Google banning free domain services – AKA a guide to free domain services and Google

Today I was going to add one of my new websites, http://webshuff.uni.cc , to Google webmaster tools and for my surprise, right after I verified the ownership of the website, it showed this message at the top of the dashboard:

 

[Image not available anymore due to data loss when forcibly changing servers on 1st December 2011]

Well, this exact same message is shown for this website gbl08ma.cz.cc I added some months ago. The message started appearing two or three weeks ago.

I thought immediately it was due to the fact that this website has a .cz.cc domain. I submitted a reconsideration request, after making sure this website was following all Google Webmaster guidelines, and some days ago Google said it had been processed, but so far this website, which previously appeared on Google search results, doesn’t appear anymore. Click for proof.

I didn’t bother much. nic.cz.cc started to give problems some time ago, when the first episodes of Google marking all the cz.cc domain and subdomains as containing malicious software or content. I thought: easy, just switch to another domain name like uni.cc. And I decided to myself: from on now, I will use uni.cc for new websites I create – even because uni.cc seems much stable and less abused than cz.cc.

So, for one of my new websites, Webshuff, I chose uni.cc network for my free domain service. From the part uni.cc is responsible for, I have no complaints… however, I only realized Google was also hiding uni.cc websites from Google searches when today I saw this warning on Webmaster Tools. I’m not even going for submitting a reconsideration request: all the uni.cc and cz.cc websites are being hidden from Google’s search results, and most likely any reconsideration request is being suppressed, because all these websites are just cz.cc or uni.cc subdomains and the rules not for showing these websites apply to all subdomains, and Google doesn’t seem to open exceptions.

Summing up, what’s the current state then?

  • cz.cc website and subdomains not listed in Google’s search results. None of them. Click for proof.
  • uni.cc website and subdomains not listed in Google’s search results. None of them. Click for proof.

Sure, there are many more free domain and DNS services. We have, for example, the old and very abused co.cc. But… Google is blocking co.cc since long ago (by long I mean, perhaps since the start of July this year). co.cc I perfectly understand because: a) when I used it for the first an last time, it sucked so hard… their website made it look like it all was a scam, not to talk about some of the websites the subdomains pointed to. From phishing websites to all the kinds of online scams and spams, they had of everything bad in great amounts, at that time… “at that time” was like two years ago. Things didn’t get better since that time (instead, the opposite happened), and Google kicked out co.cc of search results because 90% of the subdomains pointed to dangerous and not worthy websites.

Summing up again…

  • cz.cc website and subdomains not listed in Google’s search results. None of them. Click for proof.
  • uni.cc website and subdomains not listed in Google’s search results. None of them. Click for proof.
  • co.cc website and subdomains not listed in Google’s search results. None of them. Click for proof.

By other words, all free domain services are not listed by Google except two… dot.tk and co.nr. Click for proof. If Google lists any more, they don’t have enough PageRank to appear on the first page. So, let’s analyse dot.tk cz.cc and co.nr in greater detail…

dot.tk

I used them with the first websites I created. My experience with them was great until to turned horrible the day one of my domains got lots of hits – turns out Google had just indexed it, and as I offered unlimited cloud space on a online desktop powered by eyeOS, lots of people visited the website. The day that could be a change in the way of my webservice and of my online reputation (not that I spend all my life thinking about online reputation, but whatever) turned out to be the day dot.tk pointed the domain goonawebtop.tk to SedoParking (yep, that horrible website where dead domains are parked to). Following goonawebtop.tk, all my dot.tk domains were pointed to SedoParking in a few hours.

Although the domains were pointed to SedoParking, they were listed on my dot.tk account as being pointed to the correct IP. I’m sure I followed dot.tk TOS/AUP. I tried deleting my domains to add them again, but when I tried to add them, they weren’t available anymore.

Other people have reported this behavior on high-traffic domains by dot.tk.

