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Look in the Mirror Site

What really is a mirror site and what is legal

     
7:41 pm on Nov 20, 2002 (gmt 0)

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One of my competitors has got three different sites, all pretty much selling the same things. As a matter of fact, they even have banners on one site pointing to the other.

Now if I remember correctly, having mirror sites is a no-no. What then exactly is a mirror site that you can get away with.

When I looked at the Google FAQ, I saw this Q/A...


Q: [Webmasters] My competitors sites are listed 1,2,3,4,5. What can I do?
A: If they include very dodgy tactics, you can try to report them to Google, but Google will probably not do anything about it. Multi-domains are a legitimate net practice used by millions of sites. It is quite common to find one set of sites dominating the results at Google.
Your best line of action is to get 4 more domains and let the games begin.
Last Updated:04/21/2002 - 00:17 added by:Brett_Tabke

Is this an advocation for mirror sites or am I confused? How many of you out there have multiple sites for the same thing and are you worried about getting busted?

7:48 pm on Nov 20, 2002 (gmt 0)

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>How many of you out there have multiple sites for the same thing and are you worried about getting busted?

I don't think it's a question of worried about getting busted. The question might be "how many sites will you have ready when you ARE busted."

7:54 pm on Nov 20, 2002 (gmt 0)

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So are you saying that some people have a site or two in their back pocket waiting for the inevitable?

That sounds fine if I didn't care about repeat customers... but if I want to maintain a loyal following, I want to play by the rules. I guess I'm trying to find out what the rules are and what rules are meant to be broken.

For instance, would owning and running these sites be okay?


coolwidgits.com
niftywidgets.com
excitingwidgets.com

They all sell the same things for the same company, but may look differently.
8:02 pm on Nov 20, 2002 (gmt 0)

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>That sounds fine if I didn't care about repeat customers...

Just because Google is not listing you in their index doesn't mean that your customers can't find your domain/domains on line. You are still there and prollllly can be found in other engines as well. Heck, you could buy an ad at adwords :)

>They all sell the same things for the same company, but may look differently.

Unique content?

8:19 pm on Nov 20, 2002 (gmt 0)

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A friend of mine takes a marketing stance in what I call WebSoap Sites.

Just like the major soap brands.......all made by the same company with different names, different packaging, ......but basically has the same "stuff".

Websoap sites look different and actually immulate being "competitors", however, they sell the same "stuff" and all the money goes into the same pockets.

8:26 pm on Nov 20, 2002 (gmt 0)

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As far as unique content, most of the site is just listing the products. The sites are all run by the same company, and you can verify that by looking at the whois directory even. They have unique colors, and different navigation for each, maybe that is unique enough.

As far as customer still finding us, my corporation is really big into branding, and I'm sure they would be more than mildly disturbed if all of the sudden the website we so treasured fell off of the Google SERPS.

What exactly would be unique content? What if my major site sold all kids of widgets, but a second site sold only yellow widgets, and another site sold white widgets? Are those other two sites unique enough, or would I have to stop selling yellow and white widgets on my major site?

2:14 am on Nov 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I use mirrors quite a lot, but recently I've come around to the conclusion that branding works much better if you just stick to one domain and plaster it everywhere. Mirroring can be confusing. I would use it maybe as a temporary step towards building a single site with a single name....
2:31 am on Nov 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I am not sure what we are talking about is a mirror site.

For me at least mirror sites were popular in the 90's when everyone had a click here to use our mirror site if the site is slow. We were all worried about not having enough server power for the billions that were about to visit at any minute! The mirror site was a duplicate.

For me what you are discussing above is pure and simple marketing in the same way that Gillette owns how many different razor products, and is the reason we have cars that look, feel and drive differently they all utimately are the same thing but they come with different packaging to appeal to different users.

5:39 am on Nov 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Maybe I'm wrong, but I always thought of a spammy mirror site as being a domain name that has the exact same content as a differently named domain.

widgets.com
wid-gets.com
idgets.com
all pointing into the same content.

I realize that tucows uses mirrors, but theirs is a replica of a database hosted on different servers (I think).

6:58 am on Nov 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

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What exactly would be unique content?

Search engines primarily index text. If your images or colors differ from site to site but the text is identical, that's risky.

How much different does the text need to be from site to site? I don't know, but I've seen discussions suggesting at least 10% different. How do you quantify this? I don't know that either... In similar situations, I've simply rewritten each paragraph on a page or a site, saying the same thing in different words.

If your yellow widgets site uses identical text to what's on your major site regarding yellow widgets, consider rewriting it.

7:26 pm on Nov 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

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It would be no big deal to rewrite the text on the home and catalog pages, however the information about the items comes from the database. But seeing as Google isn't indexing those item pages, it probably doesn't matter.

What it sounds like to me is that as long as I put a different wrapper on the package and call it something else, as long as I change things around (different navigation, different text, different look and feel) then I should be okay. I'm just trying to make sure that I don't do anything that would be considered spam.

Cause the thing is, there may be someone out there that is only interested in yellow widgets, and finding yellow widgets on my mega-widgets site may be difficult, however if I build a site about yellow widgets and sell them there, that should be okay?