Hello, I’m Mr Invisible. Mr Invisible after a bit of a weird week, no less.
On Monday I was going to show a friend of mine at work what my blog looked like. So I opened up Google, typed in ‘1537’ and got … precisely nothing*, normally I show up about fourth or fifth. So I then typed in ‘1537 Blog’, with exactly the same result and then ‘1537 jatstorey blog’ which threw up some links to me from other websites, blogs and forums. Odd. When I got home I tried searching Google images as I rank quite highly there, there’s not many of us beavering away night after night making Judas Priest Lego, but still nothing at all. To verify things I called up some Canadian reinforcements and it was all true, 1537 and Google were no longer friends. I’m not a big stats watcher but it did then occur to me why things might have been a bit slow for the last week or so – I had effectively become invisible.
A bit of experimentation led me to find that Bing and Yahoo still liked me, which was a relief. Then I had to work out why I seemed to have fallen out with Big G. To do this it seemed like I needed to verify jatstorey.com with them, so I needed to set up a Google account that I didn’t really want. Then I tried, and completely failed, to alter my DNS server thingys so it could verify my ass. I just couldn’t do it. I mean I’m pretty good on PCs but I just couldn’t get the beastly little things to do the necessary. It was also 1:30am on a work night by that point and so, crying tears of pure man rage I went to bed, doing my best not to wake up the fearsome troll slumbering therein.
By dint of some hard work and study I sorted the verification problem out two days later**, all by myself. Then my troubles began …
Google had taken what is termed a ‘Manual Action’^ against me, because they had 1537 down as a spam producer, featuring all manner of dodgy links off site. Now I don’t recognise myself, or my award-winning blog^^ in that context at all. WordPress checked it out for me and I have nothing but praise for how good and how quick they were by the way, and even Google’s own transparency test showed I was clean. I also spent an entire evening clicking around every single link on my site to see if anything had been substituted and used Google Fetch to see if my blog had been ‘cloaked’ (a stealth technique developed by the Klingons and used primarily for concealing their battleships), or ‘Shadowed’ (similar but built by Romulans), with no results. Then I submitted a ‘Reconsideration Request’ to Google – this can take weeks apparently.
A) This is all some horrid algorithmically devised mistake and I’m the victim of a terrible injustice.
B) I have an enemy out there (the CD Producer’s Guild?) who has/have deliberately used his super villain powers to fuck my site up (Mike is a fan of the super villain theory)
C) Google just can’t handle the fact that someone so Welsh can be so Goddamn funky and fresh and/or they are jealous of my family and I because we pay more tax than they do^*
D) The NSA shut me down because THEY JUST CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH about my views on the Cramps and Jean Michel Jarre!
But whichever is true it has left me feeling like a twig in the wind and really rather despondent and demoralised. With all due respect to other search engines, when was the last time you said to someone ‘Why don’t you just Bing that?’, or ‘I’m sure that’s what it said when I Yahoo!ed it’, I am effectively invisible on the wider net now. How will rock stars stumble across my brilliant, pithy reviews of their best efforts from 25 years ago now? How will I attract new handmaidens to join my love cult? It hasn’t really fired me up to do very much on my blog this last week.
But I am very happy you’re all here. If I wasn’t afraid to blow my ultra macho hard-man-of-Lego-record-reviewing image I’d say it’s what makes me carry on, but I am, so get lost!
Have some music from a true original, another who will be sadly missed:
640 Down (still).
*well, a good few hits on Tudor England, Bigod’s Rebellion against Henry VIII being my all-time fave event from that year.
**well that and outsourcing the problem completely to a friend who works in IT – thanks Mark!
^not to be confused with something beloved of teenagers when their parents are out.
^^voted ‘Best Blog Featuring Lego & Swearing Operated By A Welshman’ 3 years running.
^*just kidding fellas, just kidding.