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This can't be legal...Can it?

Spammer earning $ off of your site in his frames

     
7:21 pm on Nov 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I stumbled upon a new form of adsense spamming I believe. New, because it doesn't involve the now widely abused serp scraper spam.

What this guy has done is to build a "search engine" for himself using dmoz directory data. However, the links in his dmoz directory go to frame pages with this kind of code:

<HTML>
<HEAD>
<TITLE>Title of site as listed in DMOZ</TITLE>
<meta name="Description" content="DMOZ Description.">
<meta name="Keywords" content="Category, broken down, into, keywords, seperated by commas,">
</HEAD>
<FRAMESET ROWS="90,*" FRAMEBORDER="0" BORDER=0 FRAMESPACING="0">
<FRAME NAME="TOP" SRC="adsense-XXXXXXX.html" MARGINWIDTH="0" MARGINHEIGHT="0" SCROLLING="No"

FRAMEBORDER="0" NORESIZE>
<FRAME NAME="PAGE" SRC="http://www.YOURWEBSITE.com/" MARGINWIDTH="0" MARGINHEIGHT="0" SCROLLING="

Auto" FRAMEBORDER="0">
</FRAMESET>
<noframes>
</noframes>
</HTML>

If you can't tell right off what that will produce, it produces a page where his page/Google ad is at the top and your website is in the bottom frame. To the non-perceptive eye, it could all look like one website.

This guy can make money off anyone with a site in dmoz. Since he's linking to your site from the frame, he's not actually copying it. However, he is using your site, my site, anyone's site that is listed in DMOZ for his "directory/search engine" and can make money off of you.

The only way he is violating the TOS that I can see is he is putting the ads on a frame page with no content. But from what I can tell on my examples, Adsense is serving up his alternate ad url instead of ads.

Anyone else have a problem with someone else making AS money off of their website? I mean, that just crosses the line in my book.

7:29 pm on Nov 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

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lil devil! I have over the past few months seen several rather dubious 'sites'. I wonder what Mr G is going to do.
7:40 pm on Nov 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

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what I'd expect is for the googlebot to only retrieve content information IN the frame in which the adsense code is located, and not in the foreign website frame, where all the content is. By implementing this G will ensure that such spamming can't occur.

(I copyright this idea. Goggle representatives can sticky mail me to buy the idea)

Reserved 2004, Hugene ;)

7:43 pm on Nov 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Mediabot is not going to the website in the bottom frame. It's going to his top frame which has the DMOZ title and DMOZ description and the category broken down into keywords. My guess is that mediabot will sooner or later start serving up relevant ads.
7:48 pm on Nov 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I wonder what Mr G is going to do.

Webmasters can also take care of themselves in this regard. A javascript frame buster in the head of your pages will defeat this rather old method of content 'borrowing'. This sort of thing should do the trick:


<script type="text/javascript">
if (top!=self) { top.location.href = self.location.href; }
</script>
7:56 pm on Nov 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

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When i go through his website and find my website it changes all the content of my adds to something completely irrelavant to my content.

It's normal otherwise but in his frames he seems to change content of my adds!

How can he be doing this?

7:59 pm on Nov 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

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what I'd expect is for the googlebot to only retrieve content information IN the frame in which the adsense code is located, and not in the foreign website frame, where all the content is. By implementing this G will ensure that such spamming can't occur.
(I copyright this idea. Goggle representatives can sticky mail me to buy the idea)

Reserved 2004, Hugene ;)

This would mean that everyone elses framed websties would not show adsense, and all phpnuke, postnuke, and those kind of websites none would show anything!

8:21 pm on Nov 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

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It's simple. There's a form, just fill it out and send it to them and the AdSense people will take a look at it to see if there's a problem.
7:04 am on Nov 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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From a legal perspective (and irrelevant from the adsense issue), framing is a form of copyright infringement. As with all infringing content, simply notify Google of the abuse and they will deactivate his account if necessary.

In case anyone is interested in learning more about the landmark case where unauthorized framing became "officially" illegal, please read here:
[tomwbell.com...]

