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Unable to withdraw a change of address request from WMT
Suvro




msg:3942270
 6:36 am on Jun 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

Hi,

Somebody seems to have played foul with the change of address feature in Google webmaster tools.

I was checking the webmaster tools account of my site and was shocked to see that somebody has issued a change of address request to a different site some 10 days back.

Now, when i try to withdraw the request, it gives me the following error

"To withdraw a change of address, you must be a verified owner of all sites involved. You have not verified ownership of http://example.com/. Add it to your account and verify ownership, then try again.?"

As a result, i am unable to withdraw the request.

Pls help.

Thanks,
Suvro

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 7:20 am (utc) on June 29, 2009]
[edit reason] changed to example.com - it can never be owned [/edit]

 

AnkitMaheshwari




msg:3942413
 12:24 pm on Jun 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

To verify your site, just upload the html file or add meta tag to Home page of the as given by Google.

Also, to avoid any further changes, simply remove any Google meta tag presnt on Home page or HTML file that is available in the root of the site.

robzilla




msg:3942576
 5:00 pm on Jun 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

Note that you need to verify both example.com and www.example.com.

g1smd




msg:3942599
 5:27 pm on Jun 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

The point is, he doesn't own or have access to example.com to be able to verify it, in order to cancel the change that someone else, or a bug, has made.

tedster




msg:3942682
 9:19 pm on Jun 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

Somebody seems to have played foul

That "someone" has your Webmaster Tools email and password. Isn't that the issue you must resolve first?

Suvro




msg:3942908
 4:49 am on Jun 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

Hi,

I have managed to withdraw the change of address done to my website.

However, since this change of address had been requested about 10 days back. Google has already done a lot of changes t the search results. My website's home page is not there in Google's index.

I hope that Google will reisntate the rankings as the change of address feature has been withdrawn.

Any comments ?

tedster




msg:3942914
 5:12 am on Jun 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

My feeling is that all will be restored as it was. How did you accomplish this withdrawal? Did you get that feedback directly from Google?

Please do keep us posted on how things go.

Suvro




msg:3942964
 6:54 am on Jun 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

The person who played foul used a different webmaster tools account. I found 2 verification files in the server and both were created about 6 months back.

Secondly on clicking the withdraw request button, Google was giving out the following message :

"To withdraw a change of address, you must be a verified owner of all sites involved. You have not verified ownership of http://example.com/. Add it to your account and verify ownership, then try again.?"

This means that we need to verify atleast 3 URLs to withdraw the request

http://www.example.com (the existing url in webmaster tools)
http://example.com (without www domain needs to be added to webmaster tools)
The New URL (i.e the specified new address of the site in the change of address request)

Once all these 3 urls are verified, the withdraw request feature works fine.

Now I just hope that things go well in the coming days and we regain our rankings. It's sad that somebody (willingly or by mistake) has made things a bit difficult and interesting :)

Waiting for your comments and suggestions

Thanks,
Suvro

[edited by: Suvro at 7:00 am (utc) on June 30, 2009]

dstiles




msg:3943528
 8:46 pm on Jun 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

Google are being a bit dumb about verification at the moment. Ever since the new WMT went live I've been trying to tell google to only accept the www version of a site. They respond with (approx) "The site example.com is not verified. Go and verify it." Which, since it's 301'd to www, I obviously can't do. And I need to do since some people link with non-www.

Would it hurt google to compare example.com with www.example.com and come up with the surprise that it's exactly the same? (Yes, I know other subdomains may not be but www invariably is.) In any case the 301 should indicate exactly that.

The further google progresses the further back they seem to be.

On the other hand, Suvro, I would certainly find out who put the extra verification file on your site.

It would probably also help if webmasters could specify HOW a site were to be verified. Something like: "Is your site verified ONLY by x method? How many verifiers can be valid at any one time?". That sort of thing, though it needs a bit of thought behind it.

Suvro




msg:3943801
 4:19 am on Jul 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

After this incident, I have to say that Google webmaster tools still needs to improve a lot in terms of security level. The concept of having multiple verification files is not very safe for the webmasters.

