Google swamps Australian university's server

The astronomy department of Swinbourne University suffered an effective denial-of-service attack after Google spotlighted mathematician Gaston Julia's birthday

Having your Web site listed in the top few returns of a Google search has long been recognised as one of the best ways to attract visitors. But what if your site is effectively listed at the top of every Google search?

The astronomy department of Swinbourne University experienced that on Tuesday when Google ran a special logo celebrating the birthday of mathematician Gaston Julia. When users clicked on the logo, they were taken to an image search page for the terms "Julia" and "fractal".

However, two of the most popular images were on a server at Swinbourne University that subsequently failed when it was "swamped by requests". The server was made functional again only by moving the Web pages to a different location.

The Web page put up to explain their disappearance asked the following questions:

"Should Google ask permission before potentially sending huge traffic loads to a single page/server? Should they regulate traffic to individual sites/pages by changing the order of the search results?"