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)

2007′s internet communities seen by xkcd

I enjoy reading xkcd in these times I’m bored without anything to do, but at the same time, not willing to shutdown the computer. So basically, I get to xkcd, and go hit the Random button until it is so late that it’s mandatory to go to bed (in order to wake up soon early to still catch users from “distant” time zones online). I tend not to read the comic very often so the “Random” button still delivers me some unseen comics (hey, I haven’t seen all 900+ comics yet!).

Today the “Random” button delivered me a comic from Spring 2007. Its number is 256 (heh! the amount of MB the VPS that runs this blog has of guaranteed RAM). Here it is, click to see bigger:

I'm waiting for the day when, if you tell someone 'I'm from the internet', instead of laughing they just ask 'oh, what part?'

Look at how much has changed to nowadays. To make this map more actual, I think Facebook and MySpace should swap positions. Orkut would need to be smaller (unless you’re considering only the accesses by Brazilian people, and even that is decreasing). We would need another fairly small island for Google+, and a bigger one for Twitter. Second Life would disintegrate.  Sourceforge island would get smaller and an island slightly to the left of it would accommodate GitHub along with smaller islands for all the recently-born git-hosting websites.

Other interesting point is, The Icy North would get smaller (global warming? 🙂 ) and the Mountains of Web 1.0 would be renamed to Mountains of copy-cat Web “2.0″. And let’s not forget, the IRC isles would certainly keep the same size or even be bigger, but they would be much more idle and abandoned (IMHO a island for dead/98% idle IRC channels and users should be created, and another one for malfunctioning IRC bots).

And as I am really jealous, I’d also like a small island for this blog on the Blogipelago.  🙂

The “Gulf of Youtube” would get an island on the middle divided between Next New Networks, sorry, I meant YouTube Next Lab and Audience Development Group[¹] and VEVO (size based on watch count). And etc. This is just my view of the actual www vs. 2007′s www. You certainly disagree with me in some points. But, there’s something you must agree: in four years, the web has changed so much, and we only notice when we look back with wide open eyes and mind.

Now go read xkcd. Or go outside getting some Vitamin D (not really possible at the moment of writing of this post, as it’s midnight here).

[¹] I could write an entire, long blog post with my critic, perhaps skeptic, thoughts on the acquisition of Next New Networks by YouTube. Instead, let’s abbreviate and simply say that before, they were a successful independent project, now, they’re Google.

GrooveMobile, a Grooveshark client for Windows Mobile that I like

I have a small (512MB!) SD card for extra storage on my HTC Universal (running Windows Mobile 6.1). Most of that is full with applications and photos. Conclusion: I have no place to put my music collection, which wouldn’t fit in 512MB whatsoever. So, I started to think about streaming music to the phone… the best streaming service I know, that works on my country, is Grooveshark, but simultaneously I knew there was no free, official Grooveshark client for Windows Mobile.

Some Google searches after… I found GrooveFish. GrooveFish was supposed to be a free Grooveshark client for Windows Mobile, the problem was that is it discontinued and really outdated; I downloaded the installer CAB file and installed. But what could one expect, it didn’t work, just hanged when searching for songs.

After another Googling session and some link following, I discover GrooveMobile. GrooveMobile appears to be very similar to GrooveFish, and in fact it is, but the difference is, it occupies some more KBytes of space, and it actually works. By “actually works” I mean:

  • It can successfully search for songs without any hang (provided that your connection is stable and fast)
  • You press a song to the list to add it to the internal playlist of the program
  • It follows the playlist and… ladies and gentlemen, we have sound 🙂
  • Now lets do a quick test that might ruin all this: lets set the Universal to close position (screen facing keyboard) and see if the sound keeps playing…
  • …and yes, it keeps playing with the phone closed! It keeps following playlist and everything. Sweet!

Now you might be wondering, did anyone ask/pay me to write this review? Absolutely not; I found the software, it works well, and I decided to share it with my readers which might have a Windows Mobile phone. Note that the app requires Compact .NET framework 3.5, but unlike many .Net framework apps developed for Windows Mobile, this actually works and doesn’t suck – at least on my device, of course. “Use at your own risk” is another statement that applies in this case 🙂 .

I haven’t tested all the functions of the app, but will do progressively. I’ll keep this post updated. Oh, and don’t forget that this is an application that streams files from the internet, so it consumes a lot of traffic, and we all know 3G data connections aren’t cheap everywhere for everyone 🙂 . Personally, I only use GrooveMobile over WiFi.

GrooveMobile Website

Chrome Web Store

Why do I have the impression that it is starting to be kind of a website-promoting website for the web 2.0?

You see, a bare web service that wouldn’t get otherwise very well known, not very rarely gets hundreds of users once it publishes an app for that service on the Chrome Web Store. Even if the app is nothing more than a link to the website of the web service, it doesn’t matter: as long is the web service is of good quality, it’ll get popular amongst Google Chrome users in a way it would never be as a normal website showing up on Google results.

