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Damaging Effects of Privately Registered Domains in SERPs
backdraft7




msg:4568900
 1:23 pm on Apr 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

Last night I brought up the topic of Privately Registered Domains (PRD's) on the April GSE discussion.

I'd like to open a new discussion here on the topic of PRD's because I can see that there are clearly two sides to the story. I'm posting here because Google seems to have the biggest problem lately with the proliferation of PRD scraper sites.

As a general observation, I'm see more recent PRD's (99.9%) associated with bad guy scraper sites that rank high in Google. In theory, if PRD's were worked into the algo as a quality metric, it could weed out a large number of scraper or low quality spammer sites that are black hatting their way around the Penguin and Panda, polluting the SERPS.

Using a PRD for privacy is "lazy man's security". They are many ways to register a Non-PRD and still retain your privacy while at the same time keeping your business image legitimate.

How are PRD"s Damaging?
1. They allow the prep to steal your contact without any form of contact.
2. The stolen (images) content is highly devalued when it constantly appears on poor quality sites.
3. When a scraper site hiding behind a PRD is out ranking you by many pages, your site is again being highly devalued in the user's eye, the SE algo however is blind to this fact and is ranking your good quality image content on a bad guy site. You can't argue that the scraper is better quality, because he's using YOUR content!

Feel free to discuss - keep it civil please.




--to mod--

can you please cut the messages out of the April GSE discussion starting with my msg:4568787 to my post this morning? thanks

 

backdraft7




msg:4568787
 1:35 am on Apr 29, 2013 (gmt 0)


System: The following 15 messages were cut out of thread at: http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4560187.htm [webmasterworld.com] by tedster - 1:42 pm on Apr 29, 2013 (EDT -4)


Why can't SE's detect if a scraping site owner is hiding behind a domain with a private registration?
Private domain registrations should NEVER make it to the SERPS. Unfortunately Google is placing them in front of all the legitimate content owners with our stolen content. The few I have been able to track down are coming out of Thailand.

This is like a virus and it's devaluing peoples images when they appear on deceptive sites. It's sickening and Typhoid Mary is spreading the disease. Way to go.

It's costing honest webmasters millions if not BILLIONS in lost income and IP damage.

I will add, it's not just Google either, Bing is having similar issues.
Simple solution: NO PRIVATE REGISTRATIONS IN THE SERPS!

[edited by: tedster at 5:44 pm (utc) on Apr 29, 2013]

tedster




msg:4568804
 3:12 am on Apr 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

Private domain registrations should NEVER make it to the SERPS.

I disagree. There are many powerful reasons for legitimate site owners to protect the privacy of their information. The bigger issue I think is Google allocating appropriate resources to identifying the real content authors.

There's no Google reason that I've ever read for a site to be ranking well for years (or at least months) and then have another newcomer site bump it with a scraped version.

backdraft7




msg:4568808
 3:35 am on Apr 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

There's no Google reason that I've ever read for a site to be ranking well for years (or at least months) and then have another newcomer site bump it with a scraped version.

And you never will.


I'd really love to hear some of those "powerful reason" for hiding the domain registrant.

The only thing I will agree with you on ted is that Google (or any SE for that matter) is not allocating ANY resources for identifying real content authors. It's one of the biggest reasons the serps are such a mess today. Entire site history's exist on Alexa's WBM. I'm sure G collects similar. The data is there and it's generated every single day. Let's not underestimate the power of the system and make excuses for their lack of concern.

At the very least, private domain name registrations should be looked at very carefully and included as a metric when determining quality. I could write an algorithm in 5 minutes that would severely impact scraper proliferation and save a LOT of honest businesses. Failure of SE's to do so, is no different than them throwing up a libelous billboard on a highway that destroys an honest business. They must be made aware of the harm they cause by their lack of action.

Not to wax melodramatic, but: If I see an accident where someone is dying on the side of the road, and I don't stop to try to give aid, that would be wrong, criminally wrong in fact. The thought I'm getting here is that they should not stop to help (or improve their detection of legit authors) because it's simply none of their concern. That's a very inhuman and sad point of view. But certainly not surprising.

diberry




msg:4568821
 5:17 am on Apr 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

Uh, well, I keep my domains private because I'm a sole proprietor and don't want my legal name and home address splayed all over a page anyone can look up. That said, all my sites have contact forms AND the private WhoIs company I use has actual contact info, and anything you send them gets forwarded to me.

As I see it, the problem is not with the private registrations, but with hosts that don't take DCMA complaints seriously. You can pretty easily figure out who my hosts are from my WhoIs, and if you contact them to say I've done something wrong, they will be all over me. My hosts don't allow #*$!, let alone copyright infringement.

