Posted by Virus Bulletin on Jul 4, 2011
Large fraction of sites deemed 'spammy or low-quality'.
Google has removed all sites running on subdomains of .co.cc from its search engine index as the company believes too large a fraction of them are used for spam or are otherwise of low quality.
co.cc uses the top-level domain of the Australian territory of the Cocos Islands. However, unlike, for instance, .co.uk or .co.jp, .co.cc is not a generic second-level domain but a domain registered by a company that offers free subdomain redirection services. Unsurprisingly, spammers - who are always on the look for cheap domains - have registered a great many subdomains of .co.cc.
In a statement made on its new social network Google+, Google's Matt Cutts explains that the search engine giant has a policy where action is taken on a freehost as a whole "if a very large fraction of sites on [it are] spammy or low quality".
Reputation is an important part of computer security. Cases such as this show that your reputation does not solely depend on the quality of your website, your email traffic or the software you produce: your reputation may be greatly damaged by the malicious behaviour of your 'neighbours' - in this case by websites using the same redirection service.
A quick search using Yahoo or Bing, neither of which have removed the sites from their indexes, shows that there are still many legitimate sites using .co.cc subdomains. Their owners are likely to be frustrated by Google's action. However, they would do best to take up Google's advice and move to a freehost of higher quality.
Posted on 04 July 2011 by Virus Bulletin