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302 Redirects continues to be an issue

     
6:23 pm on Feb 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

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It is now 100% certain that any site can destroy low to midrange pagerank sites by causing googlebot to snap up a 302 redirect via scripts such as php, asp and cgi etc supported by an unseen randomly generated meta refresh page pointing to an unsuspecting site. The encroaching site in many cases actually write your websites location URL with a 302 redirect inside their server. This is flagrant violation of copyright and manipulation of search engine robots and geared to exploit and destroy websites and to artificially inflate ranking of the offending sites.

Many unethical webmasters and site owners are already creating thousands of TEMPLATED (ready to go) SKYSCRAPER sites fed by affiliate companies immense databases. These companies that have your website info within their databases feed your page snippets, without your permission, to vast numbers of the skyscraper sites. A carefully adjusted variant php based redirection script that causes a 302 redirect to your site, and included in the script an affiliate click checker, goes to work. What is very sneaky is the randomly generated meta refresh page that can only be detected via the use of a good header interrogation tool.

Googlebot and MSMBOT follow these php scripts to either an internal sub-domain containing the 302 redirect or serverside and “BANG” down goes your site if it has a pagerank below the offending site. Your index page is crippled because googlebot and msnbot now consider your home page at best a supplemental page of the offending site. The offending sites URL that contains your URL is indexed as belonging to the offending site. The offending site knows that google does not reveal all links pointing to your site, takes a couple of months to update, and thus an INURL:YOURSITE.COM will not be of much help to trace for a long time. Note that these scripts apply your URL mostly stripped or without the WWW. Making detection harder. This also causes googlebot to generate another URL listing for your site that can be seen as duplicate content. A 301 redirect resolves at least the short URL problem so aleviating google from deciding which of the two URL's of your site to index higher, more often the higher linked pagerank.

Your only hope is that your pagerank is higher than the offending site. This alone is no guarantee because the offending site would have targeted many higher pagerank sites within its system on the off chance that it strips at least one of the targets. This is further applied by hundreds of other hidden 301 permanent redirects to pagerank 7 or above sites, again in the hope of stripping a high pagerank site. This would then empower their scripts to highjack more efficiently. Sadly supposedly ethical big name affiliates are involved in this scam, they know it is going on and google adwords is probably the main target of revenue. Though I am sure only google do not approve of their adsense program to be used in such manner.

Many such offending sites have no e-mail contact and hidden WHOIS and no telephone number. Even if you were to contact them, you will find in most cases that the owner or webmaster cannot remove your links at their site because the feeds are by affiliate databases.

There is no point in contacting GOOGLE or MSN because this problem has been around for at least 9 months, only now it is escalating at an alarming rate. All pagerank sites of 5 or below are susceptible, if your site is 3 or 4 then be very alarmed. A skyscraper site only need create child page linking to get pagerank 4 or 5 without the need to strip other sites.

Caution, trying to exclude via robots text will not help because these scripts are nearly able to convert daily.

Trying to remove a link through google that looks like
new.searc**verywhere.co.uk/goto.php?path=yoursite.com%2F will result in your entire website being removed from google’s index for an indefinite period time, at least 90 days and you cannot get re-indexed within this timeline.

I am working on an automated 302 REBOUND SCRIPT to trace and counteract an offending site. This script will spider and detect all pages including sub-domains within an offending site and blast all of its pages, including dynamic pages with a 302 or 301 redirect. Hopefully it will detect the feeding database and blast it with as many 302 redirects as it contains URLS. So in essence a programme in perpetual motion creating millions of 302 redirects so long as it stays on. As every page is a unique URL, the script will hopefully continue to create and bombard a site that generates dynamically generated pages that possesses php, asp, cigi redirecting scripts. A SKYSCRAPER site that is fed can have its server totally occupied by a single efficient spider that continually requests pages in split seconds continually throughout the day and week.

If the repeatedly spidered site is depleted of its bandwidth, it may then be possible to remove it via googles URL removal tool. You only need a few seconds of 404 or a 403 regarding the offending site for google’s url console to detect what it needs. Either the site or the damaging link.

