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Wallpaper website Banned by Google after Penguin update

     
8:53 am on Nov 5, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I have been running a wallpaper website for the past 6 months and getting good organic traffic. I regularly post wallpapers with proper titles,tags and alts. The only lagging thing was the design. It was looking very bad.

3 weeks back site lost 100% organic traffic and I was shocked to see that. I checked webmaster and got a message saying "Site quality issues".

Now I am working on the design. I have completely changed the theme and removed broken links.

What else I need to do before requesting for "Reconsideration"?
What is the possibility of getting it 'unbanned'?
Will I get the organic traffic if it is 'unbanned'?

I am new to SEO and have spent more money to improve this site. Do not want to end up losing.

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks in advance
9:00 am on Nov 5, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Here is the complete message from WM.

Site quality issues:
Pure spam:Pages on this site appear to use aggressive spam techniques such as automatically generated gibberish, cloaking, scraping content from other websites, and/or repeated or egregious violations of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines
9:19 am on Nov 5, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Wallpapers, eh. In that case, one of the four listed GWT offenses jumps out as the likeliest explanation. Is it possible you have, as book reviewers put it, relied too heavily on sources?
11:24 am on Nov 5, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Do you own the copyright to all the wallpapers on your site?
12:01 pm on Nov 5, 2014 (gmt 0)

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@lucy24 : I do take hd wallpapers from the net and post them, but i have added necessary privacy policies and disclaimers for the visitors.

I have an option in the site "Removal Request" where the user/owner can request to remove the image if they found it copyrighted/owned-by-them. I have been constantly monitoring them and I haven't received a single removal request.
12:04 pm on Nov 5, 2014 (gmt 0)

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@cbpayne: I do not own any copyright to any of the wallpapers on my site. I am not the only one who takes images from the net, consolidates and publishes for the users' easiness.

Everyone does. Don't they?
12:14 pm on Nov 5, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Do you have no comprehension of copyright law? What you are doing is illegal.

Your disclaimer is a joke and will not protect you from legal action.

Google got this one right.
12:32 pm on Nov 5, 2014 (gmt 0)

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There are tons of websites do the same thing? Why me and why not them?

Few of my friends also do the same thing and they had no problems and never caught by Google.
12:38 pm on Nov 5, 2014 (gmt 0)

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So if you end up in court on any crime, is your defense going to be that other people do it. The judge will laugh at you.

What you are doing is simply illegal and you should be treated with contempt.
9:15 pm on Nov 5, 2014 (gmt 0)

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You are breaking copyright laws in this country and most likely every other country with your website. You should take it down asap and thank Google for telling you so before you are sued by everyone that owns those images. What you are doing amounts to theft and the REAL owners of the images have every right to bring legal action against you.
10:44 pm on Nov 5, 2014 (gmt 0)

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This isn't Penguin, it's a manual penalty for poor site quality. You need to re-think your essential business plan. Other people might be doing it, but that doesn't matter - Google smacked *you*. The other people may have have other quality signals that you don't, or maybe Google just found you first. Doesn't matter. The site won't come back unless and until you make it unique and better. And maybe not even then. By your own admission, there are tons of wallpaper sites out there already, some doing the same copying you have been doing. Why should yours deserve to rank? Why would Google need one more copycat site?

Sorry to be harsh, but that's the reality. In 2014 you can't just slap someone else's hard work up under your own name and expect to sustain any success with it.
11:06 pm on Nov 5, 2014 (gmt 0)

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There's a few IM'ers saying that Google is posting the "pure spam" notice for websites that they've recently penalized for having incoming links from a blog network. It's causing some confusion because many of the sites getting the notice are high quality sites, other than the inbound links.

So, that's something else you might want to check...any inbound links from recently penalized blog networks?
3:04 am on Nov 6, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Setting legalities aside, do what everyone else in that industry does - dispose of your domain name and move the content to a new domain. But if you are smart, you may want to find a more lucrative niche that will not have you repeating this cycle over and over.
3:13 am on Nov 6, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for your response. I do understand what I did was wrong. I accept what Google did.

I do have any backlinks. Site was getting 98% organic traffic only for the image search "images". Just for this single word, site was getting whole traffic.

@glakes: I am thinking about the same because this is one of my important sites that drives high traffic.

If i go with disposing old one and import existing files to a new domajn and hosting, can i expect the same traffic? How exactly people do it?
3:43 am on Nov 6, 2014 (gmt 0)

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can i expect the same traffic?

Sure-- at least for the few weeks that come after Google discovers the site (they seem to like letting brand-new sites float to the top at first) but before they discover that the new site is using exactly the same scrapery as the old one. You can probably get away with putting the first two or three incarnations on the same server as the first one, but after that you'll also need a new host for each change in domain name. So those are factors to include in the long-term budget.
7:01 am on Nov 6, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I do take hd wallpapers from the net and post them, but i have added necessary privacy policies and disclaimers for the visitors.

