Has the Google antispam search employee Matt Cutts site been hacked or is is just an elaborate April Fools day prank??? Update 3rd April - Actually - it was an elaborate April fools day prank.

April 1st is an ideal day for hackers to deface websites. The question is always present - is it an April 1st prank, or is it for real.

In this case, I considered that it was for real - Matt Cutts did it so well. None of the site’s pages are able to be found. Compare this to what another well known blogger Jeremy Schoemaker did with his website shoemoney April Fools - he had a new front page that only showed the first time it was accessed. The rest of the website was unaffected.

Another interesting part is that the people who allegedly hacked Matt Cutts website, also defaced their own website. They attributed the defacement back to Matt Cutts. I didn’t think that Matt would have been defacing websites, nor do I think that the Dark SEO Team would allow someone to deface their own site and keep it up for that long. “Allowed” in the technical sense that surely blackhats would be rather careful with not allowing their own sites to be hacked.

There have been a number of forum comments around the web - Harvey Kane was first to let me know Has Matt Cutts been hacked

There are forum comments on Digitalpoint - Matt Cutts hacked, webmasterworld - Matt Cutts says April Fools

It is interesting that Matt Cutts has only just updated his wordpress blog to the latest version (31 Mar 07). The best way to lie is always to give the story a good lead up. Far more convincing that way.

If any lesson is to be learnt, we need to make sure that database driven sites are backed up. Just that little harder than files to back up.