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Google Error Temporarily Shuts Down 420 Magazine

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Recently, 420Magazine.com suffered from the clutches of a website called Stopbadware.org. A link was posted that led to a website that Stopbadware.org alleged to have Malware. I want to be crystal clear on this, 420Magazine.com did not have Malware. Our Systems Administrators and Moderators and the rest of the staff here work very hard to keep the website clean.

Luckily, access to the site was only disabled for approximately 24 hours and 20 minutes before being cleared by Google. This did however confuse over 20,000 of our daily visitors. The paranoia of our industry runs wild when things like this happen, causing us a lot of drama and loss of very valuable time, support and energy.

As for myself, I was shocked when I opened up 420Magazine.com in my Firefox browser, and was greeted with a red page telling me the Website was unsafe. Knowing that it was safe, I tried to click through to the Website, and when I did, I was directed to the website for Stopbadware.org. I couldn't even get to 420Magazine.com. So after a few attempts and some major frustration, I tried a different browser, Internet Explorer. Then I tried Google Chrome. I know of others that used Opera, and they were able to get through to the site. Eventually, I went back to Firefox, and I had to go into the Security settings and un-check a box that warns the user of attack sites. I feel this is not something I should have had to do. If Google wants to warn people about a website, that is fine, but they should not have the power to keep me from it, as it is my choice, not theirs.

On behalf of 420Magazine.com and the staff here, I want to apologize to everyone who was inconvenienced by this unfortunate incident, as I know I was! I am sure it worried quite a lot of people, staff, members, visitors and sponors alike. Do not let this incident deter you from the best website on the web for Cannabis news, information, and help with legally growing your medical Cannabis.

Stopbadware.org is a third party website, on Google's Payroll. Could we blame them for this happening? Google, however, is the bad apple in this basket, employing them back in 2006, and that was the beginning of the end, of Freedom on the Internet.

From an article in 2006:
"Google officially launched a feature Friday that will alert users of its search engine when they visit a site suspected of distributing badware. The service is a partnership between Google and StopBadware.org, an organization aimed at stopping the spread of malicious software." [1]

Now I am not saying that stopping Malware and such is a bad thing, it's not, and every geek knows that. However, what Google has effectively done is take control of the Internet as we know it. Many people use Google for their search engine, that is what Google started out as, and that is all they should be. However, since every company wants to make as much money as they can, Google took it's popularity to its head, and decided to invest in more control of the Internet. So now we have an Internet that is controlled to some extent by a Search Engine.

Last month, Google also gave it's search algorithms a major overhaul. This is from the article on CNN Money:
"Google made one of the biggest changes ever to its search results this week, which immediately had a noticeable effect on many Web properties that rely on the world's biggest search engine to drive traffic to their sites.

The major tweak aims to move better quality content to the top of Google's search rankings. The changes will affect 12% Google's results, the company said in a blog post late Thursday."[2]

If Google's intent is truly to simply weed out content farms, and give the user the best search results possible, that is fine. However, if their idea is to promote websites that benefit Google in some way, shape, or form, then they are doing a dis-service to their loyal customer base, of which I was one, until recent events. They can use your cookies on your computer to give you results that they believe are "in your best interest" or "only what you want to see". Well, that pretty much squashes a search, doesn't it? If I want to see the same thing, I will bookmark sites I like, and not even need to use Google. The whole premise of a Search is to find out new information, not stuff we already know. When I do a Google search, I want widespread results. I don't want it narrowed down for me, by someone/something else. That is censorship, in one form.

This change has also had a major impact to owners of websites, not only is Google more or less suppressing search results, they are also causing hard working people to lose profit.

From the same article:
"Why is it that every single time the search engine result page starts to stabilize and sales return, Google has to throw a monkey wrench in the system again?" asked commenter backdraft7. "Hey Google, this is not fun anymore - YOU'RE KILLING OUR BUSINESSES!"

"My God. I just lost 40% of my traffic from Google today," said commenter DickBaker. "Referrals from Yahoo, Bing, direct sources, and other sources are the same, but Google dropped like a rock." [2]

I am sure you have all heard of the Comcast/NBC merger. Now we face even bigger challenges to our Freedom of Internet. Comcast is going to want to limit bandwidth to Netflix, as they are a competitor, and promote their own content as much as possible. The fight is on in the court system as I write this article. I can only hope that logic and common sense prevail, and not big business and greed.

Members of 420Magazine.com, staff, soon to be members and visitors, please do not let this hiccup keep you from gaining the insight, information, or enlightenment that is available here. We were struck by a lightening bolt for a few hours, but thanks to a wonderful staff, we prevailed, just as we will in our Mission to end the War on Cannabis.

