Direct marketers spend a lot of time and money building websites that show up high in Google search rankings. The range of practices to build their sites ranges from the merely annoying (emailing people begging for links) to the Google-outlawed (paying for links from sites with high pagerank). It's a tedious and painstaking process to become the site that comes up first when you search "gourmet gift basket for mom," and once you're there, that ranking is worth a lot.

AllThingsD highlighted an Inc Magazine piece on what happened to GourmetGiftBaskets.com when Google wiped the company from its index: that single move cost the small enterprise $4 million.

When Ryan Abood looked at the books for his parents' New Hampshire flower shop, one number popped out. Without a bit of advertising, sales of gift baskets had grown 400 percent.

For a year and a half, he worked a hundred hours a week to make his spinoff, GourmetGiftBaskets.com, into the third-largest player in his niche. Then, one day, he woke up to find that Google, the source of 80 percent of the company's revenue, had banished his site from its search results.

Read the full story at Inc.