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Site banned - Should I build a new site?

How to build an "clean" site in Yahoo



6:15 pm on Jul 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

As many of you know, my site seems to have been banned for several months. I have tried to make changes, tried to contact Yahoo, and have tried to abide by their guidelines. However, the site is still banned. The site seems clean to me, but I am not the one making the ban decision. I never really contemplated putting up another site since that might be considered spam by Yahoo or other search engines and we have spent thousands of hours on the old site. My question is this. Should I abandon the old site as far as Yahoo is concerned or is there anything else I should try to do? Should I look at getting a Yahoo ban as just a cost of doing business? Also if I build a new site what things should I be careful to do to prevent a ban from happening to the new site?



6:35 am on Jul 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

jrokesmith - I'm curious if you were abot to find out for sure if your site was banned? In my case I "think" our site has some sort of ban from Yahoo as well, but Yahoo won't reply to my emails. A while back Yahoo_Mike offered to check for me, but that was a month ago and I haven't heard back from him.

Your post gave me an idea. How about creating a new site just for yahoo? You could do a couple things (that I can think of) to stop other search engines from indexing your "Yahoo Only" site:

1) A robot.txt file that informs Yahoo to index everything and tell all other engines to NOT index the site.
2) You could write a little php to detect if it's a Yahoo bot - if so, the php script can allow the page to be displayed - if it's any other bot or user, you could do a 301 redirect to your current site.

#2 is basically in place for search engines that don't follow the robot.txt directives.

I'm sure there are many other ideas out there on how to do this... but I think you may have something with creating a new site.

Regarding your comment:

Should I look at getting a Yahoo ban as just a cost of doing business?
At this point it doesn't seem like it could get worse with Yahoo. If you're currently not getting any traffic from them - then doing something is better than doing nothing.

In my case, I've never been listed in Yahoo after 3 years of trying. If I could get a SINGLE page to come up in Yahoo I would love it!

I think I am going to give this idea a try with a "Yahoo Only" site. I'll wait to see what others think first - as I've seen some great ideas come out on these boards! :-)


11:57 am on Jul 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

In theory just startig a new Yahoo! only site seems like a good idea.

In practice you may want to consider;

1)That if your new site has very similar content to other existing sites then your competitors could easily turn you in as before. So unless you delete all your others sites you may be back where you started.
I am talking about duplicate sites/content here which seems to be where most people are falling foul.

2)If we asume that link popularity plays a part on Yahoo! then it may take you a year to get good (natural) link pop back again. I lot can happen in a year.

3)You might want to bide your time and concentrate on the new MSN search and forget about Yahoo!. They are not playing the game with us why should we waste our time with them.


4:31 pm on Jul 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

AprilS and Cleanup,

It is difficult to describe what it is - a ban, a penalty, or something else. What I do know is that if I search for www.mydomainname.com, my site doesn't come up. I like my site and have spend a lot of time on it and it is currently popular, so I don't want to get rid of it. It sounds like the robots.txt option to disallow all other bots may be the way to go if I do go ahead and build another site. Then maybe on the old site, I could disallow the Yahoo bots since the site is already banned. Would that prevent the duplicate content problem? I would like to ignore Yahoo, believe me I would, but Yahoo is a large player. If Google and MSN would increase marketshare, great. But until that day comes, I need to pay attention to Yahoo.


5:10 pm on Jul 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

If you review some of the posts since the new yahoo search started you will find not alot has been resolved with this issue. This may be an indicator that this will be the status quo. Work on your site as per normal not forgetting the other SE's, while at the same time compliment Yahoo with a new site.


6:29 pm on Jul 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

cleanup - Actually in my #2 above I described using a couple lines of PHP to redirect(301) anyone and everything that is NOT Yahoo - to jrokesmith's original site. Doing so would not give users (competitors) the chance to even see his/her Yahoo Only site. The only thing that would see the Yahoo Only site would be the Yahoo bot allowing it to be indexed and hopefully coming up in results. In fact, assuming the site got indexed - if a user clicked on a search result that was for jrokesmith's new Yahoo site - they would be taken directly to the old site.

