Do not ask for whom the Google tolls. It tolls for me.

I woke up this morning to discover that I no longer exist. The entire contents of this blog has been erased from Google’s index. Every post. Every last bon mot. Gone. Without a trace.

Here, by way of illustration, is what you’ll get if you google the word “google” and restrict the search to the domain:


Now I know how Adam and Eve felt after God kicked their sorry asses out of Eden.

I’m on my knees. Please, Google, I beg of you, let me back into the promised land. I swear I’ll never use Bing again.

UPDATE: I’m unbanished. See comments for details.

11 thoughts on “Banished

  1. Greg Grothaus

    Hi Nick,

    I am from Google’s web search team. It looks like your site was removed because it has been hacked. We tried to send you an email last Friday with information on what happened, but it was difficult to find a contact. Full details are in our webmaster console which can be found at You also now have my email address and I can share more details with you directly.

  2. Nick Carr

    Greg, Thanks for your note. I checked the message on the webmasters site but didn’t see the evidence described therein. I actually didn’t get your email address, so can you drop me a note at [removed]. Thanks. Nick

  3. Gojomo

    I can believe it was ‘hacked’ — which in this context might mean had dangerous content inserted — but it must be pretty minor.

    I’m visiting the site in Google Chrome right now, and I thought Chrome offered ‘Safe Browsing’ warnings equivalent to those that sometimes appear in Google results.

  4. Nick Carr

    OK. The problem seems to have been resolved, thanks to Google’s helpful Greg Grothaus. What happened was that there were some hidden spam links (to various lame mp3 and lyrics pages) at the bottom of the index page of an old blog I had called Rough Sort that’s been dormant for a couple of years (it was set up as a separate Movable Type blog but within the Rough Type domain). I don’t know how the links got there, but apparently it may have been through sort of hackery. Anyway, I rebuilt the page, the offending links disappeared, and now Google says I’m once gain fit for consumption. I should come back into existence in the next few days. Whew.

  5. mimetz

    Nick, if you don’t start posting more often your readers are going to encourage Google in this :)

  6. Matt Cutts

    Hi Nick, just checking the next morning and it looks like you’ve got 1000+ pages back in Google’s index. Thanks for taking care of the hacked pages.

  7. Linuxguru1968

    >> here were some hidden spam links

    >> (to various lame mp3 and lyrics pages)

    I still don’t understand; lots of pages have links to mp3 file and lyric pages in them. Were the G-men going though every top level domain, doing a recursive depth first search looking for unlicensed content links and then, if found, flagging the domain so that they were not visible in the site index? Is Google now the Internet police scanning every page for well formed HTML and not indexing them if they don’t meet Google’s standard of perfection? There’s got to be a more to this: is this an undocumented feature or a bug?

  8. Michele

    Well, since the era of IT innovation is “over,” I don’t know why you would expect this web site to function smoothly!

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