Every website should have a single verification file. Multiple files can always lead to foul plays like this.

Moreover, i am very much surprised in the way Google reacted to the change of address request. This is what Google recommends for best results :

"For best results, follow these steps:

1. Set up the new site

2. Redirect all traffic from the old site

Use a 301 redirect to permanently redirect the pages on your old site to your new site. This tells users and search engines that your site has permanently moved. Ask webmasters to update their links to point to your new domain and make sure incoming links to your old site are redirected correctly using the 301 redirects.

3. Add your new site to Webmaster Tools

4. Tell us the URL of your new domain"

It clearly recommends that we need to first set a 301 redirect and then issue the change of address request. Obviously in my case, the 301 redirect was not set up as that guy did not have access to the server. He only logged in through a separate webmaster tools account and issued this change of address request.

It took 10 days from Google's end to wipe out all the keyword rankings for my home page and that also WITHOUT having implemented a 301 redirect from the server side. Isn't that absurd from Google's end. Ideally Google should have first checked out the redirect before acting upon the change of address request.

The change of address has a similar effect as that of a 301 redirect. I will elaborate it with this experience of mine.

Let's say www.example.COM is my site and www.example.NET is the other site.

The change of address request had been made from www.example.COM to www.example.NET. Now when i query Google for my web site name "example" I get www.example.NET as the first result.

Now when i query for my website url i.e. www.example.com, the number 1 result shows up the title and description of example.NET but shows the URL as www.example.com. On clickking this link i see my site www.example.com

This is exactly what should have happened on 301 redirecting www.exmaple.COM to www.example.NET.

I had withdrwan the change of address reuqest 2 days back and still i do not see any changes in the SERPs. May be Google will take a few days more.

Pls post you comments on this. I believe, webmaster tools needs some changes or else, things like these are likely to happen.

tedster




msg:3943808
 4:35 am on Jul 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

It took 10 days from Google's end to wipe out all the keyword rankings for my home page and that also WITHOUT having implemented a 301 redirect from the server side. Isn't that absurd from Google's end.

That definitely sounds backwards to me, too. If there is no 301 redirect, then the change of address request should just fall into a black hole, end of story.

g1smd




msg:3943867
 7:30 am on Jul 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

*** Obviously in my case, the 301 redirect was not set up as that guy did not have access to the server. He only logged in through a separate webmaster tools account and issued this change of address request. ***

How did he get a valid Verification File onto your server then?

Suvro




msg:3943913
 8:54 am on Jul 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

"How did he get a valid Verification File onto your server then? "

I guess, this person could have been working for our organization... may be 5-6 months back since that verification was uploaded in the server 6 months back.

Suvro




msg:3944147
 4:08 pm on Jul 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

Hi,

I could not clearly understand what Google means by the following :

"Your change of address notification remains in effect for 180 days, by which time Google's index will be fully updated with your new site's information. After 180 days, you can extend the period by submitting the change of address again"

Now since I have withdrawn request, what can be the case now ? Will the changed url still show up in the SERPs or my original url and rankings will be reinstated ?

Pls let me know your comments.

Thanks,
Suvro

dstiles




msg:3944351
 9:23 pm on Jul 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

There is a case to be made for two verification files or meta tags: one for the owner and one for the webmaster/designer. They are often different people separated by long distances but may both need to access WMT.

Suvro




msg:3945320
 3:19 am on Jul 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

Now this is a new problem.

This site that i had been talking about had gained pr from 4 to 5 in the may update. Today i see that the pr has dropped to 2.

However, some of the internal pages still have a pr of 4.

IS this drop an effect of the change of address ?

Waiting for your comments.

thanks

tedster




msg:3945335
 3:37 am on Jul 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

Suvro, the current PageRank changes are inscrutable to many webmasters. They may not be related at all to your specific situation. See this current discussion:

Yet another page rank update [webmasterworld.com]

Suvro




msg:3952851
 10:03 am on Jul 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

Finally, the website has regained its ranking as well as the PR

Thanks

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