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Cloaking based on referrer

 2:39 pm on May 26, 2011 (gmt 0)


Can I display different versions of a page based on http referrer without risking ban?

What difference between the two versions would be acceptable?



 1:07 pm on May 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

Anything not deceptive to the user would be my guess, not baiting and switching content.


 9:46 pm on Aug 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

I've been running http_referer based cloaked page for more than a decade for a competitive area as part of a test of this very question. Result: no problems; top ranking.


 10:18 pm on Aug 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

Be aware that many legitimate visitors do not present a referrer - the data is suppressed by some ISPs, by some "internet security" software, or by user choice (browser settings).


 11:19 pm on Aug 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

That's good, isn't it? It means that the version seen by robots will also be seen by perfectly legitimate humans. If all humans had referers*, the no-referer version would only be seen by robots-- and that would be a problem.

* Which they wouldn't anyway. What about bookmarks and type-ins? Those should be the visitors you love the best.


 10:03 am on Aug 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

getting slightly off-topic, but...

email clients and non-browser web apps such as twitter apps won't send a referrer.

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