Remember the CO.CC free subdomain service that we mentioned last year? CO.CC is not only free, but also shares a resemblance to some ccTLDs like co.uk. As a result, it is commonly abused by spammers to create fraudulent and/or malicious sites.
A few days ago, it appears Google has had enough. Doing a site search for co.cc returns absolutely no results, not even the main website. Google has removed the domain and all subdomains from its search results.
Matt Cutts (head of Google Webspam Team) posted the following on Google+:
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.
The Google Online Security Blog also posted the following a few weeks ago, talking about bulk subdomain providers:
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.
This move by Google doesn’t come as a surprise to me, however there are lots of CO.CC users who created legitimate sites from the service. There are even users who paid an annual fee for their “premium” subdomains.
It is unclear whether this is temporary or permanent, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this is permanent, similar to how the .tk free TLD is completely blocked from signing up for Google Apps Standard.
If you’re trying to build a legitimate website, buy yourself a professional domain and avoid these problems completely. Domains cost less than what you probably pay for your internet service.
Are you a user of CO.CC? What do you feel about this? Are you planning to switch to another service, upgrade to a TLD, or just keep using CO.CC? Share with us in the comments.