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SiteMatch Approval Won't Remove Penalty.

I was approved for Site Match and STILL have the dreaded Ink penalty.



12:28 am on Apr 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Well guys it seems like even if you pass the editorial review with Site Match (which according to Yahoo insures that the site you submit is of high quality,) if you had the Ink death penalty where you site is indexed but demoted to the very bottom of the search results you still WILL NOT get the penalty lifted.

Either that or the President and Chief Executive Officer of Positiontech doesn't know what he is talking about and they are one of the Site Match program's most recognized resellers if not THE most.

It all started back in December when I renewed my Inktomi PFI pages through Positiontech. Before I was getting loads of traffic and a week or two later it all dried up to absolutely zero visitors a day.

Traffic from google, altavista, fast, and other engines stayed the same. Inktomi supplied engines like MSN were the only ones affected.

I follow all the guidelines and have never participated in link farms, hidden text, cloaking, etc. and I have always owned this domain.

When Yahoo started using Inktomi and their own spider it seemed that the same penalties carried over.

After seeing Tim from Yahoo's post that the Site Match program reviews sites first to insure that they are of high quality and explicitly stating that if your site passes the review then you will have the penalty lifted, I applied for Site Match on 3/30/04 because I knew I had done nothing wrong.

Sure enough, site was approved by Site Match on 4/5/04 and then indexed on 4/8/04 but still apparently has the penalty and it has now been three weeks and counting since I first submitted it.

No one at Positiontech customer support can figure out why it was even penalized in the first place. In fact, the site match editorial quality team gave it's approval, 3 different customer support people at Positiontech looked it over and found nothing wrong with it, and the President of positiontech himself pored over the site and could find nothing wrong.

It's just a little hobby site in a noncompetitive industry but it can't even been found for it's title in quotes until the last listing.

Why would Yahoo's representatives come here on Webmasterworld and tell us to submit a nonrefundable fee to clear the penalty if you are approved for Site Match and then it not happen at all? I talked to HelenP whose site Tim said in a post here at WW that the penalty had been removed but the penalty is still on HelenP's site too.

After wasting my money yet again with Yahoo/Overture/Inktomi it seems like there is more and more evidence that what Yahoo says and what Yahoo does are two totally different things.


1:10 am on Apr 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

ContentSiteGuy --

I'm in the same boat. I have a very legitimate site that was banned by Yahoo because of an editorial judgment. The content guidelines they judge sites were released AFTER we were penalized, and they refused to tell us what the problem with the site was.

After calling nearly everyone we could, we found out that our channel partner sites (co-branded catalogs) were considered duplicate content on multiple domains. So we added a robots.txt on all channel partner sites eliminating the chance they would be indexed by any search engine (Yahoo or Google).

I asked Evelyn over at PositionTech to resubmit the site if she could. She said Yahoo wouldn't re-review the site for three months because I was penalized (even though our duplicate content in no way was meant to "game" Yahoo and that we took immediate steps to correct the "violation").

We are major advertisers in Overture. We pay for the Yahoo Directory Business listing. We are a part of the Trusted Feeds program. Overall, we pay Yahoo a LOT of money for a legitimate site and they so far have REFUSED to work with us.

I applied for Site Match as a last ditch effort to get Yahoo to take a look at our site again, and we were APPROVED. Approval in Site Match is a good indication that our changes cured what ever violation that we were accused of, right?

Yahoo Mike says:

1. How would a Yahoo SiteMatch editor even know if the site has a penalty? Is that one of the first things they check when reviewing a site?

2. Is there a field to enter a comment when submitting your site to Site Match to let the editor know that the submitted site may have a penalty?


1. Our editors do have access to that information when reviewing a site.

2. Currently there is no field to communicate that you have a previous penalty when you submit your URLs. However, as mentioned in #1, the editors will know that you were found to be in violation of the content guidelines

So, Site Match editors are aware of prior violations. They know that we had been flagged for duplicate content on multiple domains. They must have seen the robots.txt files on all of our domains as a measure to cure the violation, and approved us right? Otherwise why would they have approved us?

So I call Evelyn today and let her know about our unfair penalization, our quick steps to resolve the "violations", and most importantly that we were approved by Site Match.

She said she is working with her Trusted Feed Yahoo contacts, but "has no guarantees" for our inclusion in SPITE of our Site Match approval!

I mean, I'm working damn near full time trying to get back in this index, and I'M PAYING FOR IT. I'm not just looking for free traffic, I'm willing to pay for every single visitor Yahoo sends my way (Overture, Directory, Trusted Feed, Site Match)! And I still get treated like a criminal! Our site is *clearly* legit.

