Dear Google, I'm Blocking You From My Website

I have pretty strong opinions about "dark patterns" on the web. I hate obtrusive advertisements, 3rd party trackers, anti-UX modals and pop-ups, hidden data collection - the list goes on and on. I understand *why* these practices have been implemented over the years, but I still hate them. Now, we have Google's AMP.

AMP at a glance

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) as described by Google themselves:

AMP is a web component framework that you can use to easily create user-first websites, stories, emails, and ads

If only it were that simple.

The original article by lucb1e (Google banned from this site for foul play) that inspired this blog post mentions several great reasons on why not to use AMP. I highly recommend reading that post, it’s short and straight to the point. I’m not going to breakdown every issue mentioned, but instead focus on a couple main ones that resonated with me most.

What can we do about it?

I think the default attitude of most users is to assume defeat when challenging a powerhouse like Google. It might seem like an uphill battle, but every tiny step away from them helps. We as independent web users and developers can make a small difference.

1. Block Google from crawling your websites 1

A great point made by lucb1e at the end of his blog post:

I therefore encourage everyone else with personal, non-profit websites to implement this [blocking Google]. As fewer results of such not-for-profit websites show up in Google Search, competition will be reintroduced to the search market.

If you feel inspired to do the same, simply add the following to the head of your pages to stop Google from crawling your website:

<meta name="googlebot" content="noindex">

Optionally, you can look into adding a robots.txt file to your website.

2. Use a different search engine

Stop supporting their search if you disagree with how they implement placement of AMP sites over non-AMP. The worst thing you can do is be upset with their tactics, while at the same time giving them your time and money.

Google is a search engine, not a gate keeper

Google already has far too much impact over the open web. With AMP, they are stretching their greedy hands into the pockets of independent users and companies by essentially controlling their websites. Having an attitude of “our way or the highway” has no place on the web. That was never the intention of the Internet.

Greedy hand grabbing money
Google is championing "open source" and performance, while seizing control of the open web. Don't be fooled.

Google needs to stick to being a solid search engine instead of trying to be gate keepers. I promise you in the long term this will not end well for them. I feel as though users are already becoming more proactive towards keeping their independent freedom on the web and these shady practices implemented by Google will not survive.

It will take quite a while before I associate any form of “trust” with Google again. Until that day comes, I will keep blocking them from displaying my website in their search results. I prefer the web open and free.

Footnotes

1 At least until they rework or remove this AMP program