Google Shuts Down John Hempton's Bronte Capital ... Why?!

[Update: By the way; here is John's latest post (that caused the shut down presumably) nicely tugged away in the Google cache.]

[Update 2: Bronte Capital is back online. I will leave it to John to explain the what and how of this. Nice to see swift reaction no doubt due to John himself pushing hard in the background, but it still begs the question of why the heck it was pulled in the first place.]

[Update 3: Here is Google’s Rick Klau who picked up on Felix' post and commented in the comments section. 

We don’t go into great detail about what triggers a takedown, for the very reason you mention: we don’t want to make it easy for spammers to game the system. That said, we also have a number of protections to avoid precisely this situation – before I document what those are, I’ve asked the engineers responsible for maintaining them to explain to me why they didn’t work. Generally speaking, there were a number of indicators for John’s blog that should have very easily avoided any false positive spam classification – and I’m trying to find out how/why those got bypassed.

Rest assured that this is an internal bug – not any external players gaming our abuse reporting to try and take down John’s blog.

John – for restoring access, we actually met just ahead of the holidays to go through several ideas about making the resumption of service for legit blogs caught in a false positive situation (like yours) more seamless. Your idea is quite similar to reCAPTCHA ( – a service Google purchased in 2009, and one which we will be incorporating into Blogger in Q1. Glad we’re thinking along the same lines.

So, I might have jumped the gun on Google here, but I am not totally convinced that it had nothing to do with John's most recent post.]


I really don't have time for the details here, and the details are actually quite important in this case. However, since this is about a blog (on Google's blogger account) written by fund manager John Hempton which is shut down exactly, one would presume, because of these details I really cannot oblige you (yep I can, see below).

Felix Salmon, however, provides the gist of the situation and I fully endorse his points and arguments. On a personal note, I have semi-regular contact with John and I know his blog quite well. The idea that it should be spam is absolutely nonsense. Google has a big problem here! But then again, this is Felix' point too.

Here is to hoping that the situation is rectified very quickly by Google (and preferebly with an apology too).