Thursday, March 08, 2012

Left Side of the Aisle #47 - Part 5

RIP Scroogle

A brief item here to offer an RIP to a website. It was called Scroogle. The name came from the idea that it was a "Google scraper."

Google has been notorious for obtaining and maintaining information about the searches of people who use Google. Google always has been - and remains - an information vacuum cleaner, sucking up whatever it can. Those of us still trying to preserve what online privacy we can were loath to use it.

What Scroogle - which was a non-profit outfit - had done since 2003 was to take a search request entered on its site and send it to Google, "scrape" off the top results, and return them to the Scroogle user. Thus your search would appear to Google as if it had come from Scroogle, not you, so you remained invisible to Google.

Scroogle proudly proclaimed "We don't use cookies, we don't retain search terms, and logs are deleted within 48 hours."

Scroogle began to have more and more trouble with Google after 2010, as Google increasing did what is called throttling, with Google detecting the higher level of traffic coming from Scroogle and blocking its access for about 90 minutes. That is, Google essentially regarded Scroogle as some kind of spambot.

That was a hassle but it was perhaps survivable. What killed Scroogle was a series of DDOS's, or "Directed Denial of Service" attacks where someone, using an automated system, directs so many inquiries at a site so quickly that the attacked site grinds to a halt, drowning in a backlog of still-to-be-answered inquiries. The attacks went on for days on end until finally the owner of the site, Daniel Brandt, pulled the plug.

There are other sites that offer privacy-protecting searches; I've started using one called Duckduckgo.com. But Scroogle was a five-star player. It's passing deserves a bit of notice.

Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scroogle
http://searchengineland.com/scroogles-gone-heres-who-still-offers-private-searching-112275
http://searchengineland.com/scroogle-org-is-gone-forever-says-site-owner-112245

3 comments:

JayV said...

Hey, LarryE, hope you are well. I am always taken by your thoughtful posts (and justified rants). Just to give you an update: Blazing Indiscretions - my blog - was deleted by Blogger in mid-February. I was told the reason was I was a SPAM blog; their automatic SPAM filter through me out. But Blogger stated that there are 'false positives,' whatever that is (sorry for the inconvenience, but that's the way life is). After considerable searching around their site's FAQ, I was able to submit a request to have them review and reinstate BI. I was told by Blogger that I'd receive a reply withing 15-20 hours, but none has come. I don't really know what to do now. I'd like to have BI continue and am investigating other hosting sites for the blog. Happy Spring! - Jay

LarryE said...

Hey Jay -

Thanks for the update. I had seen that BI was gone; I thought you had just decided to pack it in. I'm glad to know that's not true even if it does mean you're in blog limbo.

Keep me informed when and where you reappear, okay?

Good to "see" you!

JayV said...

Larry, right after I'd written you on Friday, I checked my Dashboard and found that I could re-submit my request to bring BI alive. So I did that, and early Saturday morning, I received an answer that Blogger had reviewed BI and I'd won my appeal. (That sounds so judicial!). So I am baaaaaaack! - Jay

 
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