No, what Google needs to do is even more simple than what you describe. They just need to make the original publication date a stronger factor in the algo. If Bing can do it, I'm sure Google can.

guggi2000




msg:4568823
 5:34 am on Apr 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

@backdraft7 I understand your point but Privacy Protection is about protecting privacy and not hiding identity. Ideally, there should be an option that enables you to "protect" only your address but showing your real name, similar to a P.O.Box.

Savanadry




msg:4568835
 7:08 am on Apr 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

Simple solution: NO PRIVATE REGISTRATIONS IN THE SERPS!


I agree completely with this - what a lot of spam this would clear up!

I can't see any legit reasons for a business to go under private registration unless they were trying to hide ownership.

Wilburforce




msg:4568848
 7:37 am on Apr 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

Privacy Protection is about protecting privacy and not hiding identity.


It isn't easy to make that distinction in practice, especially when the people who most need to be brought to account are the same people who are most adept at concealing/spoofing identity.

I can fully understand why someone who steals my intellectual property wouldn't want me to know who he is or how to find him, but any change in law or practice that would make it easier for me to find him would make privacy harder to protect.

In my case, however, being able to find an address in Indonesia doesn't make a lot of difference. The main difficulty is that many service providers take a completely "hands off" approach to infringement: "this is between you and the perpetrator, we merely provide him with a platform".

To be fair to Google, anything they host themselves has been removed within 48 hours of my submitting a DCMA complaint, which is a long way ahead of other hosting providers.

Sadly, the best way to protect your content from plagiarism is to write the sort of content nobody would want to copy.

santapaws




msg:4568872
 12:32 pm on Apr 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

I can't see any legit reasons for a business to go under private registration unless they were trying to hide ownership.


not every site on the internet is a business. Many true informational sites have been laid to rest because signals such as that are used. the truth is true mom and pop sites have every good reason not to plaster their details for all to see while many spammers simply use front addresses that are not real. If only we could get back to the days when it was the actual content that mattered not every smoke signal under the sun instead.
In this day of an emerging online community more and more business will be run from home. Do you really want everyone to be showing their home address while spammers use fake ones?

TheOptimizationIdiot




msg:4568878
 12:46 pm on Apr 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

I can't see any legit reasons for a business to go under private registration unless they were trying to hide ownership.

Uh, when I first started in this I didn't use privacy and had people show up at my house looking for a product and they were not the people you want coming over to visit. I went and added privacy to every domain I had later that day.

And, if you say "well get a mail/p.o. box to use" so that doesn't happen, then you're suggesting "hiding", which is essentially the same as using privacy imo.

Seriously, there's not reason to not show sites with privacy in the registration, much for the reason above: If non-private registrations are required, then all you do is expose the honest people while those who are spamming and stealing fake the info and are still hidden, so it really does nothing, except to totally expose the personal information those who are honest, because the spammers and thieves will just find a new way to remain hidden.

[edited by: TheOptimizationIdiot at 12:49 pm (utc) on Apr 29, 2013]

Wilburforce




msg:4568885
 12:56 pm on Apr 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

In this day of an emerging online community more and more business will be run from home. Do you really want everyone to be showing their home address


Most businesses in the UK supplying goods or services that can be ordered online are subject to the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000, which require (among other things) that if payment is required in advance, you must supply your full geographic address. Whether that is your home address makes no difference.

backdraft7




msg:4568891
 1:03 pm on Apr 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

TOI - There's a lots of ways to register your domain with privacy and common sense other than hiding behind a PRD. Use a PO Box as your physical address. I do. Use a Skpe line for your phone, but use your real business name.

-clip out-
Tedster...can we move these posts starting with msg:4568787 to a new topic? I'll start it , then you can C&P these posts, since they are OT.

And Kahn, Yes, there is always a drop in serps, and PRD's are presently one major contributing factor.

chrisv1963




msg:4568929
 3:24 pm on Apr 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

Private domain registrations should NEVER make it to the SERPS. Unfortunately Google is placing them in front of all the legitimate content owners with our stolen content.


I experienced this today also. A couple of my photos, stolen and placed on a website with as good as no written content and 4 or 5 pop-pups when you visit the page. Of course, happily ranking instead of the original. Private domain registration of course and hosting in an Asian country.

Things like this make Google look like a C R A P search engine!

If Google can punish good websites with things like Panda then they should at least be able to:
- Ban pages with multiple pop-ups
- Detect stolen content
- Give a -20 penalty or something similar to websites with private domain registration

TheOptimizationIdiot




msg:4568953
 4:54 pm on Apr 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

Private domain registration of course and hosting in an Asian country.