Yahoo, you have a major problem if you treat willing customers that are bending over backward to work with your draconian policies and STILL are willing to give them the shaft.


1:48 am on Apr 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

And there are so many more in the same boat as us. Many of them are lurking around like we used to do and waiting for other people to post about it and get the answers but they need to realize that the more people come out of the closet the more Yahoo will realize how many quality sites they are missing from their results and if they are true to their word of making a higher quality index than google then they will make it a priority. When my Site Match approved site starts showing up in the results I will be the first to come here and let the world know that Yahoo is true to their word.

The only reason I can think of that my site was penalized was that another guy copied my entire site word for word and ended up getting in the looksmart directory (which I think Ink was pulling from) and then my site was added to the directory by someone later (probably through Zeal) which may have put up a red flag. I contacted his web host and they promptly took his site down but shouldn't their spiders be able to tell? I really don't know if that was what the problem was or what the problem is. Regardless, the Site Match approval should have cleared the penalty as Tim stated or was this just another attempt to steal money from webmasters with a nonrefundable "review" like when they let you pay $300 to be reviewed for the directory and then turned around and removed almost all chances of you being found for your directory listing by changing the way the search results are presented.

If you have a quality site and a testimonial similar to these two, speak up please and BE HEARD...


2:16 am on Apr 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

There are indeed a lot of us in this position. I sit bottom of the listings, my industry simply doesn't warrant the cost of clicks and no one can find the site. I'm loathe to part with any money with no guarantee of actually getting in. You can't even find out WHY you've been banned.

The whole thing seems badly thought out, and frankly a mess. Its far easier to just forget your site and start again - but thats clearly ridiculous.


2:43 am on Apr 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


I was speaking to another SE company today about getting back into Yahoo and they were selling me on site match.

SiteMatch is a bonanza for SEO's. It gives them another product to sell.


5:25 am on Apr 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Contentsiteguy and Neroguy,
We will obviously try to help you out. I said previously that we were working on a program to help people who already had a penalty to get the penalty lifted when they submitted to sitematch and were positively reviewed. This program has not been implemented yet. I am sorry for the misunderstanding. Please sticky me and I will make sure you site gets looked at.


6:52 am on Apr 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I Have The Same Problem. Suddenly My Site Has A Rejected Status. I Sent A note To The Sitematch Team Requesting my money Back. I Cant See paying For An Unfinished Product. Besides It Seems They Want To Apply The Overture Content Guidelines To The Serps. My Experience With Overture Is Even When You Prove Them Wrong Through Comparison The Turn The Other Way.


7:15 am on Apr 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member crobb305 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

No one at Positiontech customer support can figure out why it was even penalized in the first place.

This is the very reason the editorial review process needs to be examined very closely, with full penalties (of the magnitude that Inktomi imposed) applied only in extreme situations. Editorial reviews are subjective. One "editor" could see a single affiliate link and automatically penalize a site, regardless of the overall content and usefulness of the site. Each editor will have a different opinion. This reminds me of a course I took in college, wherein the professor let two different TA's grade our lab papers. Since there were so many students, he gave half the stack to one TA, and the other stack to the other TA. No matter what guidelines or grading criteria the professor established, each TA graded entirely differently, creating an inherently flawed grade distribution. The same holds true here.

we were working on a program to help people who already had a penalty to get the penalty lifted when they submitted to sitematch and were positively reviewed

How long does it take to get a process in place? If Inktomi had treated their PFI customers a bit better, Yahoo wouldn't be dealing with all this now. Regarding my re-review emails to Yahoo, I keep getting responses stating that my site "will be reviewed". Just review it already LOL. I hope that Yahoo ultimately treats it's customers better than Inktomi did. This is a mess.

Irrespective of my feelings toward the Inktomi drama, Tim, your help and advice here has been appreciated. Thanks

[edited by: crobb305 at 8:10 am (utc) on April 20, 2004]


7:26 am on Apr 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Please sticky me and I will make sure you site gets looked at.

isnt that supposed to be happening anyway?



9:36 pm on Apr 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I tried using sitematch as well and nothing has happened so far and its been over a month.

Although we were told to be patient so I am hoping soon something happens.

Will Yahoo hire additional employees to handle these issues or have the people aleady been assigned?


10:10 pm on Apr 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Sure enough, site was approved by Site Match on 4/5/04 and then indexed on 4/8/04 but still apparently has the penalty and it has now been three weeks and counting since I first submitted it.

