Overstock: Google Loves Us Again, But We Won't Say Why

Two months after being demoted in Google's search results amid accusations of link farming, Overstock.com said on Monday (April 25) that Google has lifted the penalty. "We understand Google's position, and we have made changes to remain clearly within their guidelines," Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne said. In fact, that's all he said—Overstock won't explain whether the problem really was links from a discount program aimed at universities, as was widely reported, or exactly what Overstock did to make nice with Google again.

Also missing was any word on Tarazz, the shopping Web site in Singapore that Byrne blasted in February for being part of the problem, saying Tarazz had created 3.5 million links to Overstock's site. Two months ago, Byrne went on at length about how the Tarazz links were unauthorized and stated that Overstock had sent cease-and-desist letters to stop what he called "sabotage." Now Byrne has clammed up, and Google won't talk specifics about the case, so we may never know if Tarazz mattered at all. But one thing's for sure: These days, clicking on the Overstock.com link on the Tarazz site brings up an "Under Maintenance" screen—and nothing else.