And a public registration in that situation is going to do what exactly?

Oh, yeah, absolutely nothing, because it'll likely be forged, if it's not forged it'll be secondary name you'll have a tough time tracking down, plus it'll be in a country where you either can't get to or can't do anything, because you're not going to China (or Russia or India) to sue and anything else you can do from here can be done with either a public or private registration.



I can understand you're all angry about having your content stolen and out ranking you, but that's got nothing to do with public v. private registration and everything to do with Google not caring enough to put in the effort to get it right. They don't need to know if a registration is public or private to rank the initially discovered version above all exact/near duplicates and then give people a way to submit their original content before making it publicly accessible.

It's really not that difficult for them to do and they don't need public domain registrations to do it.

backdraft7




msg:4568963
 5:37 pm on Apr 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

because it'll likely be forged, if it's not forged it'll be secondary name you'll have a tough time tracking down,

BINGO!

Google operates on many much, much worse assumptions to gauge the quality of our sites. If this one "fake" ID metric were employed, we could thin the herd fast! Seems like those who are opposed to this idea are folks who currently use private registrations on their sites or client sites. I think this one makes MUCH more sense than the EMD ding. Of course, that's because I'm stuck with 12 years of work under my own EMD. It's a LOT easier to fix a PRD than an EMD issue.

TOI - with all due respect, I have to disagree with your "nothing to do with PRD's". The PRD signature can be "assumed" to be a scraper, hiding his identity. Just like the EMD is already assumed to be a webspammer.
False positives abound in both cases.

If we discuss this openly and logically, perhaps some intrepid Googler will come by here, get the idea and have something to offer at the next "what do we update next" team meeting.

Awarn




msg:4568985
 6:01 pm on Apr 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

Backdraft, do you deal with customers? You ever had the person that found you on the net stop by your business and say hey I have this stuff and I need money and I want you to buy this from me. I have and I don't need the sob story, I don't need the BS. I just want them gone. I personally don't like the situation where anyone (good or bad) can find me or know what I own. Am I paranoid? Yes some anymore. Thats because in todays world you can't trust many people. A consumer is protected in their purchase just fine if they use a credit card. You are getting burnt by a scammer. Trust me, I know how that feels but providing more information that what consumers need is just setting yourself up even more to get further scammed. Might just be a different scam. The only thing I see that really shows the quality of a website is age of the domain. The scraper will come and go but a true qualty website and the business behind it will withstand the test of time.

TheOptimizationIdiot




msg:4568987
 6:09 pm on Apr 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

The PRD signature can be "assumed" to be a scraper, hiding his identity.

But what you're not taking into account is I don't even steal content and as soon as you require public registration I'll start a second company to hold my domains with the same agreement as domains by proxy has, but it won't say "domains by proxy" in the registration info, so now you have your public information that you seem to think will fix something, my sites will still be private and they will still rank, but you still won't know sh*t about the actual domain ownership without a court order.

What do you think, the people who are stealing your content are suddenly going to turn honest and stop because they have to find a workaround to using domains by proxy or some other private registration service?

Your solution of public registration information solves nothing.

It's Google's problem to fix, not a problem that has anything to do with whois info.

moxie




msg:4568991
 6:42 pm on Apr 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

Your solution of public registration information solves nothing.

As stated earlier, "BINGO!"

That's all I need is some crazy showing up at my door, for most likely things totally unrelated to my online business (where my actual name and address is under private registration since I don't have an actual business name and can't get a P.O. box here without one) simply because they're just crazy. All the supposed "solution" of yours backdraft7 does is create more problems, potentially placing lives at risk in the worst case scenario, or even identity theft, all because of this "solution" to spammers?

backdraft7




msg:4568993
 6:51 pm on Apr 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

@Awarn - Use you real business name, use a real email, use a PO BOX address and you won't have those problems. For 10+ years, I have listed all my domains as my real business LLC name with a real, reachable email and a reachable phone line (skype number usually) I've also listed all my sites under the same parent organization. And no, I don't deal with customers on site and have never had someone knock on my door looking for my business, unless their head was shaved, or showed up with a bible in their hand wanting give me their testimony.

@TOI - BH bonus points for gaming the system before it's even a full concept - LOL! Google would mark you a black hatter just for your thoughts. To avoid ruffling your feathers further, let's agree to disagree on this.

Every thing is "gamable". Google throws your business on a map, what's the difference. Use a PO Box. This isn't about gaming, it's about doing the right thing and being honest. If you can't do that and feel the need to hide when you do business online, perhaps that's problem.