Conclusion: dot.tk points domains with a great amount of traffic to SedoParking in order to make money out of them, and doesn’t allow people to point them back. cz.cc has also pointed my domains to SedoParking-like websites for multiple times, although the IP in the A record was explicitly changed and I could change it back (and the admin of .cz.cc also promised me multiple times it wouldn’t happen again).

I’m not going for dot.tk after my first experience with them. And personal experiences apart, I’m not going for a domain service that drives traffic away from my website once I get many visitors. Would you? If yes, sure, go with them, you might be lucky and they might not point your domain anywhere (like what happened with freevps.tk). But if they do… don’t say you were not warned.

nic.cz.cc

I started using them when dot.tk failed. They have even more features than dot.tk, and they also have a way to pay for premium accounts and additions to domains internally, paying with “My Balance”. People could earn balance without spending money by doing paid2surf on cz.cc websites. I made more than “$30″ (with quotes) using this method, and bought myself a cz.cc VIP account.

cz.cc was great for some time, like four or five months, but after that, Google started marking all the subdomains as containing malicious content, without exceptions. Problem was solved some days later, and it was good for a month. But, in mid-June, Google was marking all websites as containing dangerous content – again. And more recently, cz.cc was kicked out of Google search results like what had happened with co.cc before.

co.nr

I never used them, and I don’t think it’s worth a try now that Google is motivated kicking free subdomains out of search results. I think we only need to wait some time until more spammers/phishers/abusers start using it more, and it will also be kicked out of search results like what happened with co.cc, cz.cc and uni.cc. Note that I don’t think this last one, uni.cc, is very abused, but anyways, Google doesn’t think, it computes. And thinking is completely different from computing.

So what?

Google seem to want us to buy a former TLD (top level domain). The question is, where in Google do I fill a form applying to get a free domain? Yep, because not everybody has the money to pay for a TLD, or sometimes we have the money but no way to get it online. Or else, people younger than 16 or 18 years old are denied from publishing their content on the web on an independent website, on a independent server, using a free domain service.

But are you so sure nothing will save us? [people cry]

Well, there’s the free DNS service by freedns.afraid.org. Yay! But wait, weren’t these blocking Google bots? Yes. In this case, Google doesn’t block them but they block Google. No chance your afraid.org-created subdomains will ever appear on Google except… if you contact the owner of afraid.org, Joshua Anderson, with a working website that isn’t likely to get abused.

I contacted the admin of freedns.afraid.org using the email at the bottom of their page (yep, that one for reporting abuses) asking him if he could move my subdomain 4.l.to to the separate DNS set that allows Google access. After some email exchange, and after I made sure my new URL shortener (which is what is at 4.l.to) wouldn’t get abused and would stay around for some time, and also after explaining I couldn’t pay for a TLD (like I explained to so many people on the web…), I finally got that nice blue “G” near the 4.l.to domain on my list of subdomains!

But, this doesn’t mean you are so lucky. You might not get Google access to your afraid.org subdomains. Anyways, afraid.org still seems better than those abused co.cc and cz.cc.

Summing up for one last time…

  • cz.cc website and subdomains not listed in Google’s search results. None of them. Click for proof.
  • uni.cc website and subdomains not listed in Google’s search results. None of them. Click for proof.
  • co.cc website and subdomains not listed in Google’s search results. None of them. Click for proof.
  • co.nr is listed on Google, but I’m not sure it will be listed for much time until Google decides to kick them out too.
  • dot.tk is listed on Google, but a) I’m not sure for how much time that will remain that way; b) I have had a bad experience with them and c) they point some of the high-traffic domains to pages with sponsored links in order to make money from the visitors you gathered – not nice.
  • freedns.afraid.org is free, stable and has not much abusers (if any), but they block Google access and you must ask the admin personally to let Google go your website’s way.

I hope you have liked this giant blog post! Hopefully it will be of some use to those looking for free domain services. Now the only problem will be getting people to this blog post, because this website is (like all the other .cz.cc websites) kicked out of Google’s search results. (Editor’s note: not anymore since I got myself a .com domain)


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