mail? BIG problem there!
In the letter to google, I noted that using my research tools I had determined they hadn’t de-indexed my pages due to a perceived violation of their rules of use. In fact, their search engine was still crawling my site almost every day, and they had over 700 of my pages indexed, but none were being displayed. This led me to believe that someone inside of google is not “content neutral,” since it would take the ability to go inside their program and short circuit the display of pages already indexed.
I sent it to them priority, and noted delivery was on Friday, Jan 18. I haven’t heard from them since, but lo and behold, I got somebody’s attention. This past Friday I was magically reinstated in their display, including about 100 more pages they somehow got error messages on when trying to index them, which is also very strange, since neither I nor my blog software company have made any changes which would prevent any search engine from indexing my content.
Google still hasn’t offered me an answer to why something could disrupt the display of pages already indexed by their engine. I do not believe it’s random, nor an “honest mistake,” since there would seem to be no way for pages already indexed to be masked from view without someone going into the code and deliberately veiling certain sites and their contents.
It is an established fact that google does track where we go using their engine, and will turn those results over to whomever they deem fit. That’s why Scroogle was founded, so that using that site we can google wherever but no tracks are left as a record of where we go.
So I’m happy that I again am being displayed on google pages so that people around the world can find me. I’m unhappy that they haven’t offered even the slightest explanation for what I believe was a deliberate attempt by someone in google to mask my site and deny people the ability to find me directly. I’m also unhappy that there is no way to contact them except through snail mail. However, their behavior leads me to assume that google may have people inside their company that can deny websites the ability to be displayed.
If you have a site, please take note. I wouldn’t have found out except that I have multiple ways to check my hits, and eventually jumped through enough hoops to get inside my google tools to find that I was still being indexed but not displayed. If I hadn’t found that critical piece of information, they would have checked, seen that I was indexed, and dismissed my concerns. The problem was in the display, and they could not have known that through a simple investigation.
So for those who have wondered where I’ve been or why you couldn’t find me through google, there you have it. If I ever hear from them, I’ll give you their official explanation of how the seemingly impossible happened, but don’t hold your breath. There seems to be no public accountability in google. And if I ever disappear from google again, you'll know the reason why.
© Copyright 2008 Robert Wilkinson