I hope I have been informative and to help anybody that has a hijacked site who’s natural revenue has been unfairly treated. Also note that your site may never gain its rank even after the removal of the offending links. Talking to offending site owners often result in their denial that they are causing problems and say that they are only counting outbound clicks. And they seam reluctant to remove your links....Yeah, pull the other one.

[edited by: Brett_Tabke at 9:49 pm (utc) on Mar. 16, 2005]

8:08 pm on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

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>>otherwise there is no way to know when someone clicks a link on your site

OF COURSE there are other ways. We've been doing it for 7 years without 302's. 302 is just one LAZY way.

Other than that, excellent post idonen

8:31 pm on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Indeed, idonen. Nice lay-speak.

I would add (as a complement, I hope):

Using the description provided by idonen, what is involved and how easy is it to "google jack"?

1) I own a domain that I want people to visit who would, under normal conditions go to my competitor's site when the click on my competitor's URL in a Google search result.

Q: Is that URL really going to fetch a page from my competitor's server? Not if I can get Google to think that I am my competitor ... so

2) I build a page on MY server that includes code that sends a 302 instruction to any spider that visits it. I don't want visitors to that page, just spiders. The 302 code says (in effect): "myCompetitorsDomain.com/index.html is now myDomain.com/index.html"

3) Googlebot visits and indexes MY page, as I have linked to it from a regularly spidered page.

4) Googlebot munches away, and indexes the information that myCompetitorsDomain.com/index.html has moved ... to my server/domain/page.

5) If my page can get a higher PageRank than my competitor's page (and there are lots of ways to temporarily gain a high PR through fake means ... who cares if it only lasts a couple of months? That's all I need for this trick.), then Google looks at my competitor's page as being less valuable than mine.

6) Google places a link to MY page higher in the results than my competitor's original page AND the URL and title and description in that link are EXACTLY the same as my competitor's link, EVEN THOUGH it now goes to MY server. Google just changed the internal pointer without modifying the URL/title/description, because they actually think I AM my competitor.

I have successfully fooled Google into thinking that MY page IS my competitor's page. Any hits on my competitor's search results for pages I have done this trick for now go to me, and my competitor's real pages drop further and further in the SERPS until they disappear. They are now out of business (at least for a few months).

As has been said: This is a Google programming policy issue.

PS: When someone clicks a link on your site, or requests one of your pages from a link on another site ... it's noted in the log. This is absolutely the best place to gather information about your site visitors. You really don't need to use 302s for this.

8:38 pm on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

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There is one important aspect to the duplicate page issue.

It is not an issue, it is a severe problem. And many website owners and webmasters have seen their websites disappear into total oblivion in google or msnsearch.

In most cases the owner simply does not know who to talk to about this immense problem nor is there a descriptive authority to help rectify the matter.

Website within the top 30 of google for lets say 2 years. SUDDENLY disappears into total oblivion. Sales come to a grinding halt, telephones stop ringing, you wait for a few months, no change, still in oblivion, no keywords showing for the site, company name that is unique may show after gorilla suit category, wait a few more months......GONE OUT OF BUSINESS

You become a bit more experienced by reading this thread, you look closer in results of google, you see something you cannot believe, you thump the keyboard and split in two..... There is the culprit.....The snapshot that google took of a redirect script that pointed to my site..

You write to google, and they reply.

Our robots crawl 8,000,000,000 pages on a monthly basis. Please be assured that nobody can influence your raking in google. We update our index on a monthly basis. All new websites found will be reflected in our index.

You write back asking why another websites url contains my index page.....Google replies.

Our robots crawl 8,000,000,000pages on a monthly basis. Please be assured that nobody can influence your raking in google. We update our index on a monthly basis. All new websites found will be reflected in our index.

8:48 pm on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

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japanese --message from google addition -

---------------------------------------------------
Please note that our search results change regularly as we update our index. Normal changes you observe may include, but are not limited to, addition of new sites, changes in the ranking of existing sites, sites falling out of the index or getting dropped for particular keywords, and fluctuation between old and new webpage content.

We realize these changes can be confusing. However, these processes are completely automated and not indicative of wrong-doing or penalization of individual sites. We currently include over eight billion pages in our index, and it is certainly our intent to represent the content of the internet fairly and accurately.
------------------------------------------------

That is what i got from them.

