FCC Home Page Goes AWOL on Google

Google search results for FCC
A Dec. 3 Google search for "FCC" failed to produce the agency's homepage. (Image credit: Google.com)

Anyone searching for the Federal Communications Commission’s home page on Google will have to do some searching.

While that “FCC.gov” home page has typically come up on the first Google search page — take it from a reporter who has Googled “FCC” thousands of times — in the past few days it has not shown up at all.

UPATE: As of Saturday morning (Dec. 4), "FCC.gov" was once again on the first page of Google as the first entry. Google had still not returned a request for comment on why it had been AWOL for several days.

The first page of a Google search for “FCC” brings up the FCC Complaints page, then a “what we do” explainer for the agency, then the Consumer Help Center, and does give a Web searcher the link to the FCC’s Twitter and Facebook social-media presences and Wikipedia entry, but no home page.

A search for “FTC” or “SEC,” by contrast, produces their .gov home pages not just on the first page, but as the first entry. And a Bing search for "FCC" brings up the FCC.gov site as the top entry.

The FCC was checking the apparent omission at press time and Google had not returned a request for comment on why complaints to the agency appeared to be the most relevant result for “FCC” Googlers, or why various FCC subsites made the grade but the mothership site did not.

Also, a search for “FCC documents” — a regular query for reporters looking for the latest actions from the FCC beyond those that make the home page’s news slot, also does not produce the typical “documents” FCC subsite page that provides a list of the day’s actions. Those documents are still available via the FCC’s electronic filing system, but are more difficult to access than a direct link to a documents page.

Google regularly updates its algorithms, by some estimates as much as once or twice a day on average. ■

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.