If these guys doing website optimizations to get more visits aren’t still using the Chrome Web Store as a way to promote websites, they should. At the end, nowadays calling “app” to a website acts as an huge upgrade to that website.

Distinguish between Linux and Windows users and fanbois

Those who say Windows is the best either never tried anything else than Windows or are Windows (or MS) fanbois

Those who say Linux is best for some things and Windows is better for another things have a farily good knowledge and perhaps experience on both systems and moderatedly use each when needed.

Those who say Linux is best and MS and/or Windows is everything of bad that they can invent, are Linux fanbois geeks.

Those who invent defects on Linux (or a distro) which exist no more or are now easily supressed have either never tried Linux, or tried Linux many years ago and had a bad experience.

Those who invent defects on Windows either don’t use Windows for a long time because they have been using Linux for that time.

Someone that doesn’t meet any of the follwing conditions, is a pacific user. :)

Apple and MacOS users are excluded from this post as Apple fanbois are of different matter, something to write on another post.

Now running with WordPress 3.2

This blog was just updated to the version 3.2 of the software that powers it, WordPress. The blog post form the WordPress team regarding this release is on the WordPress official blog.

To sum things up, what this means to my visitors is the end of support for Internet Explorer 6, in order to let WordPress developers and me take advantage of new web technologies.

The admin interface has been refreshed, the support for PHP 4 and older MySQL versions has been removed – nothing that affects this site as I tend to use up-to-date software on my servers.

Do you have a WordPress website? What do you think of the new version 3.2? Comment and discuss!

New Virtual Private Server

I was having certain problems with the VPS luis123456 gave me… and after some personal conflicts with him related to the VPS he gave me (not this one, the other from Hostrail (HR)), I decided to swap it by a different one distributed by freevps.us. This decision was higly promoted by the fact that the other VPS got reloaded again yesterday.

The other, HostRail VPS I’m talking about was the one that hosted s.cz.cc and idoupload.cz.cc, so these services will be unavailable for a while (editor’s note: they won’t be available, for ever). As I got a up-to-date backup of the HR VPS, it will be easier to bring everything back to life.

Specifications for this new VPS:

  • 512MB RAM (1GB Burst/Swap) (higher than the HR one, which was 256MB guaranteed/512MB swap)
  • 20GB disk space (lower than the previous one, which was 30GB)
  • 1TB of Bandwidth (1000GB and not 1024, not that makes much difference), which is much more than the HR one, with just 300GB of BW.
  • SolusVM control panel (the same as the VPs that is hosting this website)
  • Provided by 123systems.net and located in Dallas, TX, USA – So, now I have a UK European VPS and another one located in USA.

I must thank 123systems.net for providing this VPS to freevps.us. In fact, a VPS with half of this specs costs $3.00/month according to their website, so my VPS is worth $6.00/month or more.

Hopefully, soon I’ll have s.cz.cc (URL shortener) and idoupload.cz.cc (image hosting) back to life soon (Editor’s note: not anymore), on another and hopefully more reliable server. Not that Hostrail is bad: it’s just that my VPs was inside luis123456′s VPS, and he rebuilt and shutdown my VPS as he wanted. Now things will be different, I hope.

Websites asking for full name, web security experts say don’t

Some time ago, I wrote on my other blog, written in Portuguese, that Facebook was wanting all users to provide their full name as the profile name – a position understandable in certain ways, but these people that keep on telling us the risks of the Internet tell us “don’t. providing your full name on the web is dangerous”. So, what should we do? Stop participating on the Internet’s biggest social network (as of 22/06/2011 DD/MM/YYYY), which by the way, I don’t like (hate), but it’s where all our “friends” and family are “connected”. Stop participating on many other websites of interest? Bah… better provide your full name and sacrifice the “security” the “web experts” say you have by not providing it.

(Noticed the quotes on the word “connected”?)

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

Oh, and by the way, that thing of  ”Alternate name” doesn’t allow me to put gbl08ma, it says it contains invalid characters (!).

Apart from Facebook, the web’s (and real life)  giant Google now also wants us to provide our full name on their mini-social-network +1, where you can recommend pages to other users. When I tried to provide my webname “gbl08ma” as my profile public name, that will be visible to everyone, see below:

 

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

Independently from being dangerous or not, providing our full name is not always necessary, so why should we? If we don’t, however, we aren’t exactly following the terms of Facebook, Google’s +1, and all those sites on the Internet (it’s not only Google and Facebook; I’m presenting those as an example because there are some of the biggest websites) that ask for your full name to be publicly visible – one thing is when your data is not going to be visible to nobody other than the site’s administrators and people of the same or more permissions as the admins, other is when it is asked to be part of your public profile that’s visible to everybody.

At least, on twitter I’m still able to put gbl08ma or just Gabriel as my screen name 🙂

Google marked this site as malware – Chapter 2

Nowadays, people who visit my (this) website will find that it is being marked as malware by no feasible reason, again – see the first chapter here.

