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Hosting Company Steals Links/PR?

A major hosting company, Aplus, caught 'cloaking' client pages

10:57 am on Apr 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I'm not a techie, and am only a part time webmaster, but the situation seems to be that they insert 3 links to their own site from customer pages when Googlebot calls, but not when the sites are viewed through a browser.

The webmasters are totally oblivious to this activity. Up to 17,000 web sites may be affected.

I took around a couple of hosting boards as well. The little secret seems to be out well and truly now.


[edited by: Brett_Tabke at 2:53 pm (utc) on April 23, 2004]
[edit reason] we don't do specific sites or specific pleas [/edit]

12:57 pm on Apr 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Is this not important to people? I must admit that I am surprised at no comments in this thread.

If I was a webmaster into SEO I would be really horrified to read this. If I was Google, I'd be taking out the hosting company in question immediately.

1:10 pm on Apr 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Erm no the subject will fascinate people here for sure.

However that does not mean they will all publicly comment.
Apart from that there is the time issue.
I would guess US site visitors are now having their much needed beauty sleep (no insult intended only humour) and Europeans busily trying to earn the money to pay their bills. The task I am about to return to myself.

I expect there will be interest, debate and or moderator action.

A good find your post.
Not good for the company concerned however, nasty folks that they initially from this seem to be.
I wonder if this action is specified in their tos?

2:51 pm on Apr 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

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First, we don't do specifics on WebmasterWorld and we don't do nark/pleas to search engines (eg: spam reports), and we don't do posts put intentionally in the wrong forum to side step system policy in the Google forum on the above.

Whew - that's 3 strikes.

We simply don't know the story. We do know the solution - get a new host.

5:03 pm on Apr 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Could be a business opportunity. Find all the backlinks to the host, check to see if they are in the actual pages. If not, you have a cloaked page.

Then contact all these people, show them what their hosting company is up to, and offer to host their sites.

OK, that's a wee time consuming... :)


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