I join the club.
Exactly the same happened to me.
Around the black 18 March I was sweeped out from Inktomi (after having been on the 1st page for more than a year!), then signed up with SiteMatch... approved... then nothing. When I check Overture/SM panel, there is no clicks recorded at all since the beginning of April. What is then SiteMatch about? Collecting a few thousands of $50?
If I was good enough for Yahoo for more than a year, then what the hell did I commit to be punished to death?

Import Export

10:54 pm on Apr 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

My experience with 1 of my sites is identical to your post.


12:21 am on Apr 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Apparently the main problem seems to be that when the penalty was originally placed, probably at Ink, noone kept a note of WHY it was originally placed. Thus when they go to re-review them now they are going to be starting with an "assumed guilty" attitude and "just searching" for a valid reason to justify it. BIG BADdie!
Looking at the consensus of so many "approvals" of previously penalized sites in the sitematch submissions, there were apparently a whole lot of invalid penalties assigned by Inktomi. Is this the main reason why Y! bought Inktomi? With the big number (think $$) of (bogusly) penalized sites Ink CLAIMED to have, Y! must have seen it as a huge cash cow to milk for each getting re-reviewed from the start? But maybe Ink just randomly penalized every 5th site and misrepresented it as some scientific method to up their buyout price. If so... wow, why didn't I think of doing that, hey Y! wanna buy MY "100% guaranteed" bona fide, scientific list of spammers... er, I meant to say: "Y!, sorry to break it to you, but you've been screwed by Ink, accept it, write off the loss, maybe call in the lawyers on the former owners of Ink, and start over. C'mon I know you can do a better job on your own than Ink ever did."
I'm guessing they might just be having a problem with the inner workings of the search algorithm (oops we fired the guy who wrote the source?) and haven't managed to actually implement a flag or line of code to handle undoing the penalties. One way to determine that. Can we please hear from ANYONE... ANYONE in the WORLD! Who can actually claim "my site was previously confirmed a penalty Y! and is now not penalized". Just one? Anyone?
If not, I'd say they are having a simple ole programming problem and hopefully when it's fixed, you'll all be in where you paid to be.


12:58 am on Apr 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I have tried to send in a email a week ago requesting a rereview - I got an email response back pretty quickly saying that the email was received. We definately do not attempt to "spam" or "game" Yahoo and only seek to provide unique content for our users. Since our site was large it took a while to review it - we found a some redirects (the person who created them did not know they were bad) that were in place from our redesign several months ago. We quickly corrected those and sent the request to Yahoo. Hopefully we meet Yahoo's content guidelines (a lot of helpful and unique content) Yahoo will lift the penalty. We really want to follow the guidelines and don't want to do anything squirrely. Haven't heard anything back from Yahoo since them, but I'm not sure if we will hear anything.


2:00 am on Apr 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

overture and msn

My site is running very well on yahoo and msn ranking by some KWs, and when i tried to renew the subscribtion on inktomi last month. It is not allow to but use overture sitematch.

on the april 15th, when i check on yahoo, the site link has been removed but only can see the related outsite links. But ranking and link on msn still the same.

then for the purpose reindex my link on yahoo, i paid about $100 to index the site. it is about 5 days, the link is back on yahoo.

Now, the time yahoo link reindex, my all msn ranking gone. and i tried to talk with the company, all they said is the link will be refresh every 48 hours...

I am wondering if anyone has the silimar experience? and I may be back to normal soon?

PS: while the time yahoo has the free trial listing, my site also has very good position.




12:20 pm on Apr 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

Well, we added quite a bit fresh content to our site and tried to clean up any problems that we could find, then wrote Mike/Tim. Received a rather fast reply which I was very encouraged about. Now we, as others must just wait this out until it gets a rereview, and, fingers crossed, Old Ink penalties removed. If we do manage to get the penalty removed, then for our site, it would be worth it to pay for site match in order to have the 48 hour refreshes.

Good luck to everyone else here with quality sites that are just looking to be given a reprieve of old mistakes.


8:23 am on May 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

could there be a problem removing a sitewide ban with just a per url approval? Wouldnt make much sense if Sitematch is per URL that approval would lift a penalty imposed for other pages.


2:12 am on May 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I have suffered the same fate as most of you - my site cannot be found on Yahoo. Imagine I'm #3 for widgets (my #1 category keyword) in 18,900,000 results in Google and non-existent in Yahoo. So I paid for Site Match in March, they took my money, and I still can't found. The penalty still has not been removed.

I exchanged emails with Yahoo Mike and he promised to look into the matter and get back to me. I sent a couple of gentle reminders but I'm still waiting to hear from him.

I will really appreciate some feedback.


