Overstock.com gets Google parole, vows to turn life around

Company banished in February to search-engine Siberia for gaming system

Online bargain shopping site Overstock.com has paid its debt to Google society.

Two months ago Google found out that Overstock.com had been persuading college websites to link to its pages in return for offering discounts to students and faculty. As the Wall Street Journal explains, "Sites associated with educational institutions, which come with a ".edu" in their Web addresses, are said to be given priority by Google's search algorithm."

(Imagine using the hard-won reputation of citadels of higher learning such as this for your own greedy, commercial endeavors? Oh, wait, that particular "Ivy-League quality" institution has its own problems.)

This kind of search trickeration is against Google' policies, so Overstock.com was banished from the top pages of Google search results -- the exact opposite of what Overstock's sneaky program was supposed to achieve! (Quick, someone Google the word "irony" to see if Overstock's logo appears next to it.)

But apparently all is well again. In a press release Monday, Overstock.com announced that the search penalty enforced by Google has been lifted.

"We understand Google's position and we have made changes to remain clearly within their guidelines," said Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne.

Overstock.com said it used its time away from decent search society to do some deep soul-searching and take several art classes. The company said once it resettles, it plans to study to become a notary public and promises to counsel other wayward sites.

(Also see: J.C. Penney caught gaming Google)

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