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Yahoo Search Engine and Directory Forum

How Possible is it for a Competitor to Sabotage Yahoo Rankings?
What Symptoms Should I be Looking For?

 3:21 pm on Jul 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

We have recently lost all our rankings in Yahoo, and also recently recieved an email from one of our competitors stating, in cryptic form, that they were responsible.

I should point out that we don't use any blackhat or any other questionable SEO tactics, so I don't quite know how they could have caused this. But I can tell you that every single keyword that we had is gone.

Does anyone know how they could do this? And what can we do to get our rankings back? We've done the email Yahoo thing, and well you all know how effective that is.

Any help on this would be appreciated.



 8:14 pm on Jul 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

webhound, In the last few days my Yahoo rankings have just started to fall back into place where they were up until about a month ago, not all but some.

My domain had been submitted to a directory NOT by me but by a competitor you can bet your life on it. This particular directory was showing my content for almost every one of my key word searches but with their URL in the cache. (The 302 redirect issue we have all read about) Everywhere I looked this sucker was on my back like a leech.

I have had problems with this in the past but this one was really killing off my rankings, it must of been a dupe content issue, what else could it be?

Luckily and I mean very luckily the directory owner was very apologetic and removed the offending link right away. I did ask him for the email from his records for the person who submitted my domain to his directory but he said he didn't have it so that was that.

Point is that was blatant sabotage, there was absolutely no other listings in this directory that were remotely similar in content, so it wasn't randomly picked out of the SERPS it was submitted 100% by some 3rd party. (That answers your title question)

Have you checked all of your KW target's in the SERPS for your content but with someone else's domain? Or even a unique sentence from your content will usually show anything un- toward.

Sorry If I'm stating the obvious here, IE you have already checked that out but there's always the possibility you haven't :-)


 4:06 am on Jul 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

I thought Yahoo had fixed the 302 Redirect issue by treating any 302 Redirect that pointed to a different domain as if it were a 301 Redirect.


 5:17 am on Jul 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

It's been fixed, afaik.

My domain had been submitted to a directory NOT by me but by a competitor you can bet your life on it...This particular directory was showing my content for almost every one of my key word searches but with their URL in the cache.

Don't bet your life that it was a competitor. More likely it was the directory/scraper owner. Scraper sites make their sites look like directories.

If someone pays to submit to a directory there will be a trail. That sounds like either a scraper site or someone was deliberately cloaking your site.

In either case, afaik, Yahoo fixed that issue a while back.


 12:44 pm on Jul 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

You can have other people's websites easily removed from Yahoo! search.

Simply by stating a claim of copyright infringement has been filed with regards to the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA - [copyright.gov...] you can have a competitor or innocent site dropped entirely from Yahoo! search.

All it requires is a personal malicious complaint, or else get some low-paid foreign worker to stick their name on the DMCA report against another site - and, voila! - instant hand removal from Yahoo! of the entire contents of the targeted website.

Heck, let's forget malicious - after all, misunderstandings happen. Perhaps you blogged about another site and quoted a section, published their headlines via RSS, or simply had their trackback on your site when they blogged about you - now what is to stop the person you quoted from misunderstanding application of "fair use" or how blogs work, and filing a DMCA complaint against your domain to Yahoo!, thus completely removing it from the Yahoo! search index?

Even worse, Yahoo! doesn't think it has to tell you about your site being delisted. Maybe you'll just wake up one day and wonder where your referrals from Yahoo! have gone. And if so, don't expect to ever get any answers anytime soon.

It's a system that is open to abuse, and can be easily used to punish targeted webmasters and business owners because:

1) Yahoo! will not check the validity of DMCA complaints,

2) Yahoo! will not inform the webmaster/site owner of the copyright complaint against them,

3) Yahoo! will not even make a public report to a body such as chillingeffects, whom Google refer their DMCA complaints to for public reference,

4)A webmaster will be unable to get a response from normal Yahoo! search channels as to the reason why their site is suddenly not listed in Yahoo!

5) A webmaster who finally discovers that a DMCA has been filed, will be unable to learn what that complaint is, and generally faces a continued communications blackhole, and inability to rectify the matter.

This presents a remarkably simple method for removal of third-party sites through malicious reporting.


 7:44 pm on Jul 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

Yeah we've checked everything and couldn't find any tracable evidence towards the competitor or anyone else for that matter. And we heard back from Yahoo with the standard, don't count on Yahoo algorithmic search results for traffic to a commercial site. Duh we know that, thats why we are a "platinum" member of Yahoo Search Marketing. They didn't even take the time to answer the question in our initial email, if we are unknowinly doing something wrong, please tell us so we can correct it. That was completely ignored. So clearly emailing Yahoo doesn't work.
I don't think we have any DMCA issues, as we are a commerical site with very unique widgets. And don't we have to be notified of this by the issurer?

More importantly does anyone know what we can do to get these ranking back, or at least get some one at Yahoo to take 5mins to look at the situation? You think they would with all the money we give them every month. Very frustrating to say the least...

Any help would be appreciated.


