free html hit counter Hey BMW: You Ain't Street Legal, Google Says - John Battelle's Search Blog

Hey BMW: You Ain't Street Legal, Google Says

By - February 06, 2006

From Yahoo news:

In a move that analysts say indicates a problem that still needs a solution, Google has removed BMW’s German Web site from its index for violating Google’s guidelines against trying to manipulate search results.

The move was first reported by Google employee Matt Cutts in a posting to his blog on Saturday. He said BMW.de had been removed last week because certain pages on the site would show up one way when the search engine visited the page but when a Web user opened the page, a redirect mechanism would display a completely different page.

Matt’s post is here.

Ricoh is also a violator. You Have Been Warned.


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8 thoughts on “Hey BMW: You Ain't Street Legal, Google Says

  1. This is unfair to the users of Google who are looking for Valid, Relevant SERPs – those Users suffer because that ENTIRE Web site option is NOT being presented to them in the SERPs.

    What difference would it have REALLY made if they just simply had that same doorway page, but used a Static Link instead.

    Or placed that same text at the very bottom of the Landing Page.

    This ironically, would have made that site within Google’s Guidelines.

    So in reality, the whole Banning centers around using a JavaScript Redirect Link on ONE PAGE.

    They wanted the LANDING page to be visually appealing – but visual appeal means nothing to Search Engines.

    It is unrealistic to expect Webmasters to treat Humans and Search Engines as if they are one in the same!

    Recalling the Google CLOAKING controversy of a couple of years ago, after they were out-ted, they ONLY REMOVED
    that ONE controversial page for a few days until the matter was fixed, then reinstated that page. They Certainly did not remove the ENTIRE GOOGLE DOMAIN.

  2. Teddie says:

    Working for a major European SEM I have watched with interest as this whole issue escalated throughout yesterday.

    What really caught my attention is the lack of understanding about search engine optimisation in many of the reports in the mainstream press – what it is, how it can be approached and what is or isn’t dangerous practice.

    BMW.de banned from Google – highlights media ignorance
    http://www.search-engine-war.co.uk/2006/02/bmwde_banned_fr.html

  3. ptinfrance says:

    this whole story seems so strange to me. first, why on earth does BMW even need SEO? doesn’t traditional marketing work better? besides, who DOESN’T know BMW? was it fake? did BMW really care? will website results really affect their sales? my (perhaps) far-fetched theory is that it was a publicity stunt for BOTH bmw and google. it’s a win-win situation for both parties. google gets to scare site owners and seo businesses to NOT go the backdoor route and bmw gets lots of exposure…

  4. HTK says:

    Google wouldn’t ban if it wasn’t for nothing, or if it was for something barely wrong. BMW was known to be doing the worst kind of trick to deceive the search engines, the same technique porn sites do, in google, fake pages with links to the frontpage just for the googlebot, and they did that for a LONG time, almost 2 years, so they got what they deserved.

    I’m a google user and I prefer much more to have some results not showing because they were trying to cheat the system than having this results showing with more importance than they deserve, obfuscating my real search.

  5. A much worse problem with BMW’s website is that it keeps failing user testing, because of their infatuation with glamorous design instead of usable design. The worst example was when we tested shore finders and locators a few years ago: users couldn’t find the dealerships from BMW’s website. (This may have improved – haven’t tested this recently.)

    In another study, we tested journalists trying to find PR information. One reporter said about bmw.com: “Here I’m just fishing. This is the part I never like. I have no confidence when I hit something that it’ll get me to where I want to go.” Another journalist commented, ” I am already aggravated with this website because I cannot find what I want…. They are coming up with names that don’t even mean anything.”

    BMW needs to start designing more for the way the Web is rather than the way they wished it were. Otherwise, even if they get people to the site, they won’t stay.

  6. Teddie says:

    Jakob, it’s not just BMW. Although I still disagree with most of your search engines as leeches piece, that last sentence above just somes up most of the designers and dvelopers I meet on a day to day basis.

  7. BMW.de Has Just Been Re Added as of an hour ago

    They have agreed to Google’s Demands :LOL

    However, Google was caught Cloaking a year ago, they did NOT remove the entire Google.com index from their own SERPs – just one page for a few days

  8. Ken says:

    Seems that we’ve recently seen Google kicking sites out of the index as well as people suing to keep their site out of the index.

    I just came across this one from Chilling Effects which is quite interesting:
    http://www.chillingeffects.org/notice.cgi?sID=937

    Apparently, a CA court ordered Google to remove references to 4 individuals and companies from their SERPs. I didn’t even know that this could happen. I wonder what the basis of this request is. I did try to verify whether some of the results listed have been removed from the search results by looking at the cache, and this appears to have happened.

    Since the original court documents aren’t on the Chilling Effects site, I can’t tell what this lawsuit is all about, but consider this:

    One of the pages that the CA court ordered Google to remove from their index resided on http://www.cob.uscourts.gov, which is the US Bankruptcy Court – District of Colorado! This was a bankruptcy order. There should be no DMCA or other issues associated with Google indexing a court order. Strange, no?