How to Remove Information From Google Without SEO or Programming
One of the most common requests via our contact form is from individuals seeking to remove information from Google. Yes, this is a piece of what we endeavor to accomplish via our online reputation management service, but in many cases the individuals requesting assistance simply won’t be able to afford a specialized agency like us, so here’s a brief primer on some ways to accomplish the task that anyone can do. I am purposefully leaving out the more complex methods that require programming or search penalty knowledge (that’ll be another post that I promise to publish).
Let’s first assume that you’re in a similar situation with some of the people contacting us – there’s a negative article ranking for your name and you want it off the web. Where to start?
The first few ways to get information removed involves simply reaching out to people via email and phone (do not overlook phone – it is very effective). Don’t have the contact information? If you have names and/or titles, LinkedIn + Fullcontact exist to make your life easier. Since getting information is more effective for ORM than suppressing pieces via flooded positive ORM or even negative SEO tactics, it deserves as much of your time as you can provide.
1. Contact the editor/writer
For whatever reason, I’d say less than half of the people looking to remove a negative piece of information from the web get this far, but it is the most obvious. Is the piece libelous? Threaten legal action. If it simply unfavorable? Suggest an edit that makes the story better – just be prepared to support your edit request with data (and sometimes money). Is it stolen content? The editor should be amenable to your request; if not, it may be purposeful and you’ll need record of your attempts later.
2. Contact webmaster / tech team
If the editor and writer are unsympathetic to your needs, that isn’t the end of the road for you. In larger media companies especially, the web tech team is overloaded with work. If you can find the right individual via LinkedIn and Fullcontact, you can suggest that for legal reasons the page needs to be taken down. More so than with editors, money assists the process on secondary follow-ups; indicate that you don’t want to proceed with legal action on how [individual named] refused to comply with the removal request, and to compensate for the time required you’ll paypal a one-time fee.
3. Contact host / DNS provider
The employees of the publication haven’t been helpful to you, so now it is time to take your concerns to their host. This is relatively easy information to find. Navigate to http://www.whois.com/whois/domain.tld where ‘domain.tld’ is the website you have an issue with. Do you see the name servers listed (typically listed like ns1.somednshosting.com)? What you’ll want to do is navigate to that last bit of that string, such as somednshosting.com; look for any contact us / abuse type of form and simply list your complaint. Use legalese and list the exact URL you want removed, because usually the process at this point is for the host to contact the webmaster of the domain with a “fix or else” sort of request. Depending on the savvy of the publication, it will either be addressed out of fear or ignored. Some hosts and DNS services do have the ability to suspend service for a variety of abuse reasons, and occasionally they will trigger such action, but not always.
4. Contact Registrar
Many publications self-host and will be able to brush off your attempts to trigger abuse issues, but they cannot escape their registrars. Since you already looked up the WHOIS information you can see where “Registrar Abuse Contact Email” and “Registrar Abuse Contact Phone” exist. Pick up the phone – call in with your complaint. If it is copyright infringement or libel, you have a decent shot at getting the information removed. If you don’t have initial success on the phone, send an email with your compiled information and close that your next step is to follow through on a DMCA request if you’re dealing with stolen content.
Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)
Welcome to perhaps one of the most abused systems in the online world. What the DMCA process is supposed to do is protect rights’ holders; what it really does is make everyone’s lives a mess. Keep in mind that you’ll need some information for each of the requests you file:
- Your full name and contact information.
- Exactly who you are filing against – the company (publication), intermediary agencies (such as the host or registrar).
- Make sure your copyright notice is up-to-date; someone will check this, so don’t skip it.
- Screenshot the blatant abuse.
- Provide documentation on how you attempted to address external to DMCA.
- File the complaints.