Hmmmmm.... now that I just wrote that, I see one major flaw! The human factor @ Yahoo. If they happened to personally visit the site... they will see it is being redirected... a no no with Yahoo. If it wasn't for the human factor...the idea may have worked.


11:20 pm on Jul 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


How much traffic were Yahoo actually sending you in comparison to other engines? After they dropped my site I managed to aquire some decent links from large sites which between them have pretty much replaced the stream (more of a drip) of traffic I received from Yahoo. Building a new site just for Yahoo seems a bit extreme, especially considering the traffic they supply could likely take a knock when Bill's search engine is launched.

I'd advise you to carry on with your site without them, look for other traffic sources. Don't give their "support" team the satisfaction of sending you crytic, anonymous emails like they did to me.


4:47 am on Jul 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I too have recently been 'penalized' for Yahoo and have always played by the rules and tried to do the right thing. Here's the ironic part - we were the first in our industry to embrace the online arena with a full catalog, spec sheets, etc. Many of our competitors have a few hundred products online whereas we have tens of thousands. We run nice 'clean' sites with millions of visitors yearly who return time and time again, yet one day, "Poof", Yahoo somehow determines that we're a 'problem'.

The ironic part of all this is that just like we need Yahoo to deliver content, Yahoo needs to deliver high quality relevant results to remain a search engine people use. In our industry, out of the top 10, four of those results are now people operating with no staff, on a shared server out of their bedroom with virtually no content. There's nothing wrong with operating out of a bedroom, after all, that's how we started. With the heavy equipment that we sell however, it is simply impossible to stock the items and provide service, parts, research, etc. in this environment which is expected nowadays in our industry.

I've sent Yahoo various e-mails, letters, etc. but haven't heard anything back. We have tens of thousands of routine customers so the 'penalty' certainly hasn't made a big dent in the business, but it is still annoying. I e-mailed Yahoo_Mike about a month and a half ago and he told me he would look into the situation. I've sent a few follow-up e-mails but haven't received any response. It is my genuine hope that just like all of the rest of us, Yahoo_Mike is busy with his everyday responsibilities and is going to help to make this situation right in good time. I'm keeping the faith and really hoping that he'll come through since I feel Yahoo would benefit from our content for searches in our industry.

Keep positive and I hope that your situation works out as well.



6:06 am on Jul 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

The fact of the matter is that Yahoo has scuttled a gazillion perfectly useful, informative, quality sites that had nothing "funky" going on.

Dupe the site on a new domain, ban the other bots, and serve it up.


2:33 pm on Jul 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>>>It is my genuine hope that just like all of the rest of us, Yahoo_Mike is busy with his everyday responsibilities<<<<<

Yes, always busy cept when Yahoo adds a new service and he and others can drum up some fresh cash.

Build a new domain, the old one will not get it if it was really penalized in the first place.

Good luck


10:06 pm on Jul 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thanks for replying everyone. Seems like the consensus is to build the new site - but keep the old one. I could also just do what webzilla said, but that may be slightly riskier - I don't want to take any chances since I don't know what I was banned for. Is there anything I should avoid doing specifically for Yahoo on this new site? Now I have the chance to plan the architecture and content from the ground up and I don't want to do anything that Yahoo will not like or might result in a new ban. Since Yahoo seems to have banned my site, I should probably get a new host so they don't think I am a spammer. Yahoo also seems to like simple domain names. Is there anything else that I should do to make a clean site this time? Has anyone been banned, created a new site and have it in the index - if so what did you do differently the second time around?


10:58 pm on Jul 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

"anything I should avoid doing specifically for Yahoo on this new site?"

Don't submit it to Yahoo.

Just let their robot find it.