3:35 pm on Nov 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for sharing that link, asp4bunnies. That ruling is quite an interesting read.
3:40 pm on Nov 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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<script type="text/javascript">
if (top!=self) { top.location.href = self.location.href; }
</script>

Could someone explain what this script does and if it can be used if you have other javascripts on the same page.

Thanks.

3:50 pm on Nov 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Could someone explain what this script does and if it can be used if you have other javascripts on the same page.

Breaks your site out of the frame, if framed inside somewhere else. It should co-exisit happily along with any other JS.

3:56 pm on Nov 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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As with all infringing content, simply notify Google of the abuse and they will deactivate his account if necessary.

Are you sure? If that's true it's a new policy. In my experience, the AdSense people don't care if publishers illegally copy content. They advise the parties to work it out among themselves.

Google might remove an offending website from their search index if the copyright owner jumps through enough hoops, but that's another matter. The AdSense account would stay intact and the publisher's other websites would be unaffected.

4:18 pm on Nov 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Google might remove an offending website from their search index if the copyright owner jumps through enough hoops, but that's another matter. The AdSense account would stay intact and the publisher's other websites would be unaffected.

Probably. However, if google removes the offending content from it's search engine, that would certainly put a major dent in the offender's Adsense earnings. They would still have traffic from links, and other SE though.

From a PR (Public Relations) point of view, it would speak very poorly of Google if it continues do business with an entity that it dumps from its index because of copyright violations. Now that Google is a publically traded company, the stockholders (which includes it's employees) would not want their stocks to take a plunge because of the bad PR caused by such practices. I doubt Google will allow a bunch of frame-scrapers to hurt it's stock prices, and it's public image.

3:28 am on Nov 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

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asp4bunnies:

You said:

In case anyone is interested in learning more about the landmark case where unauthorized framing became "officially" illegal, please read here:
[tomwbell.com...]

Well, did you READ it before posting the link? All that is on that page is the trying of the defendants motion to dismiss. The case may have been tried eventually, but whatever happened isn't in that link.

8:08 pm on Nov 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Surely the site in question is sending traffic to other sites, and giving the webmaster an opportunity to make some cash for his/her efforts.

I wouldn't see this as stealing anything.

As for such framing being illegal, someone should tell Ask Jeeves.

1:36 am on Nov 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

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If framing was illegal wouldnt google be doing illegal stuff with their image search?

I guess they dont make any direct money from their image search, so it probably would be a very valid argument.

4:04 am on Nov 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Just continues to prove that the spammers are always one step ahead of the "police". How unfortunate that is.
4:47 am on Nov 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Framing isn't ALWAYS legal, and it isn't ALWAYS illegal. The devil is in the details of each case, and each case is dealt with individually, legally. Case law is like that.
7:20 am on Nov 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I think, as a practical matter, it would be very unlikely for Google to take any action based on a copyright complaint. They would be setting themselves as judge and jury on a legal matter; it would be crazy for them to stick their noses into that. How could they determine who the legal owner of the material is? How would they contact the other party to see what their side of the argument is? How many man hours would all this take and who would make the decision? At $200/hour lawyer/expert witness time it would be an expensive propostion.

Any action they do take is probably aimed at keeping them out of the dispute altogether.

3:25 am on Nov 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

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what I'd expect is for the googlebot to only retrieve content information IN the frame in which the adsense code is located, and not in the foreign website frame, where all the content is. By implementing this G will ensure that such spamming can't occur.

(I copyright this idea. Goggle representatives can sticky mail me to buy the idea)

Reserved 2004, Hugene

Nothing against you personally, Hugene, but I am truly sick of hearing this one.

I am not a lawyer, but:

You can't copyright an idea. Copyright does not protect an idea!

What it does protect is one particular creative interpretation of an idea.

3:36 am on Nov 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I hoped he was joking! I don't think google stick mails people to buy ideas already posted on a free forum.
3:43 am on Nov 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Yes, we all understood it was a joke.
11:03 am on Nov 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I certainly saw it was a joke... however its the basic premise that bugs me :).

</rant>

 

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