It started with an email I received on the afternoon of March 3rd, 2006, originally sent from Google URL Console email@example.com to the webmaster email address for ardvaark.net.
The following urls/messages have been removed. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you do not approve:
Excuse me? I had never made any request to google regarding that URL, and in fact that URL had been rendered invalid when I moved to the new Samus a month before. I don’t really care about the photos, but … was somebody spoofing requests from me? I had never even heard of this Google URL Console, so it seems unlikely I requested anything at all from it.
So I sent Google an email to email@example.com, as per the instructions in the message I had received. I almost immediately received the following response:
Thank you for writing to Google. We’d like to assist you, but we only respond to messages submitted through our online contact form. Please visit http://www.google.com/support/ to submit your message, and we’ll get back to you soon. We apologize for any inconvenience, and we look forward to hearing from you.
Regards, The Google Team
Thanks a lot, Google. Tell me to email you, and then tell me to get bent when I do. Fine. So I submitted the same message via their web-based contact form. A few days ago, I received this emailed response:
Thank you for your note. We apologize for our delayed response. Please be assured that there’s almost nothing a competitor can do to harm your ranking or have your site removed from our index. Your rank and your inclusion are dependent on factors under your control as a webmaster, including content choices and site design. Only someone with administrative access to your site can complete the removal process.
Google follows standard web protocol in not crawling sites with specific instructions in their robots.txt files. We also do not crawl pages that use meta tags to restrict access by robots. For more information about using robots.txt files and meta tags, please visit http://www.google.com/remove.html
If you haven’t yet used the Google Help Center, we encourage you to come visit. We’re always working to provide the best possible user experience, and we’re pleased to put all of our help content at your fingertips. You can browse our Help Center to boost your Google IQ or search for the answer to a specific question. You’ll also find a quick way to send us additional questions or comments. To check it out, please visit www.google.com/support
Regards, The Google Team
Well, it’s good to know they think the system is secure. Big surprise. I still have no idea why I received the original message, so if anybody ever figures out this mystery, please drop me a note.