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What's more, the same site keeps popping up - let's call it example.ws It's a directory, but each specific category leads to it's own domain that has a business listing directory in that vertical (where you can edit listings and give ratings but don't have to create an account - however they claim to review changes manually). All of these vertical specific directories look the same, and you can recognize them in the user content listings by the sentence "Browse and Rate x# [Category] in the USA" under the url. No doubt there are some seo people behind this. For a search for "chicago plumbers" for instance, for one of the businesses, 6 of the 7 sites listed under "user content" were these vertical directories linked to from example.ws placemarks in [business name]", where the business name is linked to a .kml (Google earth).
I just saw this this morning and it's completely new to me, never heard/seen the "user content" section before, and certainly never seen example.ws who's popping up everywhere now (seriously, everything from "houston bicycles" to "san diego pottery" these sites have multiple listings in the user content section?). I checked their backlinks, and they seem to mostly be linked to from hidden images on various sites + from their own vertical directory sites.
Does anyone know anything more about this?
[edited by: anallawalla at 2:02 am (utc) on May 23, 2009]
[edit reason] Examplified the URL - we don't "out" sites, even if unintentional [/edit]
So sites that allows user to create google earth listings are being pulled (wikimapia.org, platial.com). The dominance of example.ws suggests that this feature is very exploitable right now...
[edited by: anallawalla at 2:03 am (utc) on May 23, 2009]