I repeat, this website has no malware or other harmful content. Feel free to scan it as you can, with all the bots you can, I can even give you a read-only SFTP account for you to see there’s no malware in here. Only Ubuntu Server with Apache, PHP, MySQL, with this blog running on WordPress and some free (as in speech and as in beer) licensed fonts in Rockbox format for download.

I have just request Google another site review. This time, instead of writing a long letter explaining everything on the comments box, I sum up everything on a single sentence with the most important data in capital letters (not that I like using capital letters all the time, but having to way to format, I had to do it this way):

It’s the second time Google marks my website as malware, although I HAVE NO MALWARE ON THE SITE AND THERE NEVER HAVE BEEN any malware or harmful content there. Please make sure this DOESN’T HAPPEN AGAIN or I’ll start to think that there are enough reasons to blame Google with its malware advisor tools that mark a site as malware just because it uses a .CZ.CC DOMAIN!

Yes, because I still believe these malware traces Google bots find are due to malware found on other .cz.cc sites and servers. Please, but please, don’t make me switch to a uni.cc domain. I have no money to pay for a formal top level domain name (.com, .net, .org, etc.), even more if the site in quesion is this personal blog which has no (z-e-r-o) revenue.

Here’s a proof screenshot of Google’s classification of my site and review request:

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

And the confirmation from Google:

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

What do you think? Has this ever happened to you? Do you know of a solution, or at least something that can minimize the problem? Have your say on the comments!

EDIT (right after posting): Google also marked another site I have on another server as malware. This one is also a .cz.cc domain, s.cz.cc. I’ts my new URL shortener. I have a message for Google (and a rhetoric question):

Google, STOP! You are killing lots of .CZ.CC websites, many of them have NO malware! This is censuring inoffensive parts of the web! Or… is that your goal?

EDIT 17/6/2011: I’m not the only one suffering from this issue. Lots of people are too. Acoording to stats, this blog post is getting lots of hits from people searching for “cz cc malware”, “cz cc malware banned” and similar. There are people on “Google Help Center” forums complaining about this. How many hours, days, weeks, will it take for the issue to be solved?

EDIT 2 17/6/2011: Good news, at least for this domain, as “said” by Google Webmaster tools on this website:

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

“A review for this site has finished. The site was found clean. The badware warnings from web search are being removed.” 🙂

Ubuntu updates are killing me

OK, not really. But I thought it’d be a great title for this post.

This is a personal opinion/story post and won’t help you much if you came here from a search result page, while looking for a solution for a problem on your Ubuntu installation. If that’s your case, don’t waste more time reading this post, as probably it won’t help you (but you might find your situation similar).

For those who don’t know, I use Ubuntu on my main desktop as the main OS. Yes, I know how to work with Microsoft Windows, but I don’t use it much at home.

The problem in my case, I think, comes in part from having a lot of packages installed due to the fact that I have both Gnome and KDE installed, although I never use KDE nor its apps. Sometimes, some conflicts with the package updates appear, specially because I have packages from PPAs and other unofficial repositories.

Since the release of Ubuntu 11.04, which I won’t update my PC to too soon, Ubuntu updates manager keeps bothering me about a “partial update”, that basically would just update my Ubuntu 10.10 install to a semi 11.04, something I don’t want. I hate these package updates. I know it won’t install Unity and set it as default Desktop Environment, but still, I don’t want to have a half-10.10-half-10.04 Ubuntu specially when such updates will delete for sure certain “mods” I did to my install like the custom bootsplash, the mintmenu (yes, it was on the list of packages to remove with the partial update), and the custom repositories and PPAs (now you know why I put “mods” between quotes, it’s because these really aren’t mods).

Well, I ended up doing the “partial update”. I lost the Linux Mint menu, obviously, but not the bootsplash. Now you ask, if I was so bothered about updating, why did I proceed? Because I eventually know I’ll switch to another Linux distro soon.

Fedora was a possibility, but since I saw the new version, it’s out of the list. Reason: it brings Gnome 3 and it’s basically a copy of Unity, so now I’m hating both of them: Unity for being a copy of Gnome 2 with flashy effects, a dock, and other MS-Windows-7-style “innovations” that would make sense in a tablet or mobile phone, or even an interactive coffee table, but that I hate having on my desktop –  it’s just not productive; and Gnome 3 for being a copy of Unity – or is Unity a copy of Gnome 3? Doesn’t matter: I find either of them unproductive and too eyecandy, to not say that I need two or more clicks to perform an action that on Gnome 2 I do with one click: for example, switching from one window to another (fortunately, they have kept Alt+Tab!).

Seeing as I’m very exigent with the Desktop Environment of the distro I use, perhaps I’ll just stick with this Ubuntu and its malfunctioning updates… well, if I weren’t lazy, I have the knowledge to fix it, but it’s simply too much work, I repeat, I’m lazy…