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Google Goes Dark – Webmasters go out of business

Google went “dark” yesterday, accordng to the AP news. They quote a Google statement, which of course includes note of services like AOL and YouTube having such issues in the past. No big deal, right? just use Yahoo! for search, right?

Not right. Let’s assume this is a problem getting to Google domains from Comcast, because of some issue between Comcast and Google. An issue like the one reported here in comment 36 :

This is not the first time Google and Comcast have had problems. Comcast denied access to Google services in 2002 when the search company charged the ISP with hosting some accounts that had abused its terms of service by performing “automated queries.”

You don’t just lose the ability to search on Google.com. Something like this was reported back in 2003 as well. If you lose access to Google domains, you lose access to your email (gMail). And analytics. No stats for 4 days? And slow loading pages as they wait for google analytics to time out with each page load? How about AdSense? So no revenue for 4 days? And AdWords? Your campaign manager can’t check your AdWords account or adjust your campaigns. The SEM company calls with a request for some minor tweaking of the contract a.s.a.p.

Or maybe you manage PPC in-house. Is your SEM worried about that daily or monthly PPC budget? Maybe he just started an expensive compaign intending to watch it and ROI metrics diligently, shutting it off if your page traffic spiked. Now he can’t. Is he supposed to just sit back and wait while the whole world continues spinning the wheels of commerce, spending your money without your participation? What are you freakin’ kidding me?

Back in June, a blogger published his trace route from Comcast to Google, showing packet loss. A commenter stated that was not a loss of service, but degradation. Was the noted 71% packet loss a deliberate degradation of Google service by a malicious or competitive Comcast? A spat between 2 companies and over 7 million broadband customers could lose access to Google for days.

Competitive Webmasters know that reliance on Google services is a risk. Over-reliance is just plain irresponsible. These experiences are noteworthy for their wake up call – we have no reason to expect this sort of competitive behavior to not only take place, but to increase. Is there any wonder the Google is a promotor of the “net neutrality” movement?

In my competitive webmaster training I spend considerable time on operational factors, including overlapping redundancy. It’s a concept which I believe maintains flexibility while remaining cost-effective, protecting against the competitive/anti-competitive behavior we can expect from these big monkeys as we move forward. It will be interesting to see what the public statements are going forward as this is resolved, but behind the scenes we can expect this is all about money: money Google has not been sharing.

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One Response to “Google Goes Dark – Webmasters go out of business”

  1. IncrediBILL Says:

    I agree with you 100% that relying only on Google is a disaster waiting to happen and the only people that were “out of business” were those that didn’t have any ranking in Yahoo, MSN, or a huge link network.

    FWIW, I never noticed the Google outtage until I read about it, which could give you a clue about my total SEM and linking strategy.