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If my (.co.uk) site was doing this I'd have been banned within a few days for sure! Google not checking .edu's for spamming? Students are unlikely to be black hats?
I just don't understand the complexity of their problems
It's complex - the bad guys who create those doorpages are pretty clever at detecting bots and showing them one content but they will redirect or show different content to real visitors. Google eventually gets them but it takes time, usually it happens soon after those doorway pages get ranked well and traffic starts flowing - I think in this case Google pays closer attention to those pages that rank well.
don't want to detail the method here, but it's relatively easy to do from the outside w/o the webmaster noticing a thing
... as for SEO, this kind of redirect won't get picked up by Google at all
Target page won't get anything from this apart of the ( random and/or panicked ) traffic, and the site that got infected won't be blacklisted either.
Meaning the 'host' page stays in the index and the target page might as well be banned for years, it'll still get traffic - effectively from Google.
don't allow visitors/users to add any kind of code to your pages. ever. replace strings that are suspicious
I never understand this. Why is Google bound to only visit a site with Googlebot?
Google definitely does visit sites with non-googlebot means, too. You're right that they need to do this for quality control - maybe they need to do more of it, eh?
Yeah, not everything gets nuked out of the gate
That's because computational cost of applying extra analysis is too high - this can include human review element too, so scalability is poor.
I think they don't want to nuke all straight away to create element of uncertainty - this makes it harder to reverse engineer the algorithm, detect IPs from which non-Googlebots double check data etc.
Also I think it is likely that if SERPs are not very good, then AdWords click will follow, or one of MFA pages will generate extra cash. There is almost certainly pretty good correlation between drop in quality in SERPs and increase in revenues.
There is almost certainly pretty good correlation between drop in quality in SERPs and increase in revenues.
There is likely also to be a pretty good correlation between poor SERPs quality and loss of users to other search engines. I don't think that Google would consider walking this kind of tightrope.
There is likely also to be a pretty good correlation between poor SERPs quality and loss of users to other search engines
Sure. So it's a game of numbers to avoid losing too many people while increasing revenues. While Google might not do it intentionally they certainly not applyng same level of scrutiny to all pages - it sure uses extra processing capacity, but who has got more processing capacity then Google?
Some of those .edu's may not be around much longer. I believe EDUCAUSE will do its best to make sure of that. That whole Grandfather clause has caused the .edu space grief and will continue to do so until that hole is closed completely. EDUCAUSE, remove the Grandfather Clause and take those domains back. Please? :)