When it comes to Google, you'd better not try any mischief.
The Internet giant has very specific guidelines for Web sites that want to be found with its search engine. But when those sites don't comply, it isn't long before they get a slap on the wrist or worse.
"If a site has been penalized, it may no longer show up in results on Google.com or on any of Google's partner sites," Google says on a page devoted to Webmaster guidelines.
And don't think they aren't serious. Web sites belonging to corporations, individuals and political campaigns have been buried or banned altogether because of tactics that game or disrupt Google's system.
Hutchison's Campaign Site Gets the Boot
In the latest search engine showdown, Google blocked the Web site of Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's gubernatorial campaign last week after it found hidden text in the Web site's source code.
To the average visitor, www.standbykay.com looked like any other political site. But those who could pull back the layers of the Web found something else.
According to the Austin American-Statesman, the source code for the site included more than 2,200 hidden phrases, including word combinations with Hutchison's name and Rick Perry, the name of the incumbent. The newspaper said it also included the phrase "rick perry gay."
A spokesman for Hutchison's campaign told ABCNews.com that its Web technology company, ElectionMall Technologies was informed by Google last week that the site had violated its guidelines. He also said that they had dismissed the firm.
When contacted by ABCNews.com, ElectionMall declined to give a comment.
The URL standbykay.com has been discontinued and directs to texansforkay.com. But when it was still alive, aides for the senator said the phrases were computer-generated based on campaign-related terms that Internet users would likely search for and were intended to help target online banner advertising, the Statesman reported.
But hiding text in source code is a giant Google no-no.
Violating Google Guidelines Results in Removal
"Google did take action on this site for hidden text. Hidden text is a violation of our quality guidelines," a company spokesman said in a statement, adding that it had removed the site from its index.
But Hutchison's campaign site isn't the only one to have found itself on the wrong side of Google. Here are five other sites that have been banned or buried.
I would like to hear what ElectionMall has to say. They probably should put out a statement either accepting responsibility or defending themselves, one or the other... right now they have been thrown under the bus, possibly rightfully so?
As for Kay's campaign... what a royal disaster. She will forever be associated with dirty campaign tricks after this debacle.