SEO

Banning Google Web Accelerator

Here’s a page you can display to people who you are restricting from accessing your site because they’re using Google’s nefarious spyware. Plus some graphics – donated to the public domain: spread the message!

(rt) Putting into practice what we’ve preached, as per immediately all visitors attempting to view our web site through Google Web Accelerator (GWA) are blocked from access.

Being the nice people we are, however, we’ve put up a dedicated page for them explaining our reasons in detail and encouraging them address their complaints to Google directly. Of course we were courteous enough to include a functional link as well – with the neat little side effect of Google being able to cache their own content over and again.

For good measure, we’ve also added Google’s suggested PREFETCH tag which should help these misled surfers see the light even faster … And no, we didn’t place any AdSense code on that page as this would be grossly unfair to their honest advertisers.

What’s more, we hired Teresa Knezek of → Mivox.com (that’s pronounced “mee-vox” by the way) to design a couple of topical graphics and she made a marvellous job of it. While the blocking page is → here, you can scrape the text below and the graphics too, if you’d like to spread the message: we’re hereby putting both items in the public domain, no tags attached.

The more people realize what a thoroughly bad egg Google’s hatched here, the better. Thanks to all our many visitors who have been hitting our site lately to inform themselves about Google’s designs on their privacy and, in the long term, their pockets. And special thanks to you, Teresa, for your expedient, competent and witty help – we’ll be happy to follow up on this with a good Scots ale or three when we meet at the → Edinburgh SEO Roadshow PubCon!

So here’s what we tell our blocked visitors:

ACCESS BLOCK ALERT!

Sorry, but access to this web site is blocked for visitors using the

Google Web Accelerator!

Here are just some of the reasons why we decided to do this:

  1. The Google Web Accelerator is a highly invasive piece of data scraping spyware operating a technology that can create a tremendous server time (CPU) and bandwidth load on web sites it happens to hit. Web publishers are not reimbursed by Google for the resulting costs in any way.
  2. GWA provides a fast proxy for site rippers.
  3. GWA prefetches pages through automated processes – something Google has expressly forbidden others to do with their own site.
    Many of these will be pages you may not even intend to visit – Google alone decides what’s supposed to be good for you. The redundant consumed bandwidth would again be ours to pay for alone without getting anything in return.
  4. It does not obey the generally accepted robots.txt convention which in itself makes it spyware by definition and constitutes a high security risk for all sites hosting sensitive information.
  5. GWA generates artificial impressions for paid online ads, thus defrauding advertisers of legitimate traffic. Preventing this from happening is currently within the sole responsibility of webmasters operating sites featuring such ads, in violation of which they are liable to face criminal charges of click fraud and attendant damages claims.
  6. GWA gives Google the opportunity to manipulate the raw HTML code of a web site before it is received by the browser – you may not get to see what the site’s publishers meant for you to find there – this again is solely at Google’s discretion.
    And in case you’re wondering: yes, they have an established track record doing this already with their new AutoLink program. In our view this may constitute a blatant violation of copyright and trademarks.
  7. GWA makes all your surfing habits 100% transparent to Google – a corporation whose top executives are known to have the strongest ties (read: security clearances) with government bodies such as the NSA, the world’s largest intelligence agency. Without any accountability setup in place, nobody knows how and against whom this data is or may be used.
  8. Google as a media company has an established track record of trying to steal their advertising partner agencies’ high net worth clients from them. Extensive use of GWA will make them privy to any and all cookies furbished by web sites worldwide.
    This enables them to build an almost comprehensive database of online vendors’ and buyers’ behavior, sales strategies, locations, time factors, etc. Data which, when properly processed, will reveal just about everything relating to real life online commerce and its participating parties.

Finally, Google admits on their own support page that any and all passwordse-mail addresses etc. you enter in a web form (e. g. when purchasing an item online) will be funneled via their systems.

[Source: Google Web Accelerator support page]

We are neither willing nor able to support such a policy and have hence decided to restrict access to our web properties to anyone using GWA. We do regret the incovenience.

Feel free to complain to Google about their practices here: labs+webaccelerator@google.com

Once you’ve switched off or uninstalled the Google Web Accelerator, you are welcome to visit our site again anytime! There’s no need to inform us in advance: our systems will detect usage of GWA automatically and will handle all legitimate requests in accordance with our TOS.

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