Google's Hyves PageRank Loophole? Check If Site Has Google Penalty

Jan 20, 2009 • 4:48 pm | comments (14) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google PageRank & Algorithm Updates

Marcus Tandler blogged about a discovery in a German SEO thread at my old time friend's forum named ABAKUS Forums (translated version over here), about a weird loophole that seems to allow you to check if a site is penalized or not, via the Google Toolbar.

Let me show you how it works. Here is an example.

(1) Open a browser that has the Google Toolbar installed, with a PageRank feature. Navigate to (as an example) and see the PageRank value is a 5. Here is a screen capture:

Google PR Hyves

(2) Change the URL to and notice the PageRank value jumps up to a 7. Here is a screen capture:

Google PR Hyves

Now, what is going on here. According to the consensus in the thread, there are three values you can get from doing this:

  • PR7 = No Google Penalty
  • PR4 = Google Penalty
  • PR0 = Site Banned in Google

What would be Google's rational in having this loophole? I really don't know. How can this be overlooked by Google? I am not sure. But everyone is in agreement that this loophole will be gone, soon enough.

Forum discussion at Sphinn and ABAKUS Forums.

Previous story: Daily Search Forum Recap: January 20, 2009



01/20/2009 10:58 pm

Very interesting, I would have to agree as I spot checked some sites that I know have penalties and some that have been banned. Quick, check your sites before Google closes this out!

Akos Horvath

01/20/2009 11:14 pm

6pm it worked 6:12 is gone. My domain is a PR2 but under Hyves it showed a PR5. What ever that means... ten minutes later I could not replicate it. Just for curiosity's sake does anyone care to give me an interpretation? thanks!


01/21/2009 12:03 am

All my sites showed as a PR7.

Michael Martinez

01/21/2009 04:07 am

If it really worked as advertised, this event is a classic example of how people in the SEO community sacrifice an advantageous piece of knowledge for a few worthless links on blogs.


01/21/2009 04:44 am

This is lame. Quite lame. You can put in anything instead of the wwww of a website and get a different pagerank score. Meaningless.


01/21/2009 05:36 am

Doesnt work at 11:36pm cst


01/21/2009 06:38 am

It worked for just one minute and boom its gone, I got PR-7 too. How did ya find that initially..?


01/21/2009 09:45 am

this does not seem to work anymore, however there are traces that it did work. if you put a random word before any domain then the pagerank is N/A. if you put hyves before any domain then the pagerank is 0.

Barrie Adams

01/21/2009 11:25 am

Like Google make it that easy for us! I couldn't replicate it and wouldn't trust it anyway.


01/21/2009 01:59 pm

Hmmm, something fishy with this whole thing. Anyone clicked on the cached version that Google displays when doing these searches? Looks like someone is trying to get the word out about a new Social Media Platform. Ya, that was a pretty sneaky way to do it too.


01/21/2009 02:37 pm

"Looks like someone is trying to get the word out about a new Social Media Platform." It also appears that I need to get out more often in this Social Media space. Hadn't really heard of Hyves until this topic came up. How did they get the cache redirect for those queries?

Gabriel Gayhart

01/21/2009 05:50 pm

Nice you guys got PR juked. Great viral tactic, I got 2 emails about it this morning - and it's nothing. Pretty lame assumption. But you know what they say about people who make assumptions :)


05/06/2009 11:54 pm

Great technique. I will try it out and see what sites have received penalties. John Chow's site have I believe.

Sean Mullins

07/14/2009 01:47 am

Maybe I'm missing something, but wouldnt changing the www to something else result in a 404 unless there was a DNS setting for this?

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