DMCA requests do work, but can be slow and inconsistent – unfortunately this means you’ll need to file multiple requests for each Google property or product impacted, the host, the registrar, and the publication. Seem like a lot of work? It is, but it does work. To assist, here are some places to file DMCA requests, at some of the larger online institutions:
|Registrar/Host||Web Form||Phone Number||Fax Number||Mailing Address|
|A Small Orangefirstname.lastname@example.org||Link||678-298-6780||A Small Orange LLC, Attn: DMCA Compliance, 2500 Ridgepoint Drive, Suite 105c Austin TX 78754|
|A2 Hostingemail@example.com||734-527-6565||A2 Hosting, Attn: Bryan Muthig, PO Box 2998, Ann Arbor, MI 48106|
|Aplus.net||ISPCopyrightAgent@deluxe.com||651-490-8496||866-731-8254||Attn: Registered Agent Copyright Infringement, Aplus.net, 3680 Victoria Street North, Shoreview, MN 55126|
|Arvixefirstname.lastname@example.org||707-324-8333||Arvixe, LLC 2500 Ridgepoint Dr, Austin, TX 78754|
|BlueDominoemail@example.com||602-716-5396||781-998-8277||BlueDomino, Legal Department, 10 Corporate Dr., Suite 300, Burlington, MA 01803|
|BlueHostfirstname.lastname@example.org||801-765-1992||Bluehost, Attn: Legal Department, 560 E Timpanogos Pkwy. Building G, Orem, UT 84097|
|CenturyLink||DMCA@centurylink.com||913-397-3427||Copyright Agent, CenturyLink, 5454 West 110th Street, Mailstop: KSOPKJ0701, Overland Park, Kansas 66211|
|CyrusOne||abuse@CyrusOne.com||Customer Service DMCA Abuse, CyrusOne, 1649 West Frankford Road, Dallas, TX 75007|
|DigitalOceanemail@example.com||Link||347-903-7918||Digital Ocean, Inc., Attn: Abuse , 101 Avenue of the Americas, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10013|
|Domain.firstname.lastname@example.org||602-716-5396||781-998-8277||Domain.com, Legal Department, 10 Corporate Dr., Suite 300, Burlington, MA 01803|
|Dotsteremail@example.com||602-716-5396||781-998-8277||Dotster, Legal Department, 10 Corporate Dr., Suite 300, Burlington, MA 01803|
|DreamHostfirstname.lastname@example.org||DreamHost, Attn: Karl Fry, 707 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 5050, Los Angeles, CA 90017|
|EarthLinkemail@example.com||404-443-4365||404-287-4905||Office of the General Counsel, EarthLink, LLC, 1170 Peachtree Street, Suite 900 , Atlanta, Georgia 30309|
|EasyCGIfirstname.lastname@example.org||602-716-5396||781-998-8277||EasyCGI, Legal Department, 10 Corporate Dr., Suite 300, Burlington, MA 01803|
|eHost||281-476-7801||eHost, Attn: Abuse Department, DMCA Complaint, 5005 Mitchelldale, Suite #100, Houston, TX 77092|
|FastDomainemail@example.com||801-765-1992||FastDomain, Attn: Legal Department, 560 E Timpanogos Pkwy., Building G, Orem, UT 84097|
|FatCowfirstname.lastname@example.org||602-716-5396||781-998-8277||FatCow, Legal Department, 10 Corporate Dr., Suite 300, Burlington, MA 01803|
|Flywheelemail@example.com||Fancy Chap, Inc. 1111 N. 13th St #208 Omaha, NE 68102|
|Gate.firstname.lastname@example.org||312-470-0897||Legal Department - DMCA Complaints, 100 North Riverside Plaza, 8th Floor, Chicago, IL 60606|
|GoDaddyemail@example.com||Link||Copyright Agent, GoDaddy, 14455 N. Hayden Road, Suite 219, Scottsdale, AZ 85260|
|GreenGeeks||877-326-7483||5739 Kanan Rd Suite 300, Agoura Hills, CA 91301|
|HostMonsterfirstname.lastname@example.org||801-765-1992||HostMonster, Attn: Legal Department, 560 E Timpanogos Pkwy., Building G, Orem, UT 84097|
|HostPapaemail@example.com||905-315-3455||115 George St., Suite 511, Oakville, Ontario, L6J 0A2 Canada|
|Hostwayfirstname.lastname@example.org||312-470-0897||Hostway Services, Inc , Legal Department - DMCA Complaints, 100 N Riverside Suite 800, Chicago, IL 60606 USA|
|IdeaHost||281-476-7801||IdeaHost, Attn: Abuse Department, DMCA Complaint, 5005 Mitchelldale, Suite #100, Houston, TX 77092|
|InMotion Hostingemail@example.com||Link||310-482-6969||InMotion Hosting, Inc., General Counsel, 4553 Glencoe Avenue, Suite 325, Marina del Rey, CA 90292|
|InterServerfirstname.lastname@example.org||201-526-6605||InterServer Inc, Suite 100, Attn: DMCA Designated Agent, 110 Meadowlands Parkway, Secaucus, NJ 07094|
|iPageemail@example.com||602-716-5396||781-998-8277||iPage, Legal Department, 10 Corporate Dr., Suite 300, Burlington, MA 01803|
|IPOWERfirstname.lastname@example.org||602-716-5396||781-998-8277||IPOWER, Legal Department, 10 Corporate Dr., Suite 300, Burlington, MA 01803|
|IX Web Hostingemail@example.com||614-534-1961|
|Jumpline||800-651-2028||111 2nd Ave NE, Suite 620, St Petersburg, FL 33701, USA|
|Just Hostfirstname.lastname@example.org||801-765-1992||Just Host, Attn: Legal Department, 560 E Timpanogos Pkwy., Building G, Orem, UT 84097|
|LeaseWeb||Link||LeaseWeb, Attn: Jon Frankel, 1900 M Street, NW, Suite 250, Washington, DC 20036|
