Is it at all possible to submit a subdirectory with a 302 redirect to google, which would cause Google to index the real site AND the 'problem'.
Example .htaccess: (if I had a /widgets subdirectory on my site)
Redirect 302 /widgets http:// the competitions URL
If this subdirectory was submitted to Google could this cause two sites to be listed? I've had this done to one of my sites and now the backlinks went from 300 to Zero - all of the backlinks show for the page with the subdirectory redirect.
Is this a Google problem with 302 redirects, or a new method of S.pam? Has anyone else had this problem?
302's present problems. I've seen on a site with a 301 from one domain name to another that the same backlinks show for both, though it's the one that the second is redirected TO that's the real site and shows up in rankings.
That isn't the case with 302's. When those people got the second domain, which was for type-in traffic that was being lost, I said to make SURE and do a 301. They didn't - they had the registrar point it. It had a 302, which I found only because I check out frequently, and the *real* site got dumped all over the search engines and the domain name that was "pointed" (which had belonged to someone else and had different content which was put onto another domain - and LOADS of links) was the one the search engines had showing up. It was a mess until they did a 301.
Do your inbound links point specifically to that subdirectory? It'll take someone more tech-savvy than I am, but I'm wondering if there's anything on your site you can do to get around what they're doing.
If it's being done deliberately to cause harm I'd be inclined to dig around to see if they're doing anything else dodgy and report them, explaining it and including the whois information.