I have an option in the site "Removal Request" where the user/owner can request to remove the image if they found it copyrighted/owned-by-them. I have been constantly monitoring them and I haven't received a single removal request.


I know several websites that steal my photos and do exactly what you are doing. That "removal request" is a joke. Do you really expect me to send thousands of removal requests because some crappy site is using my content? You are stealing other people's hard work and trying to make money out of it. It's great to see that Google is finally taken action against this type of websites.

FYI: I never send removal requests. I send out Google Search DMCAs and if the site is using AdSense, I send AdSense DMCAs. This is the best way to hurt people like you who steal content. In some cases I have seen entire violating websites disappear from Google.
7:28 am on Nov 6, 2014 (gmt 0)

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@chrisv1963: Thank you :)
9:37 am on Nov 6, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Why don't you just buy a camera and go out and take some of your own photos. You could have fifty new images every day -- it's not difficult. And you won't have to worry about falling foul of the rules all the time.

honestly, it's probably more work and hassle doing it your way, because you are always worrying about it disappearing overnight, and then having to redo it all.
10:05 am on Nov 6, 2014 (gmt 0)

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That's a good idea. But very difficult to bring the quality that the other sites' wallpapers have right?
10:24 am on Nov 6, 2014 (gmt 0)

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you need to get some more confidence in yourself
4:22 pm on Nov 6, 2014 (gmt 0)

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While I agree with everything that's been said about taking other's production and using it yourself, I will add ONE comment that the "scholarly and reporting" and "parody" sections of USA "Fair Use" can sometimes work. Your country laws may vary, so consult an attorney!

That requires REAL WORK on your part. A public domain example would be a Da Vinci Image with Keats Text inserted to create a nice image and inspirational message. If, on the other hand, you are grabbing screen shots of recent films as wallpaper WITHOUT A MOVIE REVIEW or other scholarly report then you're toast (and a bad person, too).
9:17 pm on Nov 6, 2014 (gmt 0)

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To save making a new thread.. I haven't done this yet but was something I would have liked to do. Is taking peoples blog and news articles and posting them on a new site allowed? (would reference them). Basically I wanted to make a news site abut the industry I am in where i would update it very frequently with all the news/articles I could find about it. Will something like this be allowed?

So take for example helicopters - it would be a news site dedicated to just helicopters but apart from my own admissions, i would also add every helicopter news update on it from any other source.
9:23 pm on Nov 6, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Do you have no comprehension of copyright law either?
10:38 pm on Nov 6, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Why would you think Google would want to index the same stuff over and over?

In short - yea you could probably get away with it and maybe even rank for a while, but eventually a Panda will probably catch up with you. So if you decide to go this route (all issues of the ethics notwithstanding) don't bet the rent on it.
11:09 pm on Nov 6, 2014 (gmt 0)

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cbpayne I thought it was different because it's the same thing nearly every news site in the world does. I guess they are all breaking copyright law. My bad.
11:32 pm on Nov 6, 2014 (gmt 0)

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"I guess they are all breaking copyright law."

Nope. Most legit news sites write their own stories - they might all be covering the same story.

The rest just parrot press releases --> nothing wrong with that, but what is the point of Google indexing all those sites?
3:22 am on Nov 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

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That's a good idea. But very difficult to bring the quality that the other sites' wallpapers have right?


Is this photos other people have taken? Building up photography gear & getting out there to take the photos takes time and money. I will sometimes drag myself out of bed at 3.00am to get some nice sunrise photos. I would be unbelievably unhappy if somebody then used them on their own site.

I think in this case, Google has honestly done the right thing. Building a site takes time, a lot of time, and it requires effort. But there is also immense pride in doing so. Just like there is in taking a beautiful photograph.

As somebody said upthread, contacting site owners and asking they remove content is time consuming and frustrating. I go on a binge from time to time, but it feels like a losing battle. I hate people taking my stuff, particularly when they've not asked permission. From time to time, if somebody does want a photo I will give them permission, as long as I'm credited. It is always best to ask first.
7:06 am on Nov 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Is taking peoples blog and news articles and posting them on a new site allowed? (would reference them). Basically I wanted to make a news site abut the industry I am in where i would update it very frequently with all the news/articles I could find about it. Will something like this be allowed?


No, it isn't allowed. It's called content theft, copyright violation, ... What is it with you people? Do you really think that you can just go out and steal other people's hard work?

I pay more than US$1000 per month for photographers, photo rights, content writers, ... Do you really think I want you to copy my work and do you think you will make me "happy" with a link back to the original? Actually, with Google Penguin I'm prefer not to have links or references from crappy content scraping sites.
6:58 pm on Nov 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

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contacting site owners and asking they remove content is time consuming and frustrating.

I'd go straight for the hosting service and get the thief's account shut down if possible.
7:35 pm on Nov 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I'd go straight for the hosting service and get the thief's account shut down if possible.


Do they do that? I am beyond sick of people taking my articles.
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