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Yahoo and Google Block Adware Company

Fantastic

     
12:08 pm on May 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

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[digital-lifestyles.info...]

Influential search engines Google and Yahoo has disabled links to WhenU, a adware manufacturer that they've accused of using “cloaking” to trick search engines into favourably ranking decoy pages that redirect visitors.

12:29 pm on May 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

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they have performed some pretty solid hand washing disavowing all knowledge of the redirects and blaming an external company.
1:04 pm on May 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

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This news makes me happy. I have had untold greif with these type of #########, both on my stuff and fixing other people.
1:22 pm on May 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Ok fess up...who optimized their site?
1:37 pm on May 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Interesting, they are PR0, not grey-barred. Does grey-bar exist anymore?
1:37 pm on May 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

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That article focuses on what the company sells, but the real story is what the people did to optimize their site. I'm curious if it was one of those things where a keyword stuffed page with an onrollover in the body tag redirects visitors. I've been seeing a lot of those lately.
1:46 pm on May 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

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"result of an external search engine optimization company"

Yep, We have seen many CEO's claim third party incompetence to disguise their own! If you choose to play with fire, you choose to take the risk of getting burnt.

Don't come running claiming innocence when it happens!

I personally think there is nothing wrong with playing with fire.......I just have a problem with those that whine about getting burnt!

1:55 pm on May 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

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>Interesting, they are PR0, not grey-barred. Does grey-bar exist anymore?

Mike, I think not. Some of my bad boys are PR0, but they are still indexed and still get some Google traffic. It seems like you have to commit level of sins beyond most peoples comprehension to get totally banned these days!

Ain't life good ;)

2:05 pm on May 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

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That article focuses on what the company sells, but the real story is what the people did to optimize their site. I'm curious if it was one of those things where a keyword stuffed page with an onrollover in the body tag redirects visitors. I've been seeing a lot of those lately.

Look for "<snip>" and you will see why there are a lot of those. How do you file a spam report for some software that extends across 125,000 pages?

Its unfortunate that this was not the one google blocked.

[edited by: WebGuerrilla at 4:36 pm (utc) on May 14, 2004]
[edit reason] Please review the forum charter [/edit]

3:03 pm on May 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I have seen a case where Google did slam a site for this, unfortunately it was a client of mine who tested the waters with another type of service and ended up with a PR 0 and pulled from Google. Now I get to clean up the mess. The same technique however is completely bowling over Yahoo and MSN.
4:20 pm on May 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I am not sure i understand is this from a single website or a style of seo
when i tried the search all results did the same thing
what i see is that if you click any of those pages it just goes to a redirect onto another page selling something

whatever seems pretty clever to me
so congrats to whoever came up with it
score another point for seo over phd
hehe
steve

4:42 pm on May 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I followed a few backlinks and found a page that had a multitude of links pointing to other "redirect/doorway" pages for other sites(looks to be hosted on another client site possibly). Usually 1 or more invisible gifs are on the sites home page pointing to these pages and/or "sitemap" to give them rank.

With that many sites it is either one very busy Entrepreneur or Ill advised SEO firm. Don't want to be there when the --it hits the fan. I am sure someone at G has read this by now.

Sometimes it takes simplicity to fool the technical PHD mind.

<added>And Good for G to block/delist adware companies</added>

4:45 pm on May 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

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one very busy Entrepreneur or Ill advised SEO firm.

It's obvious now that some folks here are scrambling ;)

4:59 pm on May 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Should leave them out of the index. I read these companies work when their software is triggered from text or keywords on a site. Basically someone with this software on their computer can do a search on Google and something (keywords/text) in the search results triggers the application to launch advertising. Possibly interfering with Google Adwords (lost revenue) and making the Google user think Google is launching this advertising. Bad user experience.
5:22 pm on May 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Cindy
Exactly the reason I refuse to advertise on such companies. There are a number of them out there, and all work by misleading the client. Very bad, particularly if they tie your company to the "Bad experience".
5:25 pm on May 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Apparently - the spam report was filed by a anti-spyware PHD student on Sunday (as reported on his blog).

Pretty quick action by G..

5:30 pm on May 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

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SEO casualties happen all the time, although it's remarkable when it happens to a high profile company. This happened a couple weeks ago with the hosting company whose seo planted hidden links on hosted websites.

There's been a lot of news items in the mainstream press about corporates's need to optimize, and what we're seeing here is consumer ignorance in action. Unfortunately, as SEO reaches the mainstream, we're probably going to see more of this.

