lucy24 - 10:57 pm on Dec 21, 2011 (gmt 0)
rlange, yes, you've got it. Memo to self: try to write in a way that is intelligible to more than 1 out of 3 educated readers. Site C links to site B, and site B most emphatically does not redirect to me :)
I wonder if Google is detecting the duplication and assuming that your mirrored versions of the pages are the original. Because of this, Google Webmaster Tools sees the links on Site C to Site B and reports them as links to Site A via Site B, even if that's not reality.
That was my line of thought too. To a human visitor it is absolutely, unambiguously clear that I'm duplicating someone else's pages. To some human visitors it may look like a vicious parody, but a quick visit to the "real" site will put that idea to rest.
Final detail. The "real" pages could have disappeared any time after last May, because they're targeted towards a specific event. As of a few seconds ago, they're still present, with two changes:
Their human-followable link from the parent site is gone. That happened quite a while ago.
If you request the subdomain name alone, you now get a 403. But if you request any one page by its full name including query string, it's still there. This is a very recent change and I'm wondering if that's what led to google's terminal confusion? I'm also wondering how the ### you do that-- but I don't speak IIS, so I'd better not think about it too much.
Oh, by the way. I threw in the Wayback Machine as an analogy. At some time in the future it may be important to know that this group of pages once existed. And thanks to the Wayback Machine's huge time delay, there's no way of knowing whether they have a record of the pages. If they obey "noindex", they don't.