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I've spent countless hours trying to explain what has happened and have not been able to figure anything out. My best guess is that Google just stopped crawling sites that had certain keywords. My site relates to financial advice and therefore covers the often spammed area of debt consolidation. The reason I think the grey PR is related to debt consolidation is because I was checking other sites in that category and noticed that many of the sites that used to have high PR were now also greyed out. This included two sites that I had exchanged links with. Also, I would argue that it was impossible for Google to not know of my site since I am listed in the directories of Zeal, Yahoo, Business.com, Galaxy and more recently, ODP.
Anyway, I have spent the last five months killing myself trying to find an explanation as to why I am being ignored by Google. Then, two weeks ago, I received an email from the "subscribe" page of my site. Funny thing is that the email originated from a site that wasn't mine. I went directly to that site and to my astonishment, saw a copy of my EXACT site from five months ago! Some @$$hole copied every page of my site, word for word, even keeping the same title. He took off any contact information that I had (or thought he did anyway), and filled the page with affiliate links.
The three questions I have for anyone that cares to respond, are the following:
1 - Do you think that my site is grey PR because my site was stolen and Google sees it as a duplicate? The stolen site is PR0 and doesn't have very many links to it. My site is in ODP, in Zeal several times, in Yahoo, Galaxy, Business.com and has many other good links to it.
2 - Do you have any other ideas why my site would be banned? I have emailed Google twice about this (once months ago to ask why I was dropped and once to report the stolen site), but have not heard anything back.
3 - What can I do to have the other site taken down? I have contacted the registrar (GoDaddy) by phone, by email and through their contact form and, so far, they have not done anything or responded to my request. It has been over a week. I have also contacted Commission Junction about the affiliate links but (even with the evidence I provided them) they have refused to do anything to discipline the offender.
And thanks in advance for reading this post, and responding if you have any comments, opinions or advice.
[edited by: heini at 6:36 pm (utc) on Jan. 30, 2003]
[edit reason] no specifics allowed, sorry [/edit]
If that wasn't the reason, then I have to wonder if it was to do with your swapping links with grey PR sites. If they were penalised, then you could have caught a penalty (but I'd expect PR0 or PR-n rather than grey).
To get them taken down, you might also want to contact their hosting provider (or upstream). It can be worth sending them a written letter setting out how they have are in breach of your copyright, if they're in the same country as you this should work nine times out of ten.
As heini points out, Google will probably de-list them if you follow the proceedure.