Jacob Husky
420 Magazine Staff Writer

Referenced Articles:
[1] Betanews - Google Aims to Block Malicious Sites
[2] CNN Money - Google's algorithm change hits 12% of search results
 

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
So, what did you have to do to clear things up? Was it a problem with stopbadware? Did they have to change something?

Google was notified of the problem and did whatever it was they needed to do. I'm not sure exactly what it was as I was not involved in it. I just wanted to give a little bit of an answer for you. Someone who knows more will probably give you a better answer than me when they see the question.
 

420

Founder
420 Staff
6 of us spent 24 hours, around the clock, cleaning out both servers, upgrading scripts, removing software and data that could possibly be considered outdated or unstable, doing every single thing in our power to make 420% positive that nothing was allowing this to happen in our site or on our servers.
So, what did you have to do to clear things up? Was it a problem with stopbadware? Did they have to change something?
 

medme

New Member
KEEP UP THE SUPER JOB..... i think it was handled well,,,,,,,
 

Smoke2Js

Nug of the Month: Jan, May 2013 - Plant of the Month: June 2013
I have heard of this, "Tailored search". I have also been the victim of its new search engine. Type in "B" , and you get the big business list; "Bank of A******", "Worst Buy", (Names have been changed to avoid being sued..lol) etc. I want a search engine to search based on what I input for that individual search, not what I have looked at, or searched for in the past. Nor do I want to see the list of probable results as I type. Its an invasion of privacy,and insulting to my intelligence as well.
 

Brinna

New Member
6 of us spent 24 hours, around the clock, cleaning out both servers, upgrading scripts, removing software and data that could possibly be considered outdated or unstable, doing every single thing in our power to make 420% positive that nothing was allowing this to happen in our site or on our servers.

Thank you for your amazing dedication. :thumb:
 

Keith Lake

420 Emeritus
420 Staff
When I stop and think this through, it really is amazing that an unrelated party (google), can interfere and essentially prevent an administrator from accessing the site being administered.

If I searched for a site through google and this happened, I'd understand and think this was a good feature that they'd launched. This isn't the case though, somehow they've managed to acquire the power to intercept, value-judge and ultimately determine whether I can access a website I've consciously called up.

It's pretty amazing that they feel empowered and are even capable of intercepting the address request and blocking the connection "for my own good".

For me, this opens up a lot of interesting questions such as:
  • Who decides the threshold of a threat deemed sufficient to intervene?
  • Doesn't this power enable them to unfairly leverage their own interests (under the guise of altruism)?
  • How would we all feel if it was Microsoft's that was doing this?

This is like getting a mistake on your credit report. First you're angry, then you're doomed to spending countless hours proving that you're not guilty. Then only if someone who holds monopolistic power over your credibility, decides to rule in your favor, is your name ultimately cleared.

Only it's worst, google has now cast a pall over our community. A community which tends to inherently be of the highly cautious nature anyway.

As Ray Donovan, Secretary of Labor under President Ronald Reagan famously said; "Where do I go to get my reputation back?"
 

MedicalNeed

New Member
Google instead of it's predestined DOOMED failure shortly after it's debut launch, accepted money a very LARGE donation from the CIA to stay afloat, therefore now being able to stay afloat became an Internet SUPERPOWER and currently meets with the CIA every six months for undisclosed content "Meetings".

So now some YEARS later changes many things for "Lesser" search results.

Therefore I have been using a different search Engine.

This "Was" and is all public information thou finding it with 'Google' is not NOW possible. Hum
 

OmicronX

New Member
So, what did you have to do to clear things up? Was it a problem with stopbadware? Did they have to change something?

Were you being sarcastic! Can you not see what google is up to.They have enough info on each and everyone who used or uses there SEARCH app.It could be the case for other search engines,also.It seems that once a company gets to the status of google,all of a sudden they start to control.Look at paypal!! Just a comment iz all. \/ and a :]) for U:circle-of-love:
 

420

Founder
420 Staff
Yes it happened again this morning unfortunately at around 7am and we had it fixed by 10am.

However Google waited until 7pm to lift the warning page. Everything is fine now.

We thank you for your understanding and support and apologize for any inconvenience it may have caused.
 

aztecbuds

New Member
Yes it happened again this morning unfortunately at around 7am and we had it fixed by 10am.

However Google waited until 7pm to lift the warning page. Everything is fine now.

We thank you for your understanding and support and apologize for any inconvenience it may have caused.

i now know, i was just trippin if it was just me or everyone, its okay i just want a a free t shirt now. JK :19:
but glad you guys fixed it and hopefully this doesnt happen again >.<
 

The General

New Member
FYI If you are using chrome and you get the warning page, you can still load the page you are trying to reach buy clicking on the advanced link. Then there is a link that says proceed at you own risk.
 

420

Founder
420 Staff
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