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Updated: Odd – Why Is Google Not Returning Results for "Amazon.com"?

By - June 26, 2006

Goog Amazon

There’s probably a very good reason for this, but I don’t know what it is. As a Searchblog reader KK discovered, the query “amazon.com” returns no results in the current Google service. It returns tons of results in Ask, Yahoo, and AOL, which uses Google to power search. Odd.

Is this an anticompetiive thing? I can’t imagine. But a Google search for Yahoo.com does bring up one result – “yahoo.com.” Amazon.com does not.

Update: A Google spokesperson responds: “This is a technical problem that we’re currently working to resolve. We’ve talked to Amazon and they’re aware that we’re working quickly to correct the issue.” I then asked: “How is this a technical issue? I mean, what kind of technical issue? Can you give some more details as to how a technical issue created this, just for Amazon? Or is it wider?” If I get an answer, I’ll post it here.


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28 thoughts on “Updated: Odd – Why Is Google Not Returning Results for "Amazon.com"?

  1. No, but if you search for site:amazon.com there are LOTS of results in their index…

    That’s kinda weird isn’t it!?

  2. Fred says:

    Let’s see.

    typing “amazon” in the Google toolbar *takes* me to the Amazon site.

    using “Amazon” as the search term in the Google home page shows amazon.com as the first link.

    So, I’d think a case could be made that Google is more anticompetitive about South American rivers than booksellers/seearch engines.

  3. Hashim says:

    perhaps it’s because whenever you visit Amazon.com it redirects you to a url such as:
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/homepage.html/002-4495545-2172050

    Perhaps that affects Googlebot’s spidering of Amazon.com

  4. Jeremy says:

    Amazon.com in quotes works as well. Wonder why the quotes matter in this case.

  5. Searching for “a9.com” displays the A9 url. If they wanted to be anticompetitive that would be the more logical site to block, so it could just be a quirk.

  6. This is not the same as if you search for “Websites that contain the term ‘Amazon.com'” as in:

    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&q=%22amazon.com%22&btnG=Search

    which brings 599,000,000 results.

  7. I think it’s more like a bug than being anti-competitive.

  8. TOMHTML says:

    I think Hashim is right. We regulary found things like that on the forum of Google Blogoscoped.

  9. Rich says:

    John,

    Very interesting. I’ll run a report tonight in AdGooroo and see if this is indeed the case across the various Google properties.

    -Rich

  10. joe says:

    If you search for amazon.co it gives the correct results is a “See results for:” section (amazon.com, amazon.co.uk and a9.com), but clicking that link gives you nothing again. Strange.

  11. Kevin Burton says:

    Funny. In a former life I was working on another search product and we had to block Amazon.com from our index. The URLs were way too long and it hit a vulnerability in our link clustering. The index density was too high and needed too much index to do a search in the Amazon URL space.

    Man… Amazon SERIOUSLY needs to spend some time and clean up their URIs. They’re really getting ugly.

    The moral of the story is to use a more distributed search technology.

    Kevin

  12. Kal says:

    bn.com also returns no results. Has someone contacted Barnes & Noble? Perhaps Google has a masterful plot to stop the selling of books online ;)

  13. Tejaswi says:

    Most navigational queries in search engines are handled by special caches which keep logs separately, so that it doesn’t interfere with their regular logging of more relevant information on user search patterns etc. I guess amazon.com’s entry in Google cache got corrupted or a node which was handling that particular query went down, or some such.

    It has to be a technical glitch.

  14. Ivan Pope says:

    bn.com returns nothing
    waterstones.com returns nothing
    is it a bookseller thing?
    can anyone find other general company addresses that return nothing

  15. Ratcatcher says:

    medlineplus.gov returns just a link to medlineplus as well as the additional links mentioned above. A guess? Looks like they are trying to direct people to just the main webpage for url searches, but are having some major problems.

  16. elle says:

    Try searching google.com for google.com – only 1 response, too!

  17. Andres says:

    This post made me think. We are all for Net Neutrality, but what about Search Neutrality?

    If we ask a communication company not to block a certain site due to the neutrality of the net, shouldn’t we ask search companies to be as neutral as telcos? Just a thought, I am not sure I have a point on this.

  18. J B says:

    Google.com in msn brings up 1,844,757 results
    Google.com in yahoo brings up 1,040,000 results

    Does not look like everyone in not being competitive

  19. Darryl says:

    When you run this one
    Find web pages that contain the term “google.com”
    Results 1 – 10 of about 187,000,000 for “google.com”.

    Now is Amazon going to sue google over this mishap
    I get this from amazon.com search
    http://www.amazon.fr/

  20. ELLIS says:

    I looked up
    HomeLivingSpaces.com
    Found a few results, but nothing link google or amazon.
    Do you thing the search engines are blocking my website??

  21. Chris Blake says:

    ‘Technical Problem’ my *ss.

    This is quite possibly another example of Google beginning to use “site-unique bias” to suppress access by their users to sites that are not flavour of the month i.e ‘not-a-friend-of-Google’.

    There is a very interesting report on this at http://www.searchenginehonesty.com/search_engine_censoring.html

    The report quotes the Kinderstart class action case as a typical example.

    Site-unique bias is the overlaying of the algo of lists of domain names or other site-unique information ie unique strings. A negatively affected site may still show up in a search for “site:thedomain.com” but will come way down on any other search.

    According to this report, Google is moving away from censorship or banning to site-unique bias to avoid direct confrontation and possible legal issues with webmasters/site owners. This way they can remove from view editorially undesirable (and perhaps competitive?) sites.

  22. Ajax says:

    Running amazon.com in the Google search bar in Firefox is yielding one link:

    Amazon.com
    Departments include books, music, videos, home and garden, electronics, and toys.
    http://www.amazon.com/

    But clicking through the Amazon link goes to an internal Amazon 404 message. Very curious.

  23. Vectorx says:

    I agree with John and Chris. It is hard to see how a technical issue could affect a single domain name unless the search ranking algo contains or refers to domain names, ie. site-unique bias. I think what happened is that Google inadvertently put Amazon on a “bad sites” list. No doubt Amazon’s problem will be immediately fixed. Other sites that are also inadvertently penalized but do not have Amazon’s clout won’t be so fortunate.

  24. Rich says:

    Hello everyone,

    I have confirmed that there are no PPC ads showing up for the keyword “amazon.com” across Google US, Japan, Canada, and the UK. This was tested over 120 times over a period of 3 days. There are also no natural results other than Amazon.com appearing across any of those regions either.

    If there are other keywords you’d like to test, post a comment and I’ll run a report on them as well.

    -Richard Stokes
    President, AdGooroo
    http://www.AdGooroo.com

  25. There is a much bigger problem with Google that surfaced on June 27:

    http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum30/35023.htm

  26. If you search for amazon.co it gives the correct results is a “See results for:” section (amazon.com, amazon.co.uk and a9.com), but clicking that link gives you nothing again. Strange.

  27. stravagante says:

    I wonder if this one honors robots.txt and robots meta tags. Google’s BlogSearch is iffy about that and was particularly bad about LiveJournal blogs when it first came into beta.

  28. redirections or it could be a bug than being anti-competitive.