Why I suspect I'm on some sort of 'shadowban list' with Google. (Initially I thought this was just me being paranoid, but in light of the #GoogleMemo story exposing some of the internal culture and practices at Google, as well as the 'great YouTube demonetization' and increasingly open YouTube censorship etc., it no longer seems paranoid to me - rather, it corroborates my suspicion.) It's a slightly longish story. I'm an AdSense publisher, and at a stage we were getting relatively good income from ads on some of the websites we've created over the years, but several years ago, ad revenue suddenly dropped to basically zero - we were simply blocked and banned, no explanations, nothing. It lasted months, and I did quite a lot of enquiring on Google sites, and it was impossible to get answers, but I did get some feedback on some of the AdSense forums that 'you've definitely been targeted by someone at Google, and there's nothing you can do about it' - the experienced/larger AdSense folk were basically telling me that straight. I had been making public comments (e.g. on blogs, Twitter etc.) that were critical of some of Google's business practices*, but thought it was perhaps paranoid to connect the two. After some months our ads were unblocked, but since then, ad revenue has only been a fraction of what it used to be. Also, our websites were downranked and got much less traffic.... prior to this I used to always be the #1 top result searching for my name, and since the AdSense ban, have only ever been consistently somewhere on page 2 (on various other search engines like Bing, I am still the #1 result), still I thought, OK 'probably just algorithm changes or something'. If I make comments on YouTube they usually get 0 likes, and I have actually recently now confirmed and seen with my own eyes using a separate YouTube account comments I post being invisible from the other account. (I have actually also seen this on Twitter, I sometimes get short shadowbans on Twitter and I can generally tell when it happens, but it's usually temporary eg after several days impressions etc go back to normal ... on Twitter I have also seen what seems to be shadowbanning 'with my own eyes'. That's separate to Google though.) I get basically no views on my YouTube videos but that could be because they're boring, OK, though where I have been streaming on LiveEdu.tv my videos have received over 15,000 views, so again a discrepancy stands out. My website awStats also show basically no hits coming from Google, whereas there always used to be some clear percentage coming from Google.
I know there's nothing 'concrete' in there that I can point to, Just a sort of vague sense of suspicion from various different things that overall give me the sense, but my mind always then says, probably being paranoid. Or used to, until recently.
* I had also been posting other things that I realize now are considered 'wrongthink' at Google, e.g. some posts critical of feminism etc. Also maybe worth mentioning, some of our biggest sites were also in a way 'competition' to some Google Translate services they were introducing, so perhaps it was a competition-stifling thing. I don't recall the exact chronology of things. I have made online comments that they'd consider 'wrongthink' though. I don't know.