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Site spaming to divert traffic

And what to do about it

     
4:31 pm on Nov 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I recently discovered on Google that another site is deliberately using our very specific names to spam away traffic.

They literally have "my company name - my product" as the page title, and it then redirects you to a site not containing this information. And not surprisingly.

I've reported as much to Google, but as it is a very directed and deliberate spam, I'd like to also contact the service that hosts them.

Can I do this?

On one hand, I believe we don't hold trademarks, as such, on the names, but their actions are clearly spamy and directed.

What steps do you think I can take?

7:07 pm on Nov 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member marcia is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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Is there copyright violation, like anything from your site appearing on the redirected page or site? You can check by using viewsource: in IE.

If there's a copyright violation, if their host is in the U.S. (don't know about other countries) you can provide documentation and follow procedures to ask them to take it down. If it's copyright violation there's also a DMCA procedure with Google as well.

It can depend on the TOS of the host. Many have provisions about copyrighted materials or other specifics they don't allow; you'd have to check it. There are generally prohibitions against using your account for sending spam email, but I've yet to see one that says anything about search engines, spam or otherwise.

Unless it's something covered, the only recourse is simply to submit a spam report, forget it and go on from there.

7:14 pm on Nov 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

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AFAIK, you don't have to have a trademark registered to be able to defend it - just a way to show that it was yours first - so you may still be able to get their host to intervene based on the trademark use. Alternatively, you may be able to e-mail the webmaster directly and get it removed - a lot of this type of SPAM that I have encountered is auto-generated and the webmasters I have talked to will happily take the content down once they realize they are infringing on a trademark.
11:50 pm on Nov 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Something like that can do a number on a company reputation. The customer may still be relating any bad experience with that site to your company name. After all, that's what they clicked on. I tend to consider such actions a definite threat. We've spent a great deal of time and money marketing under these names.

We haven't experienced this situation exactly as you have. However, the times I have found people using my company or site name to market their own products, I have immediately sent an email to the site owner, webmaster and the site host explaining the problem and insisting that our name be removed immediately. If not changed, I really will involve a lawyer. We've a very small company and can't easily afford to take legal action, but that situation is too important, to my mind, not to. A legally registered company name would obviously have more recourse so we decided to actually register our site name as our trademark after some attempts by others to use it to market their own products.

 

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