On a side note:
One of the Forums at the Nov 2003 Ad:Tech [ad-tech.com] was:

Track 1: Marketing Strategy (Sponsored by WhenU)

Doh! :o

5:49 pm on May 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

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What difference does it make if a contracted company or your own employees did it?

Are you saying that contract work is just thrown up on the website without your approval or review or explanation as to HOW you are Optimizing?

Just like everyone today "It's not MY fault, it's somebody elses" I'm getting really tired of people not taking responsibility and accountability for their actions. He hired 'em so whether you like it or not buddy, it's YOUR fault ultimately so shut up and learn a lesson from it. Stop pointing fingers!

5:51 pm on May 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

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If Google gets serious about knocking this type of stuff out of the index (didn't see this specific example, but just assuming some type of cloaked pages) there are going to be some major companies going down and some very large agencies taking an awful lot of heat.

Pharma drug sites may get hit hard. Buyer beware when it comes to SEO. It's not just the little guys who claim ignorance about SEO or simply don't want to take the time to understand how it really works and put the work in to do it right. People want "checkbook" SEO in the organic results. They don't want to be bothered with the work and coordination involved, just want the traffic for a nice easy (sometimes fat) check.

6:16 pm on May 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

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>>>When Search Engines Strike Back: Yahoo and Google Block Adware Company

So are the two companies sharing a blacklist now?

7:14 pm on May 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

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doh - Tool - that was EXACTLY the first thought that crossed my mind when I read the title of this thread.

Sure makes ya wonder.

8:05 pm on May 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

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It could be very possible they are sharing. Another thought is they have both outsourced the same company to hunt down these type of seo offenders. To me that makes more sense then a sharing of knowledge between competitors.
8:18 pm on May 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I would doubt there is a shared blacklist. But sometimes there is value in working with a competitor against a common enemy. And lots of people at google have the phone numbers of their counterparts at yahoo, and visa-versa.

In this case, it is not just a case of improving their own SERPs, but trying to get rid of a thorn in their posterior.

They found a legitimate reason to get rid of the listing, and since they could also see value in having that company get no traffic, they pointed out the problems to the other major player.

This way they get rid of them without having to go through another searchking type of "scandal".

8:28 pm on May 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Whether they are or not (good point JeremyL - outsourcing the hunt to outside seos) I applaude the effort.

IMO, distributing trojans is not a business model, it's hacking.

9:51 pm on May 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I don't believe they are sharing blacklists.

According to the article, he filed spam reports at both engines.

[benedelman.org...]

Specifically, [benedelman.org...]

[edited by: Marcia at 4:14 am (utc) on May 17, 2004]
[edit reason] All links MUST be clickable. [/edit]

11:46 pm on May 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

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This guys write up is garbage, in my opinion. He's just another brash intellectual elitist looking for publicity. Probably wishes he had a popular blog.

Lots of inference, little fact, lots of chat about technology as if it was interesting (the stuff he describes is relatively simple), and alot of implied intent (unfair, based on the evidence presented).

It could have been good for everyone; it is bad for most everyone.

Once again casts SEO in a bad light, make it sound like Google is the good guy, and even seems to imply that we should all follow G's guidelines or we are improper. Ever try and follow a broad guideline? Get real.

This guy writes about tech like a total amateur, and yet feels ok trashing a company without any real evidence. He should get sued.

No, I have nothing to gain nor lose from this event. I just hate BS and propaganda.

[edited by: Marcia at 7:05 am (utc) on May 17, 2004]
[edit reason] Political reference removed. [/edit]

12:06 am on May 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Hey guys get real, a good seo makes money.
Ethics? when do they count in the real advertising world
In my books a good seo will make 20k in a week, get banned and move on. While most people will be sending emails to google...it aint fair sob sob and still wondering why they are page 3 and beyond. While the pro seo is making the next site,,,and so the rout continues
Life is s##t then you die.
12:53 am on May 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Thanks UKGimp, a very interesting article. Certainly implies that spam reports are being acted upon.

Its always amazed me that Google hasn't just run a spider from a new IP address, with a different user agent, across urls reported for cloaking. Then send a 'regular' Googlebot from a published Google IP address in behind him to spider the suspected sites. Then the 'bots could meet up back at the 'plex for a beer and compare notes on what they indexed.....

1:07 am on May 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Then the 'bots could meet up back at the 'plex for a beer and compare notes on what they indexed

I hope it's a bit more advanced than that. I'd hate to have uploaded a new version of a site (or even a page) between visits.
1:20 am on May 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Cloaking is allowed. For example, if you have lots of flash and want to have the text equivalent for the search engines to spider.

If you cloak in a way that does not reflect your content, then that is considered spam.

This 49 message thread spans 2 pages: 49