Google classifies its own blog as spam

August 9th, 2007

Google’s splog classifier came up with an embarrassing false positive this week. It mistakenly thought that its own Google Custom Search Blog on blogspot.com was a splog and disabled it.

Robert McMillan of IDG News Service explained what happened next.

“Blogger’s spam classifier misidentified the Custom Search Blog as spam,” he said via e-mail on Wednesday. Typically Google notifies blog owners when it has spotted content associated with spam on their Web sites to give them a chance to clear up any misunderstandings. However, that didn’t work out in this case. “The Custom Search Blog bloggers overlooked their notification, and after a period of time passed, the blog was disabled.” When blogs are disabled like this, their URL becomes available to the general public. That’s when Srikanth swooped in and wrote the joke post. “It was a case of “URL squatting” and not a security issue or any kind of hack,” Carlson said. Google quickly realized its mistake and the Custom Search Blog is now back in action.

This was first noticed by Blogscoped, which has saved an image of the hack for posterity.