|Liquid Web||DMCA@liquidweb.com||517-322-0434||517-322-0493||LiquidWeb.com, 4210 S. Creyts Road, Lansing, Michigan 48917|
|Lunarpagesemail@example.com||Add2Net, Inc., Lunarpages Division, 1908 N. Enterprise St., Anaheim, CA 92865|
|Midphasefirstname.lastname@example.org||866-643-7427||Hosting Services, Inc., 517 W. 100 N - Suite #225, Providence, Utah 84332|
|MULTACOM||800-618-4628||MULTACOM, 707 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 400 Los Angeles CA 90017|
|Netfirmsemail@example.com||602-716-5396||781-998-8277||Netfirms, Legal Department, 10 Corporate Dr., Suite 300, Burlington, MA 01803|
|Network Solutionsfirstname.lastname@example.org||904-880-0350||Attn: Legal Department, 12808 Gran Bay Parkway West, Jacksonville, FL 32258|
|One.email@example.com||+44 203 6301299||Two Fountain Square, 11921 Freedom Drive, Suite 550, Reston, VA 20190|
|pCloud||800-371-0235||6750 N. Andrews Ave., Suite 200, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309, United States|
|PowWebfirstname.lastname@example.org||602-716-5396||781-998-8277||PowWeb, Legal Department, 10 Corporate Dr., Suite 300, Burlington, MA 01803|
|Rackspaceemail@example.com||Legal Department, Rackspace US, Inc., 1 Fanatical Place, City of Windcrest, San Antonio, TX 78218 Mail Stop: US 109-2301|
|Register.firstname.lastname@example.org||877-722-8662||Web.com Group, Inc., Attn: Legal Department, 12808 Gran Bay Parkway West, Jacksonville, FL 32258|
|Site5email@example.com||678-298-6780||Site5, Attn: DMCA Compliance, 2500 Ridgepoint Drive, Suite 105c Austin TX 78754|
|SiteGroundfirstname.lastname@example.org||SG Hosting Inc., 901 N. Pitt St Suite 325, Alexandria, 22314 VA, USA|
|SoftLayeremail@example.com||214-442-0600||214-442-0601||SoftLayer Technologies, 14001 North Dallas Parkway, Suite M100, Dallas, TX 75240|
|StartLogicfirstname.lastname@example.org||602-716-5396||781-998-8277||StartLogic, Legal Department, 10 Corporate Dr., Suite 300, Burlington, MA 01803|
|Take 2 Hostingemail@example.com||408-212-0360||Take 2 Hosting, Inc. 1163 S 800 E Orem, UT 84097|
|Verizon Enterprise||DMCA@verizon.com||703-351-3669||Designated Agent for DMCA Notices, Verizon Copyright Department, 1320 North Courthouse Road, Floor 9, Arlington, Virginia 22201, U.S.A.|
|Vultrfirstname.lastname@example.org||Vultr Holdings LLC, David Gucker, 14 Cliffwood Ave Suite 300, Matawan, NJ 07747|
|Web Hosting Hubemail@example.com||Web Hosting Hub, 3629 Sentara Way #303, Virginia Beach, VA 23452|
|Web.com||Web.com Group, Inc., Attn: Legal Department, 12808 Gran Bay Parkway West, Jacksonville, FL 32258|
|WebHerofirstname.lastname@example.org||405-753-9300, ext. 123||405-753-9353||Catalog.com, Inc, Attn: Robert W. Crull, 14000 Quail Springs Parkway, Suite 230, Oklahoma City, OK 73134|
|WebHostingPad||WebHostingPad, Legal Department - DMCA Complaints, 318 Half Day Rd., Buffalo Grove, IL 60089|
|WestHostemail@example.com||435-755-3433||Brian Chambers, Copyright agent, 517 W. 100 N., Suite 225, Providence, UT 84332|
|Wild West Domainsfirstname.lastname@example.org||Link||480-505-8857||480-275-3996||Copyright Agent, Wild West Domains, 14455 N. Hayden Road, Suite 219, Scottsdale, AZ 85260|
|WordPress.com||Link||877-273-8550||415-840-0710||Automattic Inc., 132 Hawthorne St., San Francisco, CA 94107|
|WPEngineemail@example.com||Legal, Attn: General Counsel, WP Engine, Inc., 504 Lavaca, Suite 1000, Austin, TX 78701|
|Yahoo! Aabaco Small Business||Copyright Agent, Aabaco Small Business, LLC, 701 First Avenue, Sunnyvale, CA 94089|
Have other hosts or registrars whom you think we should list? Let us know.
Google Removal Tool
At some point in the process of you reaching out to get content updated to be more to your liking, or outright removed, there will be a somewhat brief opportunity where the website’s cache is inconsistent with the displayed content. If the content is removed or changed, pounce and file a remove URL request. Now, in some cases Google will just temporarily remove the snippet, which can impact click through rates (CTR) and thus on lower engagement the piece drifts lower; in other cases, if the page was removed, this will get it dropped from the index faster.
A final tactic which is less effective than the above approach, but is also one of the easiest, is to have as many of you and your friends to navigate to the problematic query and click the “Send Feedback” link. If the problematic result is listed frequently enough, it may get addressed. This usually doesn’t help much, unless the content you want to remove is also listed in the knowledge graph, algorithmically sourced rich snippets – in this case, they are more keen to act on the “Feedback” link if enough people complain.
If you were hoping for a more technical article, stay tuned, as I’ll return with various ways to drown out, suppress, and shift result sets for ORM purposes.