Bye Bye Befuddle

I’ve worryingly received an email from Google today saying my Befuddle drunk celebrity pages, “can cause users to be infected with malicious software.” As a result, “This site may harm your computer” message is printed on the search pages and the link goes to a warning page.

The email gives three example urls but it applies to many and to be honest I can’t see anything wrong. Google does say, “in many cases the webmaster is unaware because the site displays content from an ad network that has a malicious advertiser.”

My pages do contain advertising from a third party, Claxon media. I don’t know if they are to blame or not but they’ll be the first bit of code to be removed.

Now, firstly, I have to say that I have not updated Befuddle in a long long time. Seven times since 2005 in fact! Twice in March 2007, three times in January, once in December 2006 and then it was back in January 2006 before the last update.

Despite the low frequency of updates it still receives credible traffic as it receives up to 4,000 visitors each day. At its peak it had 125,000 visitors a day just as Paris Hilton became globally famous.

Now updating Befuddle is not going to be easy. It hasn’t moved with the times. It’s not written with a CMS or using server side scripting.

It’s flat HTML all crafted by hand. The site was launched in February 2000 and the code and design hasn’t progressed much since then.

Editing all my pages is going to be a painful manual chore. On top of that, I don’t even know what I need to remove. There’s no guarantee that if I remove all the advertising, that I have removed the problem.

I’ve just looked at my analytics stats and can quickly see that my Befuddle stats have halved overnight.

Now it’s a race against time. I’ve got exactly a week before my two week holiday abroad to save Befuddle.

It is an old site that I’ve grown out of. But I am fond of it and you always have to respect having thousands viewing something you’ve built.

If I don’t move quick, Google may drop the site for good. It could be a blessing in disguise but if the site is to close I want it to be my choice.

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4 Responses to “Bye Bye Befuddle”

  1. it’s good to see Google taking a stance against malware/spyware etc – but I’d be gutted if that was my site, know what you mean though about updating it manually. I think I’d strip out all possible offending code – hopefully Google will quickly remove that warning sign – have a good holiday and then decide what to do. Good Luck

  2. Have you looked in the Google Webmaster Tools?

    It should technically tell you what the problem is with the site and where it is under the new scheme of Googles to open up a dialogue with webmasters.

    They don’t contact everyone though, but it may be worth checking as it could save you some time.

    A global find and replace should also make it easy to remove the ad code if its the same on each page of the site.

  3. […] I’m currently reading a lot about search engines to find interesting things to post about on my personal interest search engine blog: Search Works, anyway whilst looking on Googles webmaster blog they had something which grabbed my attention which isn’t really suitable for my search works blog but is appropriate here given what has happened recently over at Befuddle, more info can be found at Ray’s blog. […]

  4. […] X Factor judge Dannii Minogue is inadvertently helping Befuddle become a rising star again. Google is still giving Befuddle the big X exactly one month after labelling it as a ‘malware site‘. […]