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February 22, 2012

Google critic Daniel Brandt takes all of his sites offline

Google critic Daniel Brandt, the proprietor of Google Watch and Scroogle, confirmed today that he has taken down the latter site – and possibly the former as well – “forever”:

Scroogle, the search engine operated by privacy militant and self-appointed Wikipedia watchdog Daniel Brandt, has folded for real. After enduring DDOS attacks “around the clock” that sent a flood of unsustainable traffic to his servers, Mr. Brandt took down the search engine along with his other four domains, namebase.orggoogle-watch.orgcia-on-campus.org, and book-grab.com. His theory is that he was being attacked by hackers with a personal vendetta.

“These four domains had also been on the web for a long time — NameBase first went online in 1997, and before that had been available on telnet since 1995. I spent 27 years developing NameBase,” he said in an email, and referred to the Wikipedia page.

“I no longer have any domains online,” Mr. Brandt wrote. “I also took all my domains out of DNS because I want to signal to the criminal element that I have no more servers to trash. This hopefully will ward off further attacks on my previous providers.”

Unfortunately, since Brandt has deliberately excluded all of his sites from the Internet Archive (which can be done using a robots.txt file directive), there isn’t a copy of his site out there that we can link to for archival purposes. Which means all of Brandt’s criticism of Google is effectively gone, except for what may remain in search engine caches and privately-created mirrors.

While we can respect Daniel’s wish to go dark, it would be nice if he would be willing to donate his collection of web pages to a university, consumer watchdog group, or other appropriate steward that they remain available to people who want to learn about Google’s war on privacy.

Google Watch was one of the first sites established devoted principally to criticism of Google. It ceased receiving substantive and regular updates several years ago, but it was still a valuable resource. Unfortunately, it has now disappeared.

With Google Watch gone, LGB’s existence has arguably become more important. Leave Google Behind isn’t going anywhere, either. This site will remain online and accessible indefinitely so that those who wish to part ways with Google and find alternatives to its spyware-laden offerings can continue to do so.

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