11:37 am on Jul 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I'm considering building a new site as well. Anyone have any experience with the Yahoo business package they advertise for $39 a month for hosting websites and also doing their product listing? I'm not too sure I want to give Yahoo any of my money if it keeps them in business. I was kind of hoping they would go out of business soon. But if this package gets me into Yahoo, maybe its worth it


1:07 pm on Jul 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

They won't be going out of business, so don't worry about that, but throwing money at them to get included in their index won't help you either. They are verrrrrry confused over there.


12:25 am on Jul 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

If You check my past posts, you'll see we've been in the same boat since Y! bought and integrated Ink's bans. Since we've never done anything out-of-bounds, and the couple of responses we've received from them are all different and total nonsense, we're convinced it was due to Ink's /Yahoo!'s preference for a high-paying disgruntled competitor who went from 9th to immediately taking our ranking. Especially since we report the same #1 ranked competitors weekly for their blatant spamming and disallowed actions and Y! have yet to do anything about THEM. Based on this experience, they seem to love domains with nothing but a single highly Y! optimized gateway page to your other domain, so you might try building one and optimize it for Y!. Just remember it wasn't I who told you to do it. Oh yeah, you may have to slip them a check for $100,000 or so too. Just joking of course... :-)

As I pointed out previously, Y! talks big and tries to convince everyone (including themselves) that they're still a player, but they truly aren't worth the effort of redesigning for, at the risk of losing Google rank. When was the last time you heard someone say "I Yahoo-ed for [a term]" vs. "I Googled it"? When Y! were using Google results (exact same ranks for every search) a while back, we tracked it and found we were getting less than 30% of the traffic from Y! as from G. Which obviously translates to a small fraction of the overall searches even now.

Tweb: [They won't be going out of business, so don't worry about that]
Are you laying odds on this ;) I might be willing to bite. From my prior predictions, they've got maybe another 9 months in the search biz... I'd sell the stock short, but I think they might actually be smart (lucky) enough to be planning a quick morph real soon into a different profitable business area away from internet search.



2:43 am on Jul 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I just pulled a D&B report on them to gather some more insight into the inner workings of the organization and I wouldn't count on them being out of business anytime soon. They are still definitely an important player, it's just sad that they deny legitimate requests to have penalties removed without giving any reason. I could see if we were a 'new' site, but we've been online in our same format for more than 6 years now... back when most of our competitors thought that getting an e-mail address meant their company was 'online'.



10:49 pm on Jul 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I guess not... if you are convinced, as they obviously are, that tons of BAD publicity is better than NO publicity at all.

Yeah, as a site that's been around longer than Y! AND G, and still banned by Y! but LOVED by G, I can relate that it's tough being the innovator and then watching everyone copy and succeed with your ideas and even claim them as their own. I still don't buy the line that "immitation is the greatest compliment"... I'll take money over compliments any day. :)


11:48 pm on Jul 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


Amen to that! :) I totally agree with your thoughts on this one.


2:16 am on Jul 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I wanted to clarify last comment so that it doesn't get taken out of context. I totally agree with your comment about the immitators as we are having to deal with them all the time as well. It drives me nuts to see another site listed in the top 10 who has outright 'stolen' content I've used on our sites, in press articles and during industry speeches I've given.

As for the bad publicity, I think that there are many hard working individuals at Yahoo who really do want to do a good job. After all, I don't think that anyone wants to go to work in the morning with the intention of squashing smaller companies or doing a 'bad' job. I think that some of the internal red tape factors might make it harder for them to do their jobs and at times look like they 'want' bad publicity, but I really do think that there have are some good people there who want to be seen as working for a good company. In fact, even though I haven't gotten our penalty removed, I've been corresponding with one individual who has been extremely polite and I think genuinely cares but has his hands tied in the process.

I personally hope that Yahoo cleans up some of the items that make them an easy target for bad publicity. I think that giving reasons for penalities and having an expedited review process (even for an additional fee) would be a good start. It certainly would end a few of these 'what do I do now' discussions.



12:11 pm on Jul 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Totally agree with the comments of BP and Mike above. This is the first time in my 13 years online that I have simply "not bothered" with Yahoo!