8:53 pm on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

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You might not believe this, but check some searches in G right now. Unless I've been at this too long and totally hallucinating, our previously hijacked pages are showing back up left and right as I write. Maybe G has actually done something. Confirm anyone?
It was an awfully sudden "back-out" maybe they just switched to a new database, but all out pages are showing back up pretty close to where they used to be, after being gone. Also Googlebot started visiting again last night after a 10 day hiatus.

[edited by: MikeNoLastName at 8:55 pm (utc) on Mar. 10, 2005]

8:54 pm on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Japanese - I know that reply, yes it is sad all of this and its unbelieveble that a company who knows it rules the internet is more focused on the totla of "8mill websit" indexed then the basic problems in the algo, I dont care if they have 8mill wesites indexed or 3mill the point is it must be valueble sites, not all those googlebotlinks pages and scrapers that realy completly ruin google.

I have not see a single magazine or website news that has not said that visitors are leaving google, but google is still no. 1.

8:55 pm on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I only think the problem exists like japanese said, not when someone uses a 302 to link to your site but when they steal a snapshot of your site and try to say it's at some new location.

Perhaps you are not as close to the issue as many of us are. The problem does exist, and those of us who have manually removed dozens of 302s and tracker2s, etc can attest to that.

C

8:55 pm on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Mike let me have your url, sticky
9:00 pm on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

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You might not believe this, but check some searches in G right now. Unless I've been at this too long and totally hallucinating, our previously hijacked pages are showing back up left and right as I write. Maybe G has actually done something. Confirm anyone?

Haven't seen it on my site yet. Oh and the 302 redirect page that disappeared is back in the index.

Oh well, Maybe they're just switching between indexes.

9:01 pm on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

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The reason google does this reasigning of URL is because of intro pages using a meta refresh tag.
It makes the browser visit the intro page first to check for plugins etc.
When a server sends a 302 to the spider perhaps the bot was treating this as a meta refresh.
They probably fixed this issue since but the real google jackers were using the meta refresh tag pointing to your page masquerading as an intro page to yours.
This is why google asigns your Title and description to their url.
They are saying to land on this page (one described by title and description) you must go to this page (intro) first.
This became a bug because of the server returning 302 in other cases. I think that bug has been fixed but now that the hijackers understand this (and by playing with it all this time they likely understand it better than anyone) now they are using scripts and who knows what else to exploit this same issue. The issue being that google does not want to send the browser to a page without the reqiured plugin support.
9:04 pm on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

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... he-he and one of the sites I suspected as hijackers are now listed way down the SERPs as 'URL only-no title'.

Emmett, check for your site title or site:xyz.com, for new entries. They are not appearing all at once, but very quickly.

Zeus, nothing personal, but I'm not trusting ANYONE after this recent, I like my rankings right where they were/are.

9:11 pm on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Ok, it's getting clearer - I read post #54 and the clarifications above.

Another question: Are you saying that if someone provides a link for googlebot like:

"foo.com/cgi-bin/linkto.pl?target=yourdomain.com"

A) The redirect truly occurs, but Googlebot thinks that the content for this link is the same as the content at "yourdomain.com"

or

B) The redirect doesn't really occur - it just grabs your content and delivers it on the hijacking server?

Is either one correct?

9:18 pm on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

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just to expand a bit on this issue.
There are intro pages for speed reqirements, web tv, voice browsers, braille, different stylesheets different resolutions, and a whole host of WAI issues. Typically an intro page will make browser queries and decide how to class that specific browser, which stylesheet ect.
9:20 pm on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Mike, no problem
9:28 pm on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Although I do not fully understand the technical complexity of hijacking, I do understand how it works in principal. I have had many sites either intentionally or unintentionally redirecting to my top four sites for some time. However, I do not believe this has had any major impact up until now. However, it is my supposition that I had a domain name server glitch back in January and this failure gave the sites redirecting to mine added weight and thus Google saw these sites as my sites. The direct consequence is that my top four sites are now in Google’s supplemental index in a state of perpetual dormancy and no longer get spidered.

I find it difficult to believe and coincidence that my top fours site all because hijacked at the same time. I believe that they became vulnerable to hijacking since I had a domain name server glitch.

I want to know has anyone else experienced a similar situation as mine. All my sites are hosted with GoDaddy by the way.

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