I just got an update email from Leslie Rhode of OptiLink...
A few days ago, Google began to employ a "spyware detector" that will in some cases block OptiLink through the use of a cookie and a human visible "ransom note".
The use of Google from "normal" browsers is not effected -- it is only specialized programs such as OptiLink that are targeted by Google's change with the result that OptiLink can be blocked
from Google for two or more hours.
While this is not a terrible problem as no lasting impact has been found, I am not comfortable with Google being able to discover the use of OptiLink no mattter how "gentle" the counter-measures
So, OptiLink's Goolge interface has been REMOVED pending a solution to this problem. This has been done for your safety, and for the safety of all other OptiLink users.
Rest assured that this problem will be solved and Google access restored as soon as possible, but in the meantime, you should use the Yahoo and MSN interfaces for your Google ranking analysis.
I am a bit curious if Google is going too far with all of their recent anti-SEO moves. I can't even count how many times I have read that search relevancy is similar at Yahoo! and Google. Webmasters have undoubtedly helped to build Google's brand.
With the extensive filtering that Google does on its linking information, the loss of the Google interface in many cases is not that important.
In general, you can do your linking analysis using the Yahoo or MSN link databases and safely assume that Google has these links as well, but are simply not showing them. The exception to this rule is of course the "banned domain" which appears to be a uniquely Google concept.
Google does provide useless linkage data. Some of the other engines, especially Yahoo!, provide useful linkage data.
The connectivity measurement (or PageRank) that Google shows in it's toolbar is outdated. July of last year I talked to a Yahoo! Search employee and asked why they were not making a reliable Yahoo! connectivty measurement available?
A large part of how Google gained their brand was by creating concepts that were somewhat easy to explain, like PageRank. Why not force them to keep that data updated or take that market position from them by providing across the board better tools that are easier to explain? This also could help Yahoo! gain a much larger installed toolbar base, which may allow them to
- gain market share
- collect more market data
- improve relevancy algorithms
MSN has also been significantly more supportive of the SEO industry than Google, even allowing people to subscribe to search results via RSS.
I understand running automated systems add to system load time and has associated costs, but could that cost be a cheap form of marketing your high margin search service over competing services?
On many fronts I do like Google as a company, but I think their idealism is at least as much of a hindrance as it is a strength.
Leslie also had the following to say in his update:
My Thoughts on the Future
It is certainly well known that Google does not look with favor upon SEO tools in general, and most especially tools that make use of its interfaces, so some sort of reaction is not totally unexpected.
OptiLink has been in very active use and continuous development since May 22, 2002, and has been on Google's "short list" since the moment they called me (true story) just 10 days after it was announced.
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