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Ethical Cloaking

 10:27 am on Oct 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

I've been contacted by someone offering us a way of driving traffic so I'm naturally doing some research and seeking advice on this. I looked at their methods for driving traffic and its based around creating subdomains e.g.


which point to the SEO's server in question. If you click on the link from a Google SERP is redirects you to another page on the destination site which is *relevant* to the original query.


search for "blue widgets"

link returned

click on link. redirects off subdomain into main site ...
e.g. www.buycheapwidgetsonline.com?query=bluewidgets

Ok so thats seemless for a viewer, but when you click the cached result in Google - and *disable javascript* all I see is a page with

"blue blue blue widget widget widgets" etc. with links all over the place, and its definetely crawler food and not digestable by humans.

Now when I questioned them about it - there answer was

"IP or Java redirection are not an issue for search engines as long as the user gets a result that is consistent with his search phrase."

Is this true?



 10:44 am on Oct 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

sounds like spam to me


 10:48 am on Oct 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

smells like spam to me


 10:48 am on Oct 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

I suppose its fair to say if its 'relevant' cloaking, you are *less* likely to get caught and suffer a penalty or ban, but what they fail to mention is: it is against most search engines TOS, most noteably Google.

Make no mistake, as soon as you cloak, there is risk involved and if you decide to do it, go in with your eyes open. The SEO should really tell you of the risk if they are being upfront.

Oh, and even if it is relevant to the search term, be aware that your competition will squeal on you in a heartbeat regardless.


 10:53 am on Oct 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

Thanks - I thought it was me! I've been to loads of search marketing conferences, read loads of posts email etc. I couldn't recall anyone ever saying that this was an ethical means of gaining traffic.

If its not ethical - I'm not going to risk it - especially with the company I work for in a really competitive industry - and competitors would love to knock us off the top slot for the UK's third most searched term (Zeitgeist Sep).

Cheers for the help.


 11:13 am on Oct 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

Everyone is cloaking nowadays, it's just not the old IP or user agent delivery - but you won't ever read about who does it or how here...

I remember when Inktomi added a new IP range. This forum was full of people saying their pages had dropped off their index....

funny that!

'keepin it real, nothing more to say.



 5:44 pm on Oct 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

"you won't ever read about who does it or how here"

<clue>No senior WW members, mods or administrators have (yet) joined this thread.</clue>



 7:05 pm on Oct 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

<clue>No senior WW members, mods or administrators have (yet) joined this thread.</clue>

Being a "senior WW member" does not mean that you know anything more than a "new user".
It only means that you have posted more.
Furthermore there are a number of members that seem to post alot just so they can have the "senior member" status. It's vain and sad, but we often tend to have big ego's.


 8:16 pm on Oct 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

OK, I'll do it! I'm a Senior Member, and I've been successfully cloaking websites since 1997. I use cloaking as a defensive method to protect my copyrighted HTML source code. Defending a copyright is definitely ethical.


 2:23 pm on Oct 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

Aha! So, you are the one that keeps beating my position, just couldn't figure out your cloaking style. :D


 3:03 pm on Oct 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

I cloak too, what I consider VERY ethical... like censoring poison words for adSense where adSense simply makes no sense on it's own. Or reenforcing site themese to google bot, which is obvious to the humen visitor, but beyond the intellect of googlebot.

Keeping it real, benefitng the visitor, completely whitehat, yet still cloaking.



 2:05 pm on Oct 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

SharhinFard habibi,

Ethical cloaking is an OxyMoron

what is ethical about deceiving someone?


 2:10 pm on Oct 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

Welsome to WebmasterWorld Alan, did you read this thread?

I think you might be missing the point in discussion.

Related? [webmasterworld.com]


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