Google has lifted the penalty which they slapped on Overstock.com in February, reports the Wall Street Journal. The CEO of Overstock.com, Patrick Byrne, was quoted saying, “We understand Google's position and we have made changes to remain clearly within their guidelines.”
During the penalty period, the loss suffered by Overstock.com was “a 5 percent drop in sales and 32 percent loss of organic traffic.” The reason for the penalty was that Overstock.com was “offering discounts to students and faculty in exchange for links on coveted .edu sites.” which was in violation of Google's search guidelines. Prior to Overstock.com, Google had also penalized two other sites earlier this year. In January, this year, NY Times reported that JCPenney was penalized for link schemes and in February, Forbes too was also penalized for PageRank manipulation.
However, now with the chastisement over, Overstock.com is reported to be back on Google's Page 1 for a couple of searches (laptop computers and vacuum cleaners) for which it had dropped to pages 5 and 6 on the search engine.
Patrick Byrne surely must be relieved to see Overstock crawling back to its former position on Google. For others, this – “should be a reminder that your rankings can go away at any time, so try not to rely solely on a third-party that you can't control”.