Google censors my match.com exposé

I’ve been overwhelmed by the amount of support the manosphere has provided to my exposé on match.com’s far fetched Single in the Suburbs “column”.  I want to sincerely thank all of the bloggers who have helped get out the word on this.

Unfortunately Google seems equally interested in making sure the word doesn’t get out.  Until last night, my original post on the topic came up in the first page of results when I searched the words “Single in the Suburbs” in google.  I can only speculate on the reasons, but google has removed that page from their search engine.  Now if you google single in the suburbs, you will see many pages referencing my post, but not the post itself.  The same is true if you search the other half of the title:  how match.com sells your wife post marital spinsterhood.  Note that the second search term returns multiple links to my site, but none to the original exposé.

For now Bing and Yahoo still will return the original page.  And as a consolation, if I search the full title of the post in quotes google will return a link to the page itself.

My guess is Match.com or the author realized they had a problem and contacted google to help sweep it under the rug.  However, I’m not the problem, and neither is my original post.  Their problem is they sold this unbelievable story as non fiction for years, and even published the fact that it broke up marriages.

This isn’t one small article that ran on their site.  This was a 141 post column they published over several years. And they can’t claim they expected their readers to know it was fiction, because they are now on record in their email to me that it was presented to them as non fiction.

Can you imagine being the match.com executive who has to figure out how to defend this?  Assuming they were the ones who contacted google to have this removed from the search results, this must have generated some high visibility attention within match.com’s managerial ranks.  I wonder whose boss it is who has to explain how they hired a romance novelist whose specialty is fiction framed as fact multi part diary entries to write their true life dating column.  As I showed in the original post, before writing Single in the Suburbs Debra Kent wrote a very similar fictional series for Redbook for 9 years running.  After writing this supposedly true story which just happens to read like a romance novel, she started another weekly diary style fiction series called The Devil Wears Dockers.

I can certainly understand why Match.com would want to sweep this whole thing under the rug, but I think whoever contacted google made things worse for them.  I was basically ready to move on with this.  Now I’m angry.  I may not be in a position to prove this is false, but that doesn’t mean no one is.  Many of the key details of the story would leave a footprint in public records. I’ve already pointed out that the job loss doesn’t square with her linked in bio (don’t worry if you lose your copy Debra, I’ve made a backup).  Off the top of my head one could readily investigate:

  • The author claims she was married for 23 years.
  • She claims she was recently divorced with two kids.
  • The author claims she listed her home for sale during this period (I can’t tell from skimming the columns if the sale ever went through).

Does anyone know of an investigative journalist who would be interested in digging into this?

Update: Roughly a week after I published this post a reader noted that Google had stopped suppressing search results for this page.  I don’t know why they first suppressed the page and later stopped, but the fact that they stopped suppressing it so quickly seems to weaken the theory of those who say this is all done without human intervention at Google.

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This entry was posted in Choice Addiction, Finding a Spouse, Grey Divorce, Marriage, Post Marital Spinsterhood. Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to Google censors my match.com exposé

  1. My Name Is Jim says:

    Wish I did. Go Dalrock!

  2. Jet Tibet says:

    I wouldn’t immediately assume that match.com contacted Google. Google is particularly concerned these days about “Googlebombing” as well as content farms that use a lot of trending keywords. It may be that the algorithm detected a sudden surge in sites linking to the page and then blacklisted it.

  3. Country Lawyer says:

    Those details you mention Dalrock were changed to protect people’s privacy . . .

  4. 23:16 says:

    Google has modified their algorithm to identify and nullify google bombs so it could be that your page was detected by this algorithm and got ignored due to that.

    A quick word about Googlebombs

    They refused to intentionally modify their results to stop the phrase ‘miserable failure’ from pointing to GWB so I have hard time believing they would modify their database for something as minor as this issue.

    Altough I suppose you could argue that since they’re part of the evil leftist liberal group then they’d have no problem referring to GWB as a miserable failure and hiding your expose on some divorce porn.

    [D: I’m pretty sure Match.com is a major purchaser of online advertising. Google is in the business of selling ads. I don’t find it hard to believe they would throw me under the bus if contacted.]

  5. Simon Grey says:

    @Dalrock- Jet Tibet is right. In fact, I read an article on Mashable a couple days ago that said Google had reengineered their search algorithm in order to flesh out and eliminate content farm sites. I think they were looking to clamp down on overuse of search terms and keywords, and I bet that’s what happened with you.

    Anyway, the only search engines that Match would have any sway over would be Bing and LiveSearch, since all three are connected through Microsoft, if memory serves me correctly. I don’t really see Google bowing to a non-sponsor. But don’t worry, we’ll find a way to get you back to the top again.