2:29 am on May 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I have had contact with Yahoo Mike and Yahoo Tim, who both promised to look into the situation and get back to me. You can even see Tim's comment to us as the third post in this thread.

Since then: nothing. zero. nada.

Yahoo has shown itself to be a company that it doesn't care about webmasters or content providers on the web. They talk about one thing while doing (or not doing) another... they will learn quickly that content producers are the ones that control visitor opinions on the web, and I have been telling everyone we know of our plight with Yahoo, and people are listening...

You know, earlier this winter I got a nice scarf from Google and last summer I got a beach towel from them as a way of saying "thanks!". That's the difference between Yahoo and Google: a VAST difference of caring.

Yahoo wants to catch up to Google so bad, but man, talk about falling on their faces with this new so-called search engine.

Google is so far ahead of Yahoo it's not funny. It's not just on this site match and penalty issue. It's on virtually every aspect of the business, including taking care of their customers.

Yahoo better wake up and start listening soon.


5:08 am on May 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hi Nerolabs,
I did submit your site to editorial to be looked at a couple of weeks ago. It often takes longer than the 2 weeks that you have been waiting to have someone look into your site. When the editorial team looks into your site they will then make a determination as to whether your site's penalty should be lifted or not.

I looked into your site on a very surface level and I see your content showing up quite a bit already in our results. For example, for "discount ******" you show up both at #2 and #3 with different spelling variations of the word shop in the domain. I am not sure if this identical content is yours or someone in the affiliate network you run or take part in. If the site that we have removed is your "official site" and we have left your secondary or affiliate sites in the index I apologize. They look like they sell the very same ******* and our users would be able to find what they are looking for from that particular store front.

We aim to provide our users diversity in results and if someone is looking for a product they probably want to see stores that sell different product options. I have to say the site in question is a much better experience than many of the sites in your category that hit me with spyware, popups and disabled back buttons when I visited them but we just dont need multiple copies of the same site in our search results.

Please sticky me with any comments as it is against the TOS to post specific domains and URLs



6:33 am on May 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


I agree that you don't need multiple copies of the same site in your search results, but that doesn't mean that you need to ban ALL of the sites, you just need to ban the copies.

If Google sees multiple domains with the same content, it is intellgent enough to find the source domain of that content and nuke out all of the others. And if Google is unsure, they err on the side of caution. Yahoo has no caution! Yahoo bans sites with abandon and without concern for accuracy towards their own rules!

If Yahoo is going to deep six sites which have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into them, they better be accurate in who they are banning. From what I'm hearing, Yahoo's reasoning and justification for banning many, many sites (including ours) is unjustified, and when the owners try to rectify the problem, we are treated as criminals.

There are two problems with how Yahoo is doing it in this case: 1) they are banning the source domain instead of the copies of the domain that are in other people's control and 2) there is almost no communication for a customer that has spent $50k or more at various Yahoo advertising outlets over the last year.

Tim, you gotta realize, it's now mid-May. Yahoo switched over to the new search engine in MARCH, and we started the process of filing our problems with the new index at that time. It's taken me two months of attention to this matter to get even a little tiny bit of feedback from Yahoo (the post above this being the first actually concrete feedback I've gotten).

What advice do you have for a company that will have put over $100k in Yahoo's coffers by years end to stop being treated like we have the plague because of a low level technicians error?


11:25 am on May 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

why is it required to ban any site for this? Why can't it be handled by filters? Is there not a big difference between identical sites being in the index against identical sites being returned in a search? Wouldnt the current identical content filters handle this? Im a bit confused as to why this would have lead to a site being banned rather than filtered.


1:37 pm on May 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Same situation for me. I have had a dozen sites completely removed from the results. I paid for one of the removed sites to be included in Site Match, and now it can be found using the url:http://www.widgets.com command. But it cannot be found any other way, buried about as deep as it can be. It may be included now but thatís a technicality; itís gone.

I have e-mailed webmasterworldfeedback@yahoo.com twice with no response. My issue with all of this is the lack of communication. If I have a penalty, which I can't image why, I will take the punishment and move on without a big tirade. But at least I will know what the problem is. I have paid for all of these sites to be in the directory, I paid for all of them to PFI in inktomi before the switch, and do a fair amount of other advertising through Yahoo. I am not averse to paying, whether it is Site Match or other programs. These sites that have been dropped are all of our own sites, and are important income generators for all of the people I employ.

To have them removed without any explanation why is getting a bit frustrating. Especially if the fact is they were removed by an employee, or editor, of Yahoo. To drop like a rock when there is an algorithm change is one thing, but for a person to sit there and physically remove multiple sites that are important income generators and provide no explanation why is not right.