Like others around here I started with my first stumbling web page attempts from my own UNIX server when way back when I had a "real job" in 1992.

My pages got picked up by search engines that existed before Yahoo! something called Archie and then Webcrawler as I recall. Anyway my point is that I am have always been on the right side of things and have never had a ban of any sort in all those years - until now that is.

Now, things have changed at Yahoo! they are on a personal crusade to manualy clean up the web.

This crusade is doomed IMO. Why, because they tried it before with their directory index and found out that trying to index the web maunually was in the end impossible.

Do you remember they used to winge on about how long the submission process took because of all the submisisons and that they were only a finite number human editors.. So what are they trying to do now?

The same thing...pleeease yahoo!

Google has never looked better or more in control than they do now.

Design a new site?..yes go ahead two or three if you want. More sites, special Yahoo! sites yes go on.. lets swamp the web with yet more sites that should help the online world become more organised.. right!.

Yahoo! is trying to become more Google-like a but still just can't resist getting in there and tinkering by hand.

Just like they always did..


12:01 am on Jul 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

My totally honest opinion, from working in many similar companies, is that SOMEONE, relatively high up at Y!, sold them on this "bright idea" of buying and using the Inktomi database to speed up and reduce their own in-house effort of, as you just said, manually cleaning up their own existing database, rather than re-creating all the labor (i.e. "just throw money at it"). Someone was probably under pressure to get it done FAST as possible without having to hire more people so they could compete with Google. In the process they inherited all these banning errors from Ink which noone really cared about previously since "it was only lowly Ink after all". Now they basically are stuck "living with it" either because that high-up person is still trying to hide it and save face, or they know about it and are afraid to fire him and tell the shareholders how stupid they were and back-out the whole Ink input. They are, perhaps manually, backing out the myriad of errors inherent in the Ink data, one by one, which is probably going to wind up being a bigger job than if they just re-created it themselves manually in the first place. Remember they didn't have the manpower to do it in the first place. In the meantime, as you pointed out, they are causing economic problems for others and causing major bad-sentiment which in the end will be what does them in. In biz it's always a trade-off, I just hope in this case protecting the high-up's butt is worth bringing down the whole company. That's why I got sick of it and run my own company now and am the boss so I have noone to blame but myself if something doesn't work out.
As you pointed out they definitely should be giving EVERYONE the benefit of the doubt when challanged and remove bans IMMEDIATELY until they can get around to being verified one way or the other, NOT the other way around. That's the way any sane business would handle it. So my guess is this certain inexperienced high-up is simply hiding the whole mess from their superiors and keeping the iron fist on those below them.


5:04 pm on Jul 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

IMHO this has nothing to do with short-cuts by Yahoo. It has everything to do with short cuts by competitors. I know my competitors are reporting my site because I have been beating them in the serps. Yahoo seems to be too easily manipulated on what sites are violating their spam policies. And another question you may want to ask yourself is who is making the decisions on what is spam. Are these volunteers? Are they your competitors volunteering? Or are they minimum wage employees / contractors who don't really know spam when they see it.

In any event, it is great to know I am in the good company of this crowd. At first I wondered if I might be one of few. My site has been online since '96 and gives away content for free. We earn 100% of revenue from affiliate programs and a few pennies with AdSense. But the total amount of money is not enough to draw anyone's attention. Yet we are now banned by Yahoo.


5:26 pm on Jul 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

If anybody representing Yahoo is around

Could I ask the following question

From many serps I have looked at it appears Y now allows doorway pages with stuffed keywords and even rewards with a top 3 ranking
Most of these pages are 1k or less in size so not difficult for an algo to find and penalise
so is this allowed with sitematch only listings or should webmasters all go back to what worked some 4 years ago

I personally hope Yahoo continues to grow to provide competition to G and MSN but surely it is not in the users interest to be sent to a page with a click here and nothing else and even users do become disgruntled eventually

I do not think spam reports should be needed as it appears to be an inherrent weakness or favouring for sitematch customers



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