  6. Retrenched says:

    LOL @ Baghdad Bob. I was wondering what happened to him. Nice to see he was able to find another job🙂

  7. Lily says:

    [D: I’m pretty sure Match.com is a major purchaser of online advertising. Google is in the business of selling ads. I don’t find it hard to believe they would throw me under the bus if contacted.]
    This particular page of your blog is coming up as number 3 in Google’s results, so it seems more like its algorithms picked up your ‘google bomb’ rather than censoring you discussing this topic. If that were the case, surely it would just blacklist your site completely, not let another post with the same reference turn up at number 3.
    (Although of course web sites are blacklisted by Google’s algorithms with no human intervention quite often, even if they themselves are paying Google advertising money).

    Seems you’re not the only person who has a dislike to this series
    http://www.fabulouslybroke.com/2008/03/single-in-suburbs-really-makes-me/

    In other news, I hear Liz Jones is dating Jim Kerr. ‘Hypergamous slut’. From virgin at 30 to 50+ divorcee taking Patsy Kensit’s leftovers.

  8. Dally,

    It’s a shame that OKCupid was bought by Match.com. The guys at OKCupid were willing to have some interesting, honest discussions on their blog, especially about their competitors. I think they would have blown this the F up.

    Let N.O.M.A.N put asunder.

  9. MeMyselfI says:

    Did we really need yet another reason to NOT trust Google’s search results.
    “Algorithm change” my ass… more like social engineering.

  10. Lavazza says:

    Country lawyer: The idea in dishonest reality fiction is not to protect the persons involved but to protect the author and the impression of authencity of the story. Google “false biographies” or “misery lit hoax”.

  11. Workshy Joe says:

    I’ve tweeted a link to this post. I’m amazed at the naivety of people who think that the algorithm killed it. All the algorithm does is detect.

    If you Google-bombed something like “Paris Hilton” or “Britney Spears” I seriously doubt that would get censored at all.

    If you Google-bombed “Ron Paul” they kill that pretty rapidly.

  12. Lavazza says:

    Well you are on top for “single in the suburbs” + handyman + millionaire, at least.

  13. painlord2k says:

    If I follow your search with Google, the first four results are from Dalrock.
    Lily is right, Google is not censuring you. Simply the have detected a fast increase of the number linkages and reduced the priority to your pages. I’m from Italy, and result often are different from US and other places.

    This happened with the CRU Letters (climategate didn’t show up with self completing for hours and days) and many other episodes.

    I doubt Google will change ad hoc if requested the results from a legitimate search. They could change the algorithm if they detect abuse.
    They sell advertising, but their revenues are linked not to the showing of the advertisement, but only if someone follow the link to the website of the advertiser.
    If they changed the results they would damages themselves and Match.com however a large purchaser of advertisements is not so large to be noted by Google.
    Now, If the government of the US or China asked politely they could listen and, maybe, do something.

  14. Lavazza says:

    “Does anyone know of an investigative journalist who would be interested in digging into this?”

    Are there investigative journalists getting published in the States at all?

    And especially exposing false stories that are selling well?

    I doubt it. MSM is worthless, especially in exposing MSM abuse of the truth.

  15. Artem says:

    Have you ever even had a job in a big company?

    [D: Yup.]

    Do you seriously believe that match.com can call Google and ask them to remove some petty link to some petty article from the search results? Do you think this is how business is done?

    Do you even understand the scale of Google? Do you even understand how many people it would take to handle such requests EVEN from advertising clients? Do you think company have no policies? No public reputation? Do you think we would know if Google has been engaging in actively censoring results by now? At least one story would have leaked?

    [D: I’ll esplain it to you. The column in question is part of Match.com’s marketing effort, and represented a multi year marketing project. Someone in match.com marketing is in a position to look very bad. If match.com has ever bought ad space from google, they will have a sales rep with google who is either 1) Eager to snag a massive account. or 2) Terrified of losing a massive account. Sales reps know how to shake their own corporate tree. If you worked in a big company you would know this. And as others have mentioned, google has a stated policy (which they typically ignore) against any attempt to influence the rankings, so they aren’t going against their own policy.]

    You probably also think that if I gave an ad in New York Times, I can call them and say “hey, don’t write anything negative about my product!” to which the response would be “yes, sir”?

    Are you retarded?

    [D: Nope.]

  16. zhai2nan2 says:

    ‘Have you ever even had a job in a big company?’

    I have had jobs at big companies, and I have seen blatantly illegal conflicts of interest get swept under the rug.

    ‘Do you even understand the scale of Google?’

