SEO Surgery: - Banned Without a Clue

This morning, I saw a guy on Google Webmaster Help asking why his domain is banned. Sure enough, site: query returns no results. According to domain tools, was created back in 1997 with 2 DMOZ listings and 3 Y! Directory listings. A site: command on MSN, though, turned up this cache page (dated 10/20/2006) with a javascript on the bottom of the source code:

<script>document.write(’<ma’ + ‘rq’ + ‘uee wid’ + ‘th=1 height=1><fo’ + ‘nt style=”col’ + ‘or:#000′ + ‘000;fon’ + ‘t-size:1px;”>’)</script>

What follows are hidden links to stuff like “brewster ny honda”, “drawn horse”, “yahoo game back door,” “hip hop cartel”, and “bronx bankruptcy lawyer”. Google sees these links because only the marquee element is in Javascript. Also keep in mind’s description of has nothing to do as far as I know about hip hop cartels:

“For more than 30 years, Resist has funded progressive organizations in the United States that are actively part of a movement for social change.”

Though the link to “hip hop cartel” seems to 404 now, MSN site: search reveals some other cliche urls (out of 7,172 urls):—viagra.dhtml

List goes on.

Were they hacked? Who knows. What I find puzzling is what this guy posted (dated Tues, Oct 24 2006 11:12 am - Just a day ago):


I’m a volunteer for:

We think we’ve been banned, since we get no results for searches with

We have reviewed the webmaster guidelines and cannot think of how we might have vioated any of them. We’d appreciate any feedback or guideance about how to determine what might be wrong and/or how to proceed.

The last advice on that Google Help thread is “install Sitemaps so you can get some Google feedback.” If he realized he’d been hacked, I’d expect him to post “we were hacked and now we’re banned.” The spammy pages (the ones I checked) 404, so someone must have removed them. I don’t know, it’s smells kinda fishy to me (not that I don’t like seafood).

P.S. I tried publishing this via Google Docs, and somehow the TITLE of the post turned up blank. Of course < and > didn’t translate. Google also uses BR instead of P so I get a chunk of code in Wordpress with no paragraph breaks. Sorry to those who read me on Bloglines (since I keep republishing this one after mutli-edits). My advice? Switch to Google Reader.

UPDATE: As you might have noticed, the original poster later added:

While looking into this yesterday afternoon, I discovered some PHP files on the site that appear to have been placed there illegitimately.

I removed those, but it’s still too early to say that the site has been “cleaned up.” I am working on that.

To state what I hope is obvious: neither the owners of this site nor I had knowledge of the fact that the website had been hijacked into serving these advertisements.

In defense of the organization that owns this site, I will say that like many small nonprofits, they cannot afford in-house tech support. In my own defense, I will say that I am not in charge of the day-to-day operation of this website; I responded to a call for help.

We appreciate the information that has been provided, and will of course appreciate any further constructive suggestions about how to proceed.

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