Friday, April 10, 2009

The Strange Disappearance of Norman Finkelstein's Website...

... from Google's search results.

I'm one of those lazy gits who searches for websites I already know by googling for the name of the person owning the site or to whom the site is dedicated. That's supposed to work exceptionally well for sites like or (am I giving away something here?), because Google will usually return these sites in the #1 spot of their search results.

Not so anymore with Norman Finkelstein: the search results for 'norman g finkelstein' no longer returns Finkelstein's website, or at least not in the #1, #2 or #3 search result pages (I didn't venture beyond that). And it applies to a variety of 'Finkelstein' related terms: 'norman finkelstein', 'norman g finkelstein', 'norman g. finkelstein', 'norman finkelstein website' etc etc.

And I'm not the only one who has noticed.

Google's cache shows nothing (the cache is empty) but Finkelstein may have a 'no cache' instruction on his homepage (although that would be quite unusual).

The link command returns 2,020 web pages linking to Finkelstein's domain, indicating that it remains firmly in Google's index.

While it's tempting to assume some 'anti anti-Zionist' plot's at work, I'm not a conspiracy theorist. But it's impossible not to want to speculate about this highly strange state of affairs, which has been persisting for a few days now. Hackers including a 'no follow' command in the home page's code? Unlikely and hard to do (but not impossible I guess). A sophisticated Google bomb? Google bombs can make websites appear in the search results of the bombers' choice but as far as I know cannot prevent the site from appearing under its natural search terms.

So I'm at a loss but something is up. This cannot be a 'coincidence'...


At 4:03 PM, Blogger Emmanuel said...

I did a search for "norman finkelstein" and the first result was Norman Finkelstein's Wikipedia entry, where a link to his website it prominently featured. Also, all the other links are related to him and what he has to say. The second search result for "norman g finkelstein" is a blog by his supporters.

The way google's search engine works is that it's based on links. If there are more Finkelstein-related links that don't link to his website than links that do, then his site would be pushed down.

I doubt there's a conspiracy here.

At 5:54 PM, Blogger Gert said...


How come only days ago (and for, well, basically, 'forever') did appear on #1 on all 'normal finkelstein' related search terms? Now it's nowhere to be seen.

Even excessive linking to pages competing with would only push that site down by a few positions, not make it disappear from the search results altogether. To push down a site so that it almost disappears would require a gargantuan linking effort (in itself almost impossible without a conspiracy).

At 8:28 PM, Blogger Emmanuel said...

I didn't realize the change was so sudden.

Anyway, Google works in mysterious ways. Who knows what happened.

At 3:39 PM, Blogger Gert said...

The suddenness is the key here: sites can lose traction (rankings) when people stop linking or their competitors start receiving more links but that leads to a slow erosion of rankings, not a sudden 'off-the cliff' type change.

Finkelstein continues to be linked to by friend an foe alike.


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