    Your insults are a classic example of “authority by contempt.”

  17. Send to Charlotte Allen. She wrote a decent piece on Game awhile back for The Weekly Standard. She might have a good idea of what to do with it.

    [D: Great idea! Thanks.]

  18. Lily says:

    If Google is censoring you, why is this very page number 3* in the search results for the search ‘single in the suburbs’?

    (*individual results may vary slightly due to Google’s decentralised hosting strategy)

    [D: As I mentioned, they appeared to only be suppressing the original post. However I don’t find this post in the first 6 pages of google results. It must be a UK vs US difference.]

  19. You probably also think that if I gave an ad in New York Times, I can call them and say “hey, don’t write anything negative about my product!” to which the response would be “yes, sir”?

    I was the editor of three magazines over the years. Advertisers routinely make editorial demands. While there is supposed to be a wall between advertising and editorial, it’s a flimsy wall at best.

    Those in the motorcycling community know about what happened to Dexter Ford after he wrote a lengthy and well-researched article about motorcycle helmets for Motocyclist magazine. Shoei and Arai, two big advertisers in that publication, called the publisher to complain and Dexter found himself unemployed.

    The purpose of any media business is to make money, period. For the right advertising revenue, the New York Times would be happy to sell a few column inches on the front page and make it look like a real news story.

  20. Lily says:

    “[D: As I mentioned, they appeared to only be suppressing the original post. However I don’t find this post in the first 6 pages of google results. It must be a UK vs US difference.]”
    I checked what Google’s search results would look like from 3 random locations in the US before I posted my previous comment.

  21. Dalrock says:

    @Lily
    I checked what Google’s search results would look like from 3 random locations in the US before I posted my previous comment.

    Could you be talking about searching on the second half of the title, and not “Single in the Suburbs” as you originally stated? If I search the second half of the title this page is #3.

  22. Lily says:

    Search was Single in the Suburbs. It’s actually your home page coming up as the phrase was on your home page when google was caching. Google results show ‘So sad that Single in the Suburbs is over, but very happy for you and Ethan’

    If I google dalrock single in the suburbs, then I get:
    1. grerp
    2. dalrock home page
    3. dalrock post Match.com responds and a new pic of the author
    4. dalrock post Google censors my match.com expose
    5. in mala fide
    6. hiddenleaves

    I’m in the middle of something for work right now so haven’t got time to check the different result orders from different US locations again with dalrock in the search query.

    If Google is censoring you, it’s not very good at censoring.

  23. Lily says:

    It does seem Google’s algorithms just doesn’t like your google bomb strategy & that’s why it’s not showing that particular page in the results. If a human being had intervened to censor you because Match.com asked them to, they would have done a better job of it. They are quite good at their jobs over at Google.

    [D: The two aren’t mutually exclusive. If match or someone else complained, all google would be able to do is enforce their own stated policy.]

  24. Lily says:

    “all google would be able to do is enforce their own stated policy”
    They could just ‘blacklist’ your entire blog under that.

    [D: Are you saying google didn’t follow their own policy?]

  25. Pingback: Thanks for getting the word out! | Dalrock

  26. Harald Korneliussen says:

    I noticed that you did ask for people to link to the article with a certain expression, in essence, to “Google-bomb” it. They hate it at Google when people consciously try to manipulate the search results; if there was a reliable way to do it all searches would return junk.

    I have known for a long time that naïve google-bombing does not work any longer – automatic systems try to detect it and counteract it. I am not at all surprised your page was penalized in the rankings.

    You may be a bit of a hub for the feminism-critical/men’s rights blogosphere, but in the grand picture of things, it’s not very large and important. You’re not being conspired against. It is unlikely that any actual person at Google noticed at all. I wish it wasn’t so. I wish your exposé of match.com’s contemptible column was front page news. But there’s still a long way to go.

    [D: Any thoughts on why they stopped suppressing the page after a week?]

  27. David says:

    Sheer paranoia, I have a blog and my posts regularly get outranked by sites that are syndicating my content, it’s just a google quirk, seriously….

  28. Michael says:

    Wow this is an amazing report. I’m just now reading this. Amazing.

  29. Dohn Joe says:

    Dalrock, my hat comes off to you as I think you’ve just made a BIG discovery in terms of covert business operations of online dating giants. They no doubt understand female psychology (specifically tendency towards hypergamy and duplicity) and relationship dynamics best so I find myself surprised to be surprised by this obvious outcome. I can’t help but wonder if the push for Eat, Pray, Love wasn’t also bankrolled by these same interests…

  30. Pingback: The Gamer Slut | The Reinvention of Man

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