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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]

1:26 am on Mar 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

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"As said I dont think we will see a solution,..."

Apparently Yahoo, and to a certain extent MSN, aren't as susceptable to this problem.
Play up that angle..)

1:28 am on Mar 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Ok here are a few good news site/papers in the broker business, I will bet they would like some news about this, anything about google is news worthy.

Who knows the SE better then webmasters and now we are journalists.

Now we need a good writer who posts emails to them

Forbes
The Wall Street Journal Online
SmartMoney.com
MarketWatch
Reuters
TheStreet.com
Associated Press
Briefing.com
FT.com

Many are hurt by this situation and we must face if you are not on google you are not on the net. I dont see any other solution for this, Im sorry google but you had the chanc to let us know you where just working on this problem.

1:31 am on Mar 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

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cNet should be the first to write about this, but they been too busy kissing Google's a-s lately ...
1:34 am on Mar 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Walkman - just my words
1:39 am on Mar 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Serious are ther other solutons to this, I dont see it and we must do somthing now, since it has been going on for so long.
2:01 am on Mar 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Apparently Yahoo, and to a certain extent MSN, aren't as susceptable to this problem.
Play up that angle..)

I think one of the reasons this affects google more than the other search engines is because google has done much deeper crawling of the web (I seem to remember some press last year about doubling the total pages indexed or something like that) so now that they're indexing the generated php scripts etc it's balooned the problem.

I read somewhere that search engines used to immediatly stop indexing a site when it ran across a 302. Interesting.

There has to be a solution, and I believe it will come with time, I just wish someone would tell us they are working on it.

On the other hand I think this whole 302 redirect thing may be a conspiracy to keep me from writing content. ;)

2:21 am on Mar 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Once the 'bad' site captures your ranking from G, is there any need for them to continue 302ing your page? Seems to me once they knock the good site off and become acknowledged as the 'official' version, they can change the content to be anything they want. Is that correct? Then, if you've been 302'd long enough ago, it would be impossible to detect? or is it necessary for them to maintain a detectable index entry indefinitely?
2:21 am on Mar 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

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"Now we need a good writer who posts emails to them

Forbes
The Wall Street Journal Online
SmartMoney.com
MarketWatch
Reuters
TheStreet.com
Associated Press
Briefing.com
FT.com"

Don't forget that Wall Street is currently in the midst of making a fortune selling Google shares to the public. Once the stock is in the hands of the public, then the story can come out so the stock can tank and Wall Street can then buy the company back dirt cheap. Bad press on Goog from wall st aint gonna happen now.

Why don't webmasters use their resources? A site explaining this problem and google bomb it.

2:44 am on Mar 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

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A quick question:
my-site-A.com/my-adwords-landing-page.php?entry=adwords
<?php
if entry is adwords then
{
recode ip to database
recode date/time to database
....
}
else if entry is other ad then
{
...
}

Header("Location: [my-site-B.com...]
?>


Will the above method harm my-site-B.com? As far as I know, the header() function of PHP also uses 302 header.
2:50 am on Mar 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Just a thought on fixing a 302 problem yourself.

Don't know if it would work but what if you took the page on your site thats being redirected to, lets say "widget/bluewidget.html" and did a 301 redirect to "newlocation/bluewidget.html".

Wouldn't that tell googlebot that the source page should now be at newlocation/bluewidget.html and take away referring sites listing to your page since its not the 301 location?

It's late, forgive me if I make no sense. The more I think about it, the more I think it won't work but I'll throw it up for review.

3:18 am on Mar 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Certainly anyone can send press releases to technical reporters at news organizations, and that would be a good thing to do.

Probably not a good idea. Anyone can, but would it get picked up or even noticed. There is a reason that major companies, governments etc hire press officers and press professionals. They can get the story published, they know the journalists, they know how to present the story, they know the audience of the publication as well as, or better than the journalist who would write the article. The best press people, in reality, probably write most of the article before the journalist even sees it. The other information in Beachboy's post is valid.

tools being used to assist users in violating copyright laws

Rewritten this also attracts legal journos.

"Is your business suffering from dodgy webmasters stealing your content and putting it on Google" - this will get the business journalists interested.

"Webmaster steal's whorehouse blog and surrounds with advertising" will get the Enquirer interested.

To get publicity, writing a press release, even an extremely good, well written, easily understandable press release is only the start. There is the pitch, the follow-up, the futher follow-up.

Then when the NYT, CNN, BBC all pick up the story, Google have their own professional press people to counter everything your press release says.

It is not a coincidence that Google's press rep was able to come to the defence of the new version of Google's toolbar last week. Whether webmasters believe all the statements given last week or not, does the average New York Post, Sun, Daily Record reader believe it, that is the question.

3:36 am on Mar 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

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The main problem is there aren't a whole lot of people who even can understand this problem even when it is explained to them. So long that a major site isn't hijacked... and I believe them to be whitelisted in some way else it would have happened by now... most of the general public won't care. IF someone got a class action going, it might gain some publicity... once again, you would need a law firm with somebody capable of understanding this. Remember over a year ago when we were talking about this, even senior members here were practically berating those of us who said this was happening or even that it could happen.
3:51 am on Mar 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

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The issue is not simply 301/302 redirects that is causing googlebot to choke. I have seen a redirect from a hijacker like this;

h*tp://www.example.com/gotosite.asp?
h*tp://www6.@redir@.com/d/sr/?
xargs=15KPjg1llSmIK9k7PyMPiIRvydhRlLipz3tpY3TcAqQ4BAoy0
wTu8sNvzUmLF5W58%5FrQPRzvCU%5FKEWKfD7mO3JR1%
5FMFgvwbe77rvi2vok%5FMKilKtdOjsBdMtna%2Dt8TaXIGMl6BJNO%
2DnObIIaf9Ow8%5F6NN6uRCY67MtzMy%5Fw%
2D4WBv6hmFF1qQOAaI1XvP52343Oe8NUE%
2DwMb53G0zDVCfxNytV3juyiNj4QKDWg52kaygvCYG4q46OQJdtO7Oe
e0tLEBrq584EBLwfTq7Agh0rJlC%5FEl9cycinan%5FEIzgUJSr2%
2DMX3G6Doa9f%2Dd16efJNpCjgA%
2E&yargs=www.mysite.com&posix=1&keywx=keyword1+keyword2

Is there 2 redirects here?

[edited by: kwngian at 4:23 am (utc) on Mar. 9, 2005]

4:05 am on Mar 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I believe we all have to understand that this problem is not a "Google error." Google is doing exactly what it's supposed to do with respect to 302s. Example: When www,BigUniversity.edu issues 200,000 302s for a few of its files, it wants and *expects* Google to do exactly what Google is currently doing with the 302.

It appears to me that the basic problem is a quirk in the http/server protocol that is being exploited (intentionally or otherwise) by an increasing number of sites.

And, yes, the increase is partly attributable to Adsense, which, by the way is one of the prime generators of $$$ in G's pocket, so expecting Google to slam on the brakes by going *against the published protocol* is sort of a pie-in-the-sky dream.

And that's why I think this will continue to be a severe problem.

4:16 am on Mar 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Hey, Kwngian... any chance of editing your post and getting rid of the massive horizontal scroll bar? I can't read the page.
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