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Google dropped site when a competitor posted identical content

Googlebot ... tricked?



8:21 pm on Apr 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Any advice would be greatly appreciated here:

I'm helping a company figure out why their web presence is now toast and my best guess is that Googlebot was tricked into deleting their site "website.com" by a competitor who posted nearly identical logo and graphics content at "website.us". The .com site has been up for years and the .us for only a few months (verifiable using Alexa.com wayback), yet the bogus .us site is the only one that appears in the SERPs. The .com had a PR of 6 until a few weeks ago and great placement for key terms. Now it is completely OUT of Google (except for adwords listings :o )

troels nybo nielsen

10:11 am on Apr 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Welcome to WebmasterWorld, joeduck.

I assume that you have checked their website carefully and found that they have not done something to get themselves banned.

Identical logo and graphics should not make any difference with Google if there is other content on the pages.

Some time ago there was a thread about websites exploiting a weekness in Google's algo by redirecting to other websites. I did not really understand the technicalities in that, but I imagine that your client's competitor might be using that trick.


3:23 pm on Apr 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hi joeduck, and welcome to WebmasterWorld.

This is an issue that seems to affect more and more people. I don't really understand it myself either, but here is a recent discussion thread that may give you some pointers:



4:18 pm on Apr 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

"This is an issue that seems to affect more and more people"

I am glad more people see it as a legitimate problem. I wish G would see it as a legitimate problem as well. It is more often than not associated with hijacked recently deleted and re-registered domains that have existing Y and ODP listings. An uncanny number of these have links from Y Asia and a few other other Eastern Y directories. The problem is these sites are "disposable" to the cloakers, (I counted 28 cloaks of this type with my obfuscated content pointing to just one single competitor with a server side affiliate tracking link) though the hijacked sites are by no means disposable. I sent this list to webmaster@google with googleguy in the subject and got nothing but the autoresponder reply. I am thinking about cloaking to *hijackers only* content containing multiple copyrighted terms, trademarks and expletives. Contacting NOC's is getting old.


5:05 pm on Apr 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Interesting developments are taking place on internet.

Just 3 days ago, I added new pages to my site, expanding it by about 1000%. Same day the new pages got a couple of visitors using AOL accounts, and a few hours later, some automated program (from Nigeria?) visited almost all my pages.

Is this just a coincidence or something more sinister is going on? Will find out soon.


6:14 pm on Apr 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

First, thanks for these thoughtful replies. I failed to mention that the TEXT in the .us site (the copied one) is also almost identical except for the booking information (these are competing travel service companies).

Thus it is almost certainly a a deliberate and successful attempt to replace the legitimate site to knock it out of good position.

Troels point may come into play here as well because the site construction seems fine now but in the past may not have fully complied with Guidelines (ironically the non-compliance with extra keywords was at the time it was in top positions).

As always I advise people to read and comply with the Google Guidelines and they've done so.

HOWEVER - if I assume this was a form of "placement hijacking" it all makes sense and all that Google did wrong was to very reasonably assume the two sites were the same company when in fact it was a clever scheme to replace one company with another.

He's sending notes and calling Google but I have a hunch they get 10,000 such items a day (an hour?).

I think Google really would be well advised to have some form of "priority service" where people could pay a fee to have problems reviewed and perhaps money refunded if it was a "Google error".... My beef with Yahoo is that they appear to apply guidelines arbitrarily and then won't explain how to remove them. I hope Google is not moving in that direction.


7:35 pm on Apr 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


This a serious problem with Google. When a site is copied, don't knock out the existing one, knock out the cheating web site copier. But since Google favors newer sites, the cheater new one stays. A serious flaw in Google's algo.


8:00 pm on Apr 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

If you are the copyright owner of the material and you have not licensed it to them then I believe google will remove them under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Search "dmca site:google.com" there.


10:10 pm on Apr 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

>A serious flaw in Google's algo.

The entire Google algo is a flaw, so it will fit in nicely with the rest.


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