6:36 pm on May 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member


From your posts it sounds like you have a lot less experience than me at evaluating sites. Its typical procedure with duplicate content to remove the dups and leave the main sites. This is true at many engines. Most people arenít professional spammers and may be running test sites or backups on other servers. There are actually quite a few legitimate reasons.

I always urged people around me to realize there was a ďhuman factorĒ involved in editing sites. That would be especially true today with manufacturing leaving thousands unemployed and gas prices soaring. With many reviewers I have found power quickly goes to their heads. My philosophy was to keep as many people working as possible but at the same time we werenít going to be conduits for the greedy.

To me this sounds like a marketing executive passing sites along to a separate review department. The review department being totally out-of-touch with anything going on. The reviewers have to be somewhat new because complaints before March going to Google. Some of the reviewers might not be directly employed by Yahoo.

Again as I said two months ago your methodology is going to hurt many. You canít convince me that these resellers and Overture arenít howling already. Theyíre probably saying every time we try and sell something we find Yahoo has penalized anything in plain sight. They're already cutting prices except for first time buyers. Eventually the program will have a permanent "black eye" like Looksmart's. And this one's easier to see than that one.


7:05 pm on May 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

From your posts it sounds like you have a lot less experience than me at evaluating sites. Its typical procedure with duplicate content to remove the dups and leave the main sites. This is true at many engines. Most people arenít professional spammers and may be running test sites or backups on other servers. There are actually quite a few legitimate reasons.

I think this is the critical issue which makes Google a good search engine, and Yahoo a 5 year old search technology rehash. Google has the technology to sort this out without having to wait months for the "review department" to get around to doing something once the problem is thrown over the wall. And don't forget we are charged through the nose for the privilege.

I have given Google $20k+ over the past couple years and always felt I got a good deal, or at least a fair shake. I have given Yahoo/Ink less than $1k, and feel as though they ripped me off for every penny. Users will eventually wake up to this search engine scam Y! is putting on and start defecting...again...like before they switched to the G engine.


1:03 pm on May 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

Well after reading this thread we are beginning to rethink
whether to pay for sitematch or not. If our penalty has not been removed to date, paying for sitematch doesn't seem
to be a worthwhile venture for us and will do nothing but insure we run out of operating funds even quicker. Without a penalty removal soon, I fear we are doomed to shut down operations in a short period of time.

Donny and Cherie


6:07 pm on May 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



interesting...urls only reindexed because once again someone managed to get INSIDE help....evidence of manual manipulation of the serps...


6:26 pm on May 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I must admit this situation is really dragging on now. Without a more efficient system at Yahoo to deal with these problems, be they 301 redirects, Ink penalties or whatever, the whole thing is beginning to stink.

Its not just on WW that companies are starting to complain. I'm reading articles all over the place regarding companies that had previously been paying Yahoo mucho bucks only to find that they've been penalised.

Its one big mess and clearly smaller companies are going to the wall because of this. The longer it goes on the worse its getting. For goodness sake these smaller companies are the big ones of the future and we all need them.


6:38 pm on May 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


You can forgive Yahoo for making some mistakes on the way out the door with their new search engine. It's no small thing, probably involving tens of thousands of computers, hundreds of people, and a ton of pressure to get it right.

They didn't get it right. I think they realize that they have some major, major problems with their relationships with the many of the property owners of the web they have trampled over in their process of "progress".

All that would be forgivable if they were able to adapt as Google has shown itself able to adapt. Or to care.

Right now Yahoo isn't adapting. It clearly doesn't care (aside from mostly vocal overtures from Tim and Mike). And along with the thousands of webmasters they are hurting in the process, they are shooting themselves in their own collective feet.

It's a sad year for Yahoo. Isn't this what went wrong with AltaVista and Inktomi? Isn't this why users love Google? Isn't this why they need to wake up NOW and fix things rather than sleeping at the wheel while they are heading into a ditch of their own making?

Wake up Yahoo. It's been TWO MONTHS of FUGLY service, FUGLY results, FUGLY communications and NO HOPE ON THE HORIZON for the THOUSANDS affected. Whatcha going to do about this Tim? Mike? Are you even able to do anything? Or has the behemoth taken on a life of it's own?


8:48 pm on May 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Yahoo Mike - Please, report all of this to your execs and let them see the mess they're causing! They're totally throwing the baby out with the bathwater, by applying whatever penalities are being applied!

Does anyone have a guess at the moment as to how many legitimate sites are being affected by inaccurate penalties or filters? I'm starting to get the impression its quite a high number!

This 98 message thread spans 4 pages: 98

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