How would you hide or cloak your physical building if you had a brick & mortar shop? Plus if all that "out-of-country-you-can't-do-a-thing-about-it" is true, why do they do they waste the money on a PRD? That's right, to hide, and IMHO, hiding is a guilty metric.

I agree, it's Google's problem to fix, I'm simply suggesting one possible method for them to use which could reveal likely bad guys. It's a metric that I THINK should be considered. You are free to disagree.


@moxie - I think you guys need to put on your reading glasses. USE A PO BOX! You'll never have anyone knocking on your door. Also, slap a big NO SOLICITORS - BY APPOINTMENT ONLY on your physical address door, even if that's grandmas basement. I even add a SECURITY by SMITH & WESSON decal on the door. It works.

You really think if you put a physical address in a domain registration that there will be a line of salesmen or crazy Zombies at your door? Put lives at risk? You think nobody can find you now? what planet you be livin on? that's some funny s8&t.

You're all missing the point, (Leosghost too) it's not the physical address, it's the verifiable name, email and/or phone. A single line of contact that should work, in the domain record. Otherwise you're just not that serious about being in business.

Good debate though!

[edited by: backdraft7 at 7:09 pm (utc) on Apr 29, 2013]

Leosghost




msg:4568997
 7:07 pm on Apr 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

You missed moxie's point ..in many countries ( you know that other countries than the USA exist .right ) you can't get a PO box without having a full business registration with all the accompanying overheads..

France is a good example..no PO boxes without being a registered business..

So..you post something that some religious nut doesn't like..and next thing is.. your wife or kid is opening the door to a crazy with a gun/knife/sword..
.

[edited by: Leosghost at 7:09 pm (utc) on Apr 29, 2013]

TheOptimizationIdiot




msg:4568999
 7:09 pm on Apr 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

If you can't do that and feel the need to hide when you do business online, perhaps that's problem.

But that's not the case at all.

I own my domains personally, but the business people interact with has the information people need published for them on the site. I'm not "hiding" who people are doing business with in any way through a private registration, I'm simply keeping from stopping by when they find the registration information, because it's my house.

People don't need to know where I live to do business with a business that has published information online and they don't need to know I hold my domains personally and have an agreement with the business for their use, so having to make the registration information public for some reason would mean I'd have to find another way to do it without giving people the chance to stop by my house where they can't get anything anyway.

And, as I stated previously, the reason I switched to private was people stopping by.

seoskunk




msg:4569004
 7:36 pm on Apr 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

backdraft7 when it comes down to it the spammers and scrapers are well known to the people that need to know anyway, private registrations or not. Whilst there is money to be made scraping and spamming the SE then it will always be there.

Don't get to fixated on it is my advice as these boys don't play nice. You have a site with problems I would concentrate on that and leave the spam fighting to Google.

seoskunk




msg:4569009
 8:27 pm on Apr 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

I love how this is poo pooed over...just forget about it and leave it to Google. LOL! Sure


There are four kinds of people to avoid on the net: the spammers, the hijackers, the scrapers, and those that just will poo all over you. Guess what they all use PRD's.

tedster




msg:4569023
 9:10 pm on Apr 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

It's a metric that I THINK should be considered.

I'm pretty sure - based on public comments even from JohnMu, former SEO - that it's a metric Google HAS considered at a massive data level.

In addition to what's been said above, there's another way to think about it. Avoiding stalkers, both the personal and business types.

backdraft7




msg:4569036
 9:45 pm on Apr 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

@moxie -
1. - I am not "so desperately after" this...
2. - a whois record is for business contact info, not the home address of your children.
3. - USE A FRIGGIN' PO BOX! Can I get that in 72pt text? (if you can't get one, skip that and add a valid email or skype line)
4. - This is NOT irrational,(read what tedster said about John Mu)...but your paranoia IS.
5. - Cowardly content scrapers are not MY problem alone, they're YOURS too!

This has NOTHING to do with my -950 post, so get that out of your head, the site is recovering fine. This is about my finding site after site using my images, ranking all over image search and when I go investigate the site, finding nothing but a dead end contact...then having to rely on a useless PRD record. This leaves us with no recourse but a DMCA.


@SEO - I got a little of that stank on me now, time for a shower.

@tedster - not sure where stalkers came into this, it's about content scrapers. but yeah, I try to avoid them, but they found my site. I surely didn't search them out. My image content was apparently too enticing for them to resist and try to monetize. That's what they are doing.

Bottom, line? the serps are a toilet right now filled with scrapers. And like poo, they are all floating right to the top with your crap and mine.
This idea is merely a suggested metric.

