36 Hours In Google Purgatory For No Good Reason.
Feb 26 2014
If you happened to visit The Luxe Chronicles over the past 36 hours or so, you were probably greeted with a very scary warning from Google indicating that my site appeared to be infected with malware. It was not.
Upon learning of the suspected presence of malware on Tuesday morning, I immediately took down my site for the security of my readers and had a full independent diagnostic analysis performed. It yielded absolutely no evidence of malware. Nothing. Rien. Niente. My site is clean. This finding was promptly communicated to Google and today (Wednesday), they confirmed that The Luxe Chronicles was indeed free of malware. The malware warning was taken down shortly thereafter. No explanation, no justification, no apology.
I wish I could say that I'm relieved and happy to put it all behind me but after spending roughly 36 hours in Google purgatory, my site traffic has all but evaporated. More importantly, it made The Luxe Chronicles (and by extension, me) look bad to anyone who happened to visit the site during the last 36 hours. As it so happens, The Luxe Chronicles is deliberately free of advertising, affiliate links and sponsored content of any kind. That is a choice I've made but what if like countless other bloggers, I relied on the revenue generated by my site to live?
To be clear, malware is a scourge and it needs to be kept in check if not completely eradicated. What bothers me is not that Google takes action against malware but rather the blunt methods it employs. Google gave no prior notice or opportunity to respond before it slapped the warning message on my site and offered no explanation or apology when their diagnostic turned out to be patently wrong. Were Google a public body, its actions would most likely be considered an abuse of authority and I would have legal recourse against them. But of course, Google is not a public body although it certainly wields enough power over the Web to constitute a de facto authority. If history has taught us anything, it is that authority left unchecked has a way of breeding abuse.
In closing, I wish to say merci infiniment, grazie mille, thank you so very much Google for this enlightening journey through your very special version of purgatory. It serves as a valuable reminder of the importance of healthy competition and the risks we run when a private company is allowed to establish a dominant market position. Long live Duck, Duck, Go!
The Luxe Chronicles