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Who offed the Ripoff Report?

That’s the question that had the blogosphere buzzing Tuesday evening, with tweets and blog posts wondering why a Google site search did not find “” — the consumer advocacy site that elevates online complaints into a civic duty. (“Many law firms and law enforcement agencies utilize Ripoff Report to aid in their investigations of business practices,” the home page says. “By filing a report, your information may aid in pursuing civil or criminal proceedings against companies engaged in wrongdoing.”)

Had Google succumbed to threats by a doctor, lawyer or business dissed in one of RR’s legions of entries ?

Relax, says Search Engine Land, which quotes an (unnamed) Google spokesperson as saying the Ripoff Report’s URL was removed at its own request.

As of 9:30 p.m., though, SEL Executive Editor Matt McGee couldn’t tell if it was done on purpose or by accident. He noted that Google warned of unauthorized changes when it liberalized its Webmaster Tools verification process last year.

Of the 11 comments on McGee’s site as of 9:30, just four had ventured a guess — and not one of them thought RR had done it on purpose.

Of course, they’re probably right.

But I do wonder: How on earth would anyone notice something like this?

And what are the chances the blogosphere would be buzzing about Ripoff Report on a Tuesday night if it hadn’t been de-indexed by Google?

It may well have been a new-media glitch, as McGee seems inclined to believe.

But it could also pass muster as an old-school publicity stunt.


  1. We’re back. We weren’t delisted because of any violations with Google.

    So, to answer the headline…no one.

  2. You might be right on the publicity stunt part, Barbara. I hadn’t thought of that but considering the amount of buzz it’s getting (and all of the flying opinions), I wouldn’t be surprised. We’ve seen other businesses and sites do stunts before. Hell, we see celebrities do it all the time. Great post 🙂

  3. Now that is a shame I thought Google had finally done the right thing and taken the ROR spam out of its index. It seems good sites are fair game and sites like ROR just keep on going. As a victim of the ROR it is literally impossible to be objective as the use of the site for malicious intent is such a part of their business model. A business model which is completely acceptable to its owners. Other good sites like complaintsboard and my3cents allow you to appeal the report offline and will remove it if you can prove its false or malicious. If ROR would just do that one thing I might beleive humans ran the comapny.

  4. Not a publicity stunt. Promise. Kind of a scary way to do that, no?

  5. That website has made finding a job for my talented boyfriend very difficult. An evil company and man. Some jerk posted that he was a prostitute and linked to his website. Thanks so much anonymous poster for ruining our lives…