Wow!

I suggest decaf all around.

Awarn




msg:4569052
 10:29 pm on Apr 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

Backdraft you can use a PO Box (I have a few and I have valid emails and phone numbers). But you can contact a post office and they will tell you who the PO Box belongs to. You can use a corporation or an LLC and I can go to the Secretary of States website for you state and look up the principal parties and likely find your name and then track your name right from there or look you up on whitepages and find where you live. And trust me people do go to these lengths. Sad part is people think this is perfectly normal. You get that happening and you get a little spooked.

I have a friend that has a FFL because he collected guns as a hobby. Thanks to the internet somebody listed all people that held FFLs is the US. Now this guy gets several people a week calling or knocking on his door to buy guns and he doesn't even sell guns to the general public. Wouldn't that make you feel real safe.

diberry




msg:4569054
 10:38 pm on Apr 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

Wow.

First: not every website is a business. Some sites, for example, post political views as they try to make the world a better place. These folks are harassment targets already.

Second: do you guys not realize there are a millions ways for the unscrupulous to hide who they are in business? If not private reg, then something else. TOI isn't talking about gaming the system before it's been started - he's talking about doing stuff business already does! You don't even know who you're doing business with half the time in offline life, LOL. Shell companies, holding companies...

Third: not everyone can get a PO box, or afford one even if it is available. Way to silence those people.

Four: some of us run unrelated sites and don't want our competitors or the engines to link them. Using our names or a single company name for all of them links them. Using private registration does not. (And don't come back with "Well, set up a company for each one!" That's a minimum of $800/year in California, and that's just too much to demand for people to "buy" the anonymity that has always been enjoyed by wealthier businesses.)


You missed moxie's point ..in many countries ( you know that other countries than the USA exist .right ) you can't get a PO box without having a full business registration with all the accompanying overheads..

France is a good example..no PO boxes without being a registered business..

So..you post something that some religious nut doesn't like..and next thing is.. your wife or kid is opening the door to a crazy with a gun/knife/sword..


Exactly!

And like I said, even though I'm clearly an evil spammer for using PDR, I have a contact form on every site. It doesn't contain my home address or real name, but it does shoot an email straight to me, and unless you're just a spammer, I answer. I thought Google actually DID ding sitesfor not having that and a privacy page, and that's a far more sensible metric (maybe they should make it count more, too).

Backdraft, I think YOU are the one who needs decaf. Take a step back and re-read some of what you're saying in here. I am not a spammer. Dinging people for PDRs might get some well-intentioned poor folks and rabble rousers offline, or prevent people like me from ever having started up, but if you think for one second the unethical can't find 16 other ways to hide in plain sight without breaking a sweat, you do not know how unethical people operate.

netmeg




msg:4569120
 1:38 am on Apr 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

I'd really love to hear some of those "powerful reason" for hiding the domain registrant.


Three personal protection orders taken out against stalkers who obtained my personal information from domain WHOIS records and who threatened great bodily harm.

1500+ pieces of spam email a day, because I took out my first domain around 1989 or so, and I didn't end up making them private until about ten years ago.

What domains I own and what I'm doing with them is nobody's goddam business but my own. Period.

Blame the criminals, not the technology.

[edited by: netmeg at 1:40 am (utc) on Apr 30, 2013]

Leosghost




msg:4569124
 1:47 am on Apr 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

I agree 1000% with netmeg on this ..always have..always will..she and I may / can /do disagree publicly ( and sometimes privately ) on many things ( and agree on others ) ..but I do not need to know who she is or where she lives...

I'm not some crazy who she needs to be protected from :)..but there are many people who I do not wish to be showing up on my doorstep when I'm not there to "greet " them"..

So neither netmeg , nor anyone else should have to give out anything ( via whois or any other means on their websites ) to let the crazies ( of any ilk ) become a risk to them..

tedster




msg:4569199
 3:23 am on Apr 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

I've cleaned up a lot of personal attack from this thread - clearly a lot of strong feeling. For that reason, I'm locking the thread here and letting the stated positions stand here for information, without the personal fuss.

Just a reminder of the Google Forum Charter [webmasterworld.com], which explains:

Forum Etiquette
Please be...courteous to other members. Posts that are rude, insulting or belittling toward others are not appropriate and will be edited or removed. Discuss the topic, and not other members.


You are welcome to disagree with anyone's ideas. Clearly that makes a more useful discussion for all. Just be professional and businesslike. Harsh personal comments have a way of stopping discussion and preventing others from sharing their ideas -- fearing that they will also be insulted in public.

My best,
Ted

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