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Google bans site after unsavory cartoon portrayal of Matt Cutts

A Google engineer created an algorithm which banned an SEO website after the site published a cartoon lampooning Matt Cutts, one of Google’s highest-profile “engineers”. The site, known as SEO Idiot and run by “paul”, previously an AdSense publisher, and previously in good standing, featured a cartoon depiction of Google personality Matt Cutts as well as the site logo: a jeuvenile bad-boy apparently relieving his bladder while baring his “plumber’s crack” and smirking at the camera. The Matt Cutts depiction was labeled Matt, and was clearly identifiable as the same ultra-high-profile Google Quality representative Mr. Cutts. Within days of the publishing of that cartoon (the first SEO cartoon ever produced by SEO Idiot), Paul’s AdSense account was banned.

Matt Cutts

This is not the first time that the Google algorithm has been “adjusted”. It is also not the first time a site that depicts Google unfavorably has experienced the darker side of what some SEO’s are calling “manic-depressive Google”.

“You’re in one day, rewarded like the King’s favorite tax collector, and the next day you’re banished from the kingdom”, said one SEO who asked not to be identified for what he called “obvious reasons”.

On the right is what appears to be a favorable portrayal of Mr. Cutts as a mild-mannered alter-ego of a Spam Fighting Super Hero, which appears on the web site along with the other cartoon portrayals. Click on the image to read the rest of the comic strip lampooning Mr. Cutts and his crusade against those that Google considers to be “in violation of the Google Terms of Service”.

Perhaps most telling is the timing of the ban: before almost anyone in the SEO community knew the SEO Idiot web site existed, the devastating financial blow was delivered. Swift justice? Restribution? We don’t even know the real cause. Was it the depiction of Matt’s chronic 5 o’clock shadow? Perhaps the attribution of “link juice” to Matt’s comic strip character? Is this another case of Google as the cruel Mistress, turning her back on a former lover? Whatever it was, we can be sure of the message. Don’t mess with the Google.


  1. Mark wrote:

    Did you actually read what Paul wrote? He had a bunch of scraped content and was filling the net with crap while making money off it. Fare more likely his link bait was found by a Googler which rumbled his multiple violations of their Terms of Service. I think you’ll find his banning has nothing to do with the cartoon.. Also Adsense publishers are banned by human review, it has nothing to do with the “Google Algorithm”.

    Wednesday, September 13, 2006 at 3:07 am | Permalink
  2. john andrews wrote:

    Hi Mark and Thanks for Writing!

    Um, those are mighty fine fightin words of yours. In a few small sentences you called his sites “a bunch of scraped content” and implied his intent. Who are you, God? You know other’s intent and of course you know all of Paul’s domains, too, right?

    That aside, did you read my words above? Note the *careful* use of language. Factually correct. It’s a play on words, Mark. It’s a new form of thought leadership where, instead of sitting on a soap box and pretending to be a visionary of my industry, I try and lead the reader towards a slightly more truthful path than the mainstream propaganda. This post works off of a clever twist of the circumstances, which may cause a lazy reader to fall into a belief system trap fueled by his own bias and prejudice.

    You see, Mark, you appear to have a blind faith in TheGoogle. Your own blog represents a “follow the letter of the Google rules” mentality. You are a believer, and so when you hear a report of the Cruel Mistress Google shafting someone just like you, you go into denial. It can’t be. She wouldn’t do that. I’m afraid the Kool Aide has taken it’s toll Mark. The Truth is she will do that. She makes a living doing that.

    It may be that Paul needs to clean up his sites. I don’t know, because I don’t know his URLs. But I also have no idea why Google called his clicks fraudulent. Google won’t say. And I also don’t know why you think scraped content is crap and yet you like TheGoogle. TheGoogle is a conglomeration of scraped content, plastered with ads.

    The big problem here is not Paul, Mark. The problem is the unilateral power wielded by players like Google, with little transparency and bolstered by countless unquestioning supporters thankful for the GoogleCrumbs they get through AdSense. People who love Google but hate people who “fill up the web with crap while making money off it”. It’s sponsored crap, Mark. Don’t hate the player, ok?

    Wednesday, September 13, 2006 at 9:40 am | Permalink

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  1. » Blog Archive » Counter to Google on Wednesday, September 13, 2006 at 10:31 am

    […] The Google way is the way Google makes money, not the way Google improves the world. That point seems to be lost on a generation of Googlelovers who spit vitriol at those they view as “rule breakers”, and proclaim Google as a great and almost benevolent company (see the comments here). I’m tired of it. But I am more tired of the ignorance that fuels that mis-guided perspective. If Google is extracting billions of dollars in profits from world markets, somebody is paying that bill. It appears to be web publishers, although the jury is still out on that. The Followers seem to believe that value can be created from scratch, or perhaps that there is an infinite pool of money stored somewhere from which these benevolent corporations draw their profits. […]