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Viewing a cloaked redirect page…

One of the world’s largest Hotel chains using unscrupulous SEM techniques!



6:32 pm on Apr 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I was checking some keywords in one of my clients industries today and came across one of the world’s largest and best known hotel chains using redirects that seem to be cloaked for dozens of very competitive key terms.

The url displayed in the Google SERPS is obviously a search engine friendly url, but when clicking the link you’re directed to another page within the hotel chains site. The “cache” displays the redirected page, but the “snippet” of text or the description text displays what appears to be text from a cloaked page.

Therefore my question is…

Is there anyway of viewing the url that is displayed in the SERPS and not the redirect page?


12:24 am on Apr 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

They are probably affiliates of some travel website and not the hotel chain. I would guess a major hotel chain would not risk their corporate web domain to do something like that with. But, not seeing it makes it tough to say for sure... they might have been sold a different story by a *seo* type.

Most cloakers use simple javascript redirects either meta refresh=0 or use a trick with iframes to show an alternate page over what was spidered. You can see those with active scripting disabled in the browser. Some now are using server side redirects that hide the affiliate tracking codes. I haven't tried it yet, but it would be interesting to use one of the browsers that you can change the user agent to Googlebot/2.1 and see what you get. Of course they might very well be redirecting based on i.p. which can also be spoofed, but very illegal I would think. Most cloakers out there don't have anything really sophisticated and are home based operators running basically redirect servers out of their home dsl lines with some program they bought into across the internet.


9:11 am on Apr 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thanks for the reply idoc. The thing is though, it's not an affiliate site trying to sell hotel rooms as if they were the hotel chain. The url showing up in the search results is:


That's what made me think, "wow" to myself, this is seriously dodgy stuff on behalf of "hotel chain", as you simply don’t expect the big boys to get involved with this sort of thing. Then you click the link and it will redirect you to:


Is there no way of viewing the first URL without getting redirected?

<added>Don't worry, I can see the page in Netscape 3 without getting redirected</added>


1:34 pm on Apr 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Sounds like some pretty sloppy stuff to me. Technically, if there is a visible redirect happening, it isn't cloaking, but it does go against Google's terms of service. Hint hint, nudge nudge.


4:08 am on Apr 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


I think I know who you are talking about. I came across a hotel chain that has two companies one "group" is associated with gambling. How I found this was tracking 404's from my server logs. My day job sites are financial sites nothing to do with gambling or hotels, but I am seeing 404's in my sites logs from Yahoo ink spiders that have i.e. "really/unique/url.shtml of which I have no such pages. If you paste this unique partial url in Google it returns only pages indexed from a web and media promotion company in London. Also, I am seeing in my logs "cgi-bin/go.pl/www.theirurl.co.uk" so I know they have some broken links but are using a simple advertising tracking cgi script to redirect the spiders to my pages to cloak for a UK mortgage company...another of their clients. I have enough documentation for everything... I am not sure legal recourse is prudent for this across the atlantic. But, they appear quite large...I am thinking of trying to get the Brittish media or tabloids on them and ruin them with the negative p.r. Either that or I might turn the tables on them altogether with their clients. Anyway, their name is at the top of my list. ;)


6:27 pm on Apr 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member


Be careful... doing a press release on this may have opposite the effect you intend. The old PR saying is "any press is good press". :)



2:21 am on Apr 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


I am a little miffed I guess. I do think these *clients* of the media group have no clue that the traffic they are getting comes from the theft of complete strangers copyrighted content. That these guys are doing no real work to create the traffic, just siphoning it from honest companies sites. They thought they were undetectable though, and now I know who they are and how they are doing it. I could probably have *alot* more fun with this being discrete. It may even be worth them doing it just to have caught them. ;)


8:42 am on Apr 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I think I know who you are talking about...

sounds to me like you do! Dunno whether the media would be willing to do anything about it though.


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