Just a little while after we put together a list of free domain name providers Google decides to pull the plug on .CO.CC domains and remove them all from it’s index. Don’t believe me? Run a search for site:co.cc – nothing. Completely empty index. A post by Matt Cutts explains why this happened and what website owners can do:
We absolutely do try to be granular, but I wanted to mention that if we see a very large fraction of sites on a specific freehost be spammy or low-quality, we do reserve the right to take action on the freehost as a whole. I think most savvy search/SEO folks would understand this completely, but I figure it’s better to over-communicate than under-communicate.
Another explanation is offered by a June 17th post on the Google Online Security Blog which states: Bulk subdomain providers register a domain name, like example.com, and then sell subdomains of this domain name, like subdomain.example.com. Subdomains are often registered by the thousands at one time and are used to distribute malware and fake anti-virus products on the web. In some cases our malware scanners have found more than 50,000 malware domains from a single bulk provider.
Google’s automated malware scanning systems detect sites that distribute malware. To help protect users we recently modified those systems to identify bulk subdomain services which are being abused. In some severe cases our systems may now flag the whole bulk domain.
Google’s JohnMu offered up some help explaining what website owners can do to remedy this situation for themselves: If you feel that your particular site is in line with our Webmaster Guidelines, I would recommend submitting a reconsideration request. Additionally, if you use a subdomain on a widely used domain name, and feel that your subdomain provider is not up to par with regards to preventing and handling abuse quickly – be it webspam, phishing, or malware – you may wish to look into ways of remedying that.
Now might be a good time to go through our list of free domain name providers and look into making the switch to another provider – or maybe it’s time to grab one of the domain name coupons we always post about and pick up a TLD for yourself.