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cloaking an affiliate program

my affiliates are getting indexed instead of me

   
5:03 pm on Dec 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I have several affiliates who are getting indexed above me.

My site is www.cc.com and the affiliates are abc.cc.com, xyz.cc.com, etc. The content on all the affiliate sites are almost exactly the same as the main site, so I know I am running into duplicate content problems as well. I was told by one person to use robots metatags to keep the affiliate pages from being indexed. Someone else suggested that I use 301 redirects to the spiders so that the spiders always go to www.cc.com instead of the affiliate domains...and I would keep the link relevance from the affiliates that way. However, I don't want to do anything that might get me banned from the search engines.

Any suggestions on a safe way to get the dup content and affiliates out of the engines while keeping their links?

8:49 pm on Dec 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Welcome to WebmasterWorld :)

I recommend 302 (temporary) redirects on the affiliate pages. No cloaking is necessary in my opinion. You can use the redirects for search engine and human traffic with no adverse results.

9:20 pm on Dec 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Wouldn't that completely bypass all our affiliates? We do still want them to get credit for human sales.
9:37 pm on Dec 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



None of your affiliates are generating traffic from SEO?
7:52 pm on Dec 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



> bypass affiliates

You could easily set it up to not bypass affiliates. The redirects could be done to a URL that tracks the affiliate ID.

7:12 pm on Jan 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Use the robots meta per page including it in the affiliate template with no cache included.

Should do the trick and not offend affiliates as a 302 might.

7:56 pm on Jan 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Why would you care if your affiliates are being indexed as well? As a merchant, aren't you paying them for the added exposure? The additional pages being indexed are only good for you in the long run considering you'll be getting return business from these new customers your affiliate is bringing to you. You're being too ".. penny wise and pound foolish .." IMHO.
8:10 pm on Jan 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I recommend 302 (temporary) redirects on the affiliate pages.

I have always recommended using a 301 Permanent Redirect on affiliate pages.

volatilegx, why a 302 and not a 301?

11:38 pm on Jan 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Why a 302 indeed when hated by both search engines for the hijacking issues the 302 was aligned with?
11:44 pm on Jan 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Why would you care if your affiliates are being indexed as well? As a merchant, aren't you paying them for the added exposure? The additional pages being indexed are only good for you in the long run considering you'll be getting return business from these new customers your affiliate is bringing to you. You're being too ".. penny wise and pound foolish .." IMHO.

Affiliate = expense

Free search results listings = reduced expense

Just my thought...in my more evil cutthroat business way of thinking I'd SEO my site and then SEOeach of my affiliates site..it would be nice if the affiliates all owned different URLS and on different servers...

then it could be possible to own most of the front page listings for a category.. hehehe

Note: As with all of my posts "mileage may vary" and sanity is never more than a step away from the edge
;->

Peace

3:42 am on Jan 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



volatilegx, why a 302 and not a 301?

Why a 302 indeed when hated by both search engines for the hijacking issues the 302 was aligned with?

I'm not infallible, but I think a 302 is proper here. You want a redirect. You want to redirect to a URL that uses an affiliate ID as a parameter in the URL. You don't want that "destination" URL to be considered "canonical". Therefore, you use a 302. Here's the specification for a 302 redirect [w3.org] (scroll down roughly half-way):
10.3.3 302 Found
The requested resource resides temporarily under a different URI. Since the redirection might be altered on occasion, the client SHOULD continue to use the Request-URI for future requests. This response is only cacheable if indicated by a Cache-Control or Expires header field.

The temporary URI SHOULD be given by the Location field in the response. Unless the request method was HEAD, the entity of the response SHOULD contain a short hypertext note with a hyperlink to the new URI(s).

If the 302 status code is received in response to a request other than GET or HEAD, the user agent MUST NOT automatically redirect the request unless it can be confirmed by the user, since this might change the conditions under which the request was issued.

What I'm suggesting is a little mod_rewrite voodoo to extract the affiliate code/ID from the subdomain and rewrite the URL to make it a parameter in a "normal" affiliate-type URL. Then, the client/browser is redirected to the new URL. The affiliate still gets credit for any sales. the original URL is still indexed. What's the problem?

5:59 pm on Jan 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



So people start hijacking and suddenly we have to change the response code specs because search engines can't find their asses with both hands?

Sure, you can use a 301 redirect, or even a 303, but the URL won't appear how you want it in the SERPs. Of course, the search engines aren't doing that properly for a 302 most of the time either.

Hell, instead of redirecting, let's just serve the affiliate page via a LWP/curl request and use more server resources than necessary. At least the response will be perfect and you'll have full control. Then again, that's what the original post was about :)

6:53 pm on Jan 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



"At least the response will be perfect and you'll have full control. Then again, that's what the original post was about :) "

See and by ticking you off a little you came up with a very good answer...

So who do we thank beside you... me or google or the hijackers?

lol

6:58 pm on Jan 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



> See and by ticking you off a little

I hate it when that happens. Well, to thank, I'll pick you, because even though I don't know you, I like you a lot more than Google or hijackers :P

8:16 pm on Jan 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Thank you and feeling is mutual.

Glad I could help somehow lol

 

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