blend27 - 12:00 am on Oct 20, 2011 (gmt 0)
I have a self coded Analytics program that makes a use of Search engine referrer data. Several years back I put a block in the code Due to this exact issue, Ref Contains GOOG Domain but "q=" as bank. The reason for this was that Scarpers were running bots from several Dynamic IP Ranges with that combination where "q" was blank. Hundreds of attempts of XSS, and SQL Injections.
I am aware of several high profile sites in my niche and plenty of others that have this rule in place. As a matter of fact the sites are ranking in top 5 for many many many terms.
The response to a blank q is a simple blank 403.
My personal opinion about this is that this is complete BS when it comes to a users Privacy. A company that wants my mobile phone number to Open an (G)email account.
I don't share data of my visitors on my sites(no GA, nothing), nor Google want to any more, I could understand, but nuking a base CGI Variable in a name of Profit? Common now…
this means war
Some one please comeup with a FireFox/IE extension that AutoMatgically Blocks all META redirects and JS Redirects, we will see how fast GOOG changes their minds.
That might break a few sites temporarily, but would BE under control a webmaster. GOOG is nothing without the content.
And I'll say it AGAIN, this has absolutely nothing with the user's PRIVACY, just GREED.
P.S: RUSTYBRICK ranks #1 for "site:twitter.com + google referrer data" on BING!