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Lesson for content thieves
Could come back to bite you on the...
Marketing Guy

 1:37 pm on May 8, 2012 (gmt 0)


Don't think the media have picked up on it, but it looks like a quickly turned around voucher site populated with scraped content / affiliate feeds.

Unfortunately for the guy who did it, he grabbed a press photo mockup of what Madeline McCann would look like now (she went missing in Portugal several years ago - presumed kidnapped) and used it as an image to promote holidays...

The press are jumping on it like it was a sick attempt at marketing. There's some cries of linkbait from SEOs, but doing some homework on site and it looks like the SEO/webmaster is from China, so probably just grabbed a random photo of a kid from Google images without looking at where it came from in great detail.

Regardless, it's already made the national press in the UK and I wouldn't be suprised if it starts trending on Twitter soon. The otherwise crap domain (loads of spammy backlinks from dead blogs, press releases, etc) now has a bunch of legitimate links (BBC for example) - will be interesting to see how Google handles it.

Also, valuable lessons aplenty.



 2:14 pm on May 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

Valuable lessons indeed. Apart from the instinctive "yuk" reactions, one key issue is bandwidth. The site just cannot cope with a surge in "popularity".

While it is linked from elsewhere, the BBC merely cites the site in question- though many will copy-paste.

A very interesting case-study to look at going forward.

Marketing Guy

 2:25 pm on May 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

Somewhat karmic as well considering they've lifted several design and copy "ideas" directly from Digg and then fell victim to the worst possible Digg-effect...


 2:29 pm on May 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

Right. Right now:

It ranks approx 5th for its money term. (Flushed, anonymous from UK location)

Not in top 100 for its "#2" term from Alexa

60+ for its #3

While there may have been an immediate ranking boost, I don't think it will have been significant yet.

Also from Alexa:
Global Rank: 471,106
UK Rank: 70,433
Rep: 483
Reach: 3 month 0.00031 / 1 month 0.00021


 2:48 pm on May 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

this guy is either a PR genius, or a PR idiot.

obviously its in bad taste, but it can easily be explained away as an accident, after which he's got a bazillion backlinks and acres of press coverage.

it's just a picture of a smiling kid (from the screenshot on the BBC site). he can easily claim ignorance of who it is.

Marketing Guy

 2:57 pm on May 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm thinking if the site was anything more than a throwaway affiliate site, the owner would have done more with it than just crap, lifted copy,non-liscensed images, blog comment vspam and dull dual-branded spam press releases.

So, genius, no. Idiot? Probably not either - most likely just unlucky when it comes to searching for images for "little girl Portugal" or something.

Massive trademark issues with the use of Digg, the little Digg logo and colour scheme though, not to mention issues with the holiday firm getting their lawyers on the case. And possibly some attention from search engines via the SEO angle and chatter?

Links aside, that's a tough situation to turn into a positive and I don't think many people would want to try. Perhaps one of the few times in SEO where "ethics" is an appropriate addition to the discussion...


 5:52 pm on May 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

Domain Registrant Address is a UK University dorm.

My first thought on reading the BBC article (before coming here) was that it was a 16 year old with an affiliate site.

I don't think I was far off...

Robert Charlton

 6:58 pm on May 8, 2012 (gmt 0)


The server definitely isn't keeping up with the site's new "popularity". It's essentially unreachable. WhoIs indicates that the site is hosted by GoDaddy....

1 other site is hosted on this server...

Website Title: vouchers,voucher codes,discount codes vouchers,discount codes,promotional codes - voucherdigg

I don't think this title had been drawing in many click throughs, if it ranked.

will be interesting to see how Google handles it.

I'm not sure what we can learn, because it's not likely to get any links relevant to its target keywords.

(In the following, I'm using the actual domain name, as the press has used it so many times that we're not going to skew results. I am trying to avoid exact searches but nevertheless discuss them.

I'm almost seeing results change over a 10 or 15 minute period. At first, when I searched for [voucherdigg], Google asks "Did you mean: voucher digg"... but it didn't rewrite the query and it returned the site as #1.

When I added any of the keywords in the title apart from "voucher" to the query... eg "promotional codes"... the ranking of the site itself dropped slightly, to about #3 or 4.

I'm now seeing another set of results creeping in for the query [voucherdigg], where the results are displayed for the two word query [voucher digg], and I need to correct the search to get results for the query without a word break. For these queries, voucherdigg.com is still ranking #1

But now, with promotion code added to voucherdigg in the query, the site's twitter feed is #1, and other tweet report sites and some apparent mashup sites have pushed the mother site, voucherdigg.com, down to #6.


 7:55 pm on May 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

aren't you supposed to get a boost when people talk about your "brand" these days? i dont think it has to be an actual link anymore. even straight text will do, if google can recognise that its definitely your site they're talking about.

voucherdigg (all one word) is all over the net at the moment. presumably that is enough to turn it into a "brand", regardless of how many actual links he gets.

i can understand how google can devalue backlinks (because they might look spammy, paid for, or automated). but devaluing a conversation must be a lot harder.


 8:41 pm on May 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

I've seen this report.

I was wondering if its deliberate or not. If he is at university, say 18 he would have been 13 when the poor child - left alone by the parents - disappeared.

<deleted rant on parenthood />

Be interested in what "cheap holidays in portugal" pulls up.


 8:47 pm on May 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

ha ha

Pulls up a news item on the site.

Robert Charlton

 9:58 pm on May 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm seeing cheap holidays in p return a news story about the site, but nothing organic for the domain itself.

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