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eBay redirects old product links to prop up arbitrary categories

Can we, mere mortals, safely do the same?

   
3:47 pm on Dec 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



I stumbled upon this by chance but was rather impressed to learn that eBay (with all their millions of valid IBLs) still finds it necessary to properly (301) redirect IBLs that point to old (removed after 90 days) auction pages and use them to prop up what seems like either a VERY loose match to the theme of the original auction or a completely arbitrary category listing.

I don't know if they've always done that but it appears to me that it's a somewhat new development because I remember going to old listings before I usually ended up on some sort of a custom error page (don't remember what HTTP code was returned but would not be surprised if it was 200).

So, if you guys have pages that expire, do you just let them die (404, 410) or do you reuse the URLs for different products or redirect the URLs in the way eBay does to save IBLs?

I guess, my major concern would be that the latest eBay approach seems to be creating a possibly unlimited amount of URLs on one site. It may be safe for eBay-size site, but would it be OK to do it on a 100,000-some pages site


P.S. This is OT but has to do with eBay URLs, too: last few months their redirects seem to be wacky in general. For example, NONE of the URLs I receive in any email communication from eBay appear to be valid. What gives?
8:13 pm on Jan 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month



...or do you reuse the URLs for different products or redirect the URLs in the way eBay does to save IBLs?


I used to redirect to the most similar active product / category.

However, tedster, a moderator in the google forum, said that he had seen instances where too many 301 re-directs of this nature had hurt a site.

So instead I have re-purposed the pages. I leave the original content and a disclaimer that this product isn't available any more, and I provide a handful of links to the pages that would most interest a visitor.
7:27 pm on Jan 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



That's what Eric Ward calls Link Reclamation, it's finding a way to repurpose inbound links from pages whose URLs no longer exist or from pages that are otherwise expired.

I don't think there is a need to worry aobut this being seen as a spam issue. There are legitimate user-experience reasons for sending visitors to a page that is similar to what was previously linked to. Redirects already have their PageRank dampened a little bit anyway.

There may be some that feel it's being manipulative and that the page should be allowed to expire. Anyone feel that way? And if so, why?
6:29 am on Jan 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I repurpose pages and then gently point the user over to pages they might want to find instead.

I let them know the product or service is no longer valid, and then offer them internal link choices on that page to pass weight to other acceptable and relevant pages for them.
1:56 am on Jan 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month



There may be some that feel it's being manipulative and that the page should be allowed to expire. Anyone feel that way? And if so, why?


I don't know if this is a legitimate reason or not, but I BELIEVE that even mega sites like walgreens and bestbuy will have 404 pages with Adsense ads.

(I may have to dobule check that to be 100% certain. I do know for certain that if you are using their in site search functionality and there are no results for your search term, the search results page will serve up adsense ads.)
 

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