Google Badware and the Label of Doom

| May 2, 2008

The good news is that Google has taken me off their badware list (as of May 1st), though it took them over a week to do so (along with multiple review requests and a posting at the Google Webmaster groups). You can see quite clearly the impact of this blog having the label of doom (“This site may harm your computer”) — Google’s designation started on 4/21 and ended on 5/1:

Google may harm your web traffic

I remained appalled at how poorly this program is administered. After I fixed all the problems and requested a review, Google insisted that my site still had ‘badware’, claiming to have done a scan of my website that very day. This continued for a week (with daily checks on my part — nope, still no badware — daily requests for review, and daily ‘Badware found’ designations from Google) until suddenly the ‘badware’ designation vanished yesterday (May 1st). I credit that largely to having posted a message in the Google Webmaster Groups forum the day before (Apr 30th), though no reply was made directly to that posting or to me via e-mail.

Given the disproportionate impact that Google can have on a website’s traffic — thus for sites with ads, the site’s income — and the difficulties that most people appear to encounter in getting Google to lift that badware designation even after fixing the problem (browse through these search results), I’m surprised that Google’s legal department hasn’t urged more caution and diligence on how this ‘Badware’ initiative is administered.  ..bruce w..

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Category: Admin, Google, Information Technology, Legal, Main

About the Author ()

Webster is Principal and Founder at Bruce F. Webster & Associates, as well as an Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at Brigham Young University. He works with organizations to help them with troubled or failed information technology (IT) projects. He has also worked in several dozen legal cases as a consultant and as a testifying expert, both in the United States and Japan. He can be reached at, or you can follow him on Twitter as @bfwebster.