Hi my site unfortunately had an unsecured image gallery, which a spam bot got hold of.

The image gallery is long gone but I still get the spammer bot hitting the page, over a year later. I'm assuming they're getting the links to the image gallery via search engines.

The link to the image gallery was still in the Yahoo index, over a year since its removal from my site.

Anyway, I've managed to get the link out of the Google and Yahoo index, Ask.com is next on the list. Ask.com has recently re-indexed my site but has still got the old links in it!! They picked up the new links but didn't remove the old ones.

I've searched the web master help at Ask.com but there doesn't seem to be any information on how to tell them to remove old pages from the index.

Anyone had any success with them?

Other steps I've taken:
- The long gone link is now redirected to 410 (resource gone) although its currently coming up as a 301 redirect in my access logs, I can get it back to 410 if anyone thinks it will make a difference.... possibly if the crawlers see the 410 to the image gallery they'll delete it from the index? One can hope.

Thanks any assistance!

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I wouldn't care about Ask. They're going out of business.

I wouldn't care about Ask. They're going out of business.

I understand that Ask.com is not an important search engine.

However, a spammer is finding my site via their index, so I want it removed from the index.

So I'm still looking for an answer.


No ... I don't mean they're not an important search engine and are probably going to go out of business soon. I mean they actually have already announced they are going out of business and they just finished a massive layoff. That might be why they're not being so receptive to you.

Thanks. That is interesting market information. However I expect the search engine will most likely be sold off to the highest bidder so I doubt its going to disappear within the next 3 to 4 months.

Yahoo and Google provide automatic methods to remove links from their search engine. So far, all the information I've found indicates that Ask.com don't provide an automatic or manual method to remove links from their index.

Does anybody know how to remove, or have removed, links from the Ask.com search engine index. Alternatively, does anybody have any suggestions in this regard (such as, does anybody know if permanent redirects or 410 Gone messages are understood and actioned by the Ask.com crawler). Or would robots.txt be a better way to do it?

Looking forward to any appropriate intel.


Also ... AFAIK, every major browser supports robots.txt. If ask.com were smart enough to keep their head above water (oh wait, they're not) then they do as well.

They are under new ownership and are completely redirecting their search function to be geared towards women over 30. (which means your site will probably be unindexed, anyways.)

Usually when a spider encounters a 404 page though, they will remove it from their listings anyway.

( http://www.seroundtable.com/archives/016458.html )

They're not under new ownership. IAB has always owned Ask. They've just decided to ditch their results and start anew ... now with rumors that they'll be using Google results? Heh!

Usually when a spider encounters a 404 page though, they will remove it from their listings anyway.

Thank you, that is useful information. Can you point me to an article/document that would confirm that behaviour. I've had a quick Google and can't find any such intel.


Sorry cscgal, I'm confused. Why are you posting these links? I was specifically asking rixius about his post on search engine handling of error codes, these articles are about Ask.com going out of business? Interesting, but not really relevant here.

Do you know of any articles that talk about how search engines handle error response codes?

Oh, sorry :) I glossed over where you quoted rixius. I know for sure that Google deindexes 404 error pages. You can also log into Google Webmaster Tools (with a Google account) to deindex any specific URL. I haven't had experience with it, but heard that Yahoo! has a similar program to Google's webmaster tools.

Sorry, don't know anything about Ask.

I know for sure that Google deindexes 404 error pages.

Third time lucky: Can you, or anyone, point me to an article that talks about Google (or any other engine) de-indexing 404 pages?

cscgal, I think you glossed over my OP too... I already know about those tools, as discussed in my OP. Google, Yahoo tools used to good effect already.


You can instruct us not to include content from your site in our index or to remove content from your site that is currently in our index in the following ways: ... Remove outdated pages by returning the proper server response.

More specifically, http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=64033&ctx=sibling

Cool. Excellent, thanks very much for that. Very useful!

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