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 http://www.seo-radio.de/ (as an example) and see the PageRank value is a 5. Here is a screen capture:
(2) Change the URL to http://hyves.seo-radio.de/ and notice the PageRank value jumps up to a 7. Here is a screen capture:
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.