 11:11 am on Jul 16, 2005 (gmt 0)


Sounds like we are in the same situation. Since the recent Yahoo update on the first of the month I have seen my clients website rankings completely disappear from Yahoo SERP's . Previously were positioned very strong there for years.

After looking into this further I took snippets of text from the client website and tried it in the search. It retuned many scraper websites using 302 redirects to link to the client. I checked the competitors targeting the same keywords and see that none of them are being attacked using this scraping/302 methods. I have to think this is effecting the search results as they apply to the client. The client has not dramatically changed their website, all though they do add pages here and there like any website looking to keep a fresh standing in the search engines. You can even try typing the client name into the search at yahoo and have all most all scrapper website SERP's returned.


[edited by: martinibuster at 4:54 pm (utc) on July 16, 2005]


 1:10 pm on Jul 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

Webhound: Just to clarify the issue here, when you say
" one of our competitors stating, in cryptic form, that they were responsible."

.. did this party actually imply that they had sabotaged your Y ratings?
.. or are you possibly reading things into this that ain't actually there?

Its really important. Much more so, keep perfect unaltered copies of all emails.
I'd like to hear how this all turns out. -Larry


 12:51 am on Jul 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

Simply by stating a claim of copyright infringement has been filed with regards to the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA - [copyright.gov...] you can have a competitor or innocent site dropped entirely from Yahoo! search.

OMG, so now i see how one of my sites died in Yahoo! i just couldn believe it it dropped from 900+ listing to 2! wow ....


 2:12 pm on Jul 18, 2005 (gmt 0)


Yes they actually implied. They also suggested they are just getting started. ie. Google and MSN next.

A tad concerned I am.


 6:19 pm on Jul 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

My experience with Yahoo responding to claims of copyright infringement has been completely different from that cited by a poster above.

This past three weeks I have had an issue with a Yahoo-sponsored site that was displaying whole pages of my site text verbatim. Far from it being a simple matter of just notifying Yahoo of this situation, Yahoo made me practically send them an affidavit about it. This was even though I had already sent them two emails and a letter iterating one by one every single instance of word-for-word infringement, the location of the infringement, where it had been taken from, a signed assertation that I was the true owner of the copyright, etc. Yahoo still did nothing whatsoever until I emailed them that I would be contacting a lawyer about Yahoo's foot-dragging and that I would be charging Yahoo rent of $1000/day for my text they were allowing to be shown without my permission. Only then did they take down the page, NOT the whole site.


 7:18 pm on Jul 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

Far from it being a simple matter of just notifying Yahoo of this situation...

It is NOT a simple matter. You have to file an official DMCA complaint. I've never had to file one with Yahoo or MSN because filing one with Google usually gets the offender to take down my content from their website.

Yet even with Google you have to make specific legal statements before they contact the other party. This is a legal action, an informal letter will not suffice.


 9:17 pm on Jul 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

So no one knows if its possible to intentionally mess with a competitors rankings in Yahoo then? :-)


 7:02 am on Jul 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

"They also suggested they are just getting started. ie. Google and MSN next."

Obviously, you should see a lawyer about this. While the lawyer - or law enforcement - might be able to get them to say something they'd really regret I wouldn't suggest trying to do that on your own.


 1:08 pm on Jul 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

Yeah we are in contact with a lawyer about this and some other issues with this competitor.

But again, I wonder how a search engine could allow a competitor to sabotage rankings. If this is possible it would/could open the flood gates on this sorta thing... Love to know what they did to cause this.

And you would think that Yahoo would be more helpfull in this situation. Especially given the fact we are a "platinum" sponsor. The contact we have had with them regarding this situation has been extremely unhelpful. Makes us want to stop our bidding in Y! and dump everything into Google and other ppc programs. Sigh... lol


 3:23 pm on Jul 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

Holy shiz when I do a linkdomain: in Yahoo I have new in-links but my listings dropped a lot. I was top 10 for several niche terms in Yahoo that were dominated by an SEO that had made like 20-30 domains per product he wanted to sell. I had no links into my site from anyone and I was gaining great listings by virtue of unique content. Then all the sudden this SEO points about 25 domains at me with links to my content on his pages. None of these domains have PR in Google and all of them are crappy generic affiliate scrapper sites with affiliate links all over them. Now all my listings are dropping in Yahoo and Google and this guy is laughing all the way to the bank. Yahoo is being manipulated by scrapper sites still. I had no in-links on a brand new domain that had great listings for months and now I have 50 or more inlinks all from scrapper sites with no Google PR and tons of competitor links. I can only conclude that someone has figured out how to knock competitors off of Yahoo's top ten by simply linking to them with known scrappers automatically associating Yahoo's BAD WEBSITE filter with your web site by virtue of a link. In addition all the whois records for these unscrupulous sites are proxy. This smells like bad fish LOL. Any ideas how to beat them at their own game?


 9:54 am on Jul 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

Before this last update, we were at the top listings of all our keyword phrases. We also lost almost all our pages in Yahoo's listings. I hope this is not something that becomes common place.

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