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  1. #1
    Member lschofield's Avatar
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    Unhappy Why does an unrelated site have my text in search result description?
    I'm not sure what is going on so I thought the best place to ask would be here. I've been googling my optimized phrases, etc.. to see if they show up and where I am (still pretty far down - need to work on my backlinks I think).

    As I do this without seeing my page, I then add in my site name to the search after the key phrase to see if I'm even in the index. Usually by the time I do this I'll find my site (one should hope, eh?).

    Anyways, I've done this to see if a RedEnvelope page I recently made has been indexed. I seached for "RedEnvelope mysitename" and not surprisingly came up in #s 1 and 2. However, there was something strange in the results as well. Do I have cause for alarm at this or is it nothing to worry about?

    What's happening is that the #4 result for this search has a title of "RedEnvelope.com - Unique gifts, Personalized gifts, Luxury gifts..." and the description reads "my site's name shops the Red Envelope Online Store Find the best deals at eRd Envelope Store Stores RedEnvelope.com... If you're shopping at Red Envelope, ..."

    Funny thing is that the h1 tag for my page is "my site's name shops the Red Envelope Online Store". This is followed on my page with a h2 tag of "Find the best deals at RedEnvelope.com", and that is followed by a paragraph starting off with, "If you're shopping at Red Envelope".

    When I visit the page displaying my copy as its descriptive text, I don't find any of my copy. When I view the source code I don't find my copy or any mention of my page. When I navigate all the way through this site even I don't find links or anything to my page.

    The same things happen with the #5 result (same web page) except that its not related to my RedEnvelope page, but my Mrs Fields page ("my site's name Gift Shopping. Mrsq Field Shopping for gifts can take soo Mrqs Field much ... Mrs Fielr Gift Basket at RedEnvelope Mrs Fieldr www.redenvelope.com. ..")

    I am a real stickler for correct spelling, so all the typos above aren't coming from me. Does anyone know what is going on? It doesn't seem right to me.
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  2. #2
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    Sounds like your site is getting scraped.
    [URL=http://themoneyforums.com]The Money Forums[/URL]

  3. #3
    Member lschofield's Avatar
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    After I posted this, that phrase came back to my mind, and I'm going to research the topic. Is it a bad thing? What can you do and should you bother? Is there a thread like scrapers 101 here anyone can point me to? Thanks so much!
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  4. #4
    Classic Rocker Mack's Avatar
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  5. #5
    Member lschofield's Avatar
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    Thanks!

    The thing I can't figure out though is how my copy shows up in google's description, but not even in the code for this other site. I'm going to put the warnings up on my site about the protection from your link, and I guess I'm just surprised, because really my site doesn't have that much copy yet. Its very much a work in progress at the very early stages! Also - its a coupon site...
    Last edited by lschofield; May 9th, 2007 at 05:04 PM. Reason: wanted to add to comment
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  6. #6
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    The thing I can't figure out though is how my copy shows up in google's description, but not even in the code for this other site.
    Either they changed it since their site was last spidered, or...

    (Most likely) They are using cloaking. Cloaking is a "high risk" black-hat-SEO method. In short, they show the spiders a different page than they show humans. It's high risk because it's very bannable.

    Google claims to hate cloaking, and it's often said that sites can get banned from the index for doing it. Other engines don't like it either. Usually I wouldn't say "file a spam report," but when the other site is begging so hard for a business-Darwin Award...no point in depriving them.

    And mainly, they should have kept their mitts off your stuff. If they get banned, at least their theft won't do them any good.

    I guess I'm just surprised, because really my site doesn't have that much copy yet. Its very much a work in progress at the very early stages! Also - its a coupon site...
    The scraper-bots can't tell one site from another. It's like an SE spider, only with no ranking algo on the backend. Unfortunately, they can't read, either, so they probably will be unaffected by copyright warnings.

    I am a real stickler for correct spelling, so all the typos above aren't coming from me.
    It's probably a hokey way to try to avoid the dup-content filters. Or, they're intentionally trying to SEO for the typo versions of those terms.
    Last edited by Leader; May 9th, 2007 at 06:13 PM.

  7. #7
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    [URL=http://themoneyforums.com]The Money Forums[/URL]

  8. #8
    Member lschofield's Avatar
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    Thought I'd give an update on the situation. I've continued to learn from this and monitor it (sometimes purely out of curiousity) in between continuing to build / improve my site, work on affiliate relationships, be a parent to my kids (my raison d'etre in affiliate marketing in the 1st place...)

    I reported this guy's first site that I found to Google, which promptly removed that particular domain from their index. When I looked at that site in Alexa, and more particularly at the incoming links, I saw that he is doing what apparently alot of site-scrapers do - operating a big circle of interconnecting domains.

    This guy operates an "online dictionary site" as his central point. That site has an Alexa ranking just outside of the top 100,000 and has shown traffic growth of over 200% in the past 3 months. Majority of links to this site are various domains owned by him with the same template (gradient background google adwords, affiliate links, no content - only difference b/t sites is the yellow text appearing at the top of the page for blahblahblah.org or blahdeeblah.com, etc...)

    He advertises several online betting program affiliate partnerships, such as Ladbrokes, that are perfectly legit. However, many affiliate relationships that he maintains state in their TOS that they don't want to be promoted by sites also promoting "gambling", which I would put Ladbrokes and the like in that category. His copyright infringement (site scraping) also puts him in violation of most TOS agreements I would think. Finally, I even noticed one of his domains doing a redirect to the affiliate straight from the title in his search engine result (cookie stuffing?...)

    I've made LinkShare, Performics, and I believe CommissionJunction, as well as yahoo, google, msn, and ask.com aware of him. Both Yahoo and Ask thanked me for the tip and said they were investigating. This is all that I have heard. I even attempted to contact the AM direct for the company I caught him cookie stuffing for - no response (did this through LinkShare's interface, perhaps not an effective way to make contact). I'm surprised frankly at how SE's seem to be oblivious to workings like his, and affiliate programs are also turning a blind eye. I let some of his legitimate backlinks know about him. They (many were teachers websites through their schools online portals) promptly removed their link (I think he bought out legit domains with pre-existing backlinks, then replaced with his template)

    The guy continues to scrape my site. I'm sure he's scraping others as well. What I'm wondering is - what about suing him? Class action style with webmasters from other scraped sites for copyright infringement and also with AMs for wrongfully gotten commissions... Has anyone heard of something like this being successul (Mr. scraper is in Australia btw)? Is this thinking naughty, or would it be a good message (and hopefully a deterrent) to people who would give affiliate marketing a bad name, etc...

    With his traffic levels, I'm sure his Google adwords are successful. I also know that he is making affiliate commissions. One of his relationships recently deactivated a large number of non-producing affiliates in a big spring-cleaning (I know because I was one of those unfortunates). I worked with the AM to get restored in the program. Mr. Scraper's affiliate links were unscathed during this process however... leading me to believe he is a producer. He has several other active affiliate links on his site that I know regular shake off non-producers.

    As I sat here thinking about how much money he must be making, and what a scam-artist he is, I came up with the idea of suing him. Opinions anyone? Many thanks.
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  9. #9
    Member lschofield's Avatar
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    I've spoken to an attorney this morning, who said that jurisdiction might be a problem as the offender is in Australia. He has recommended the cease and desist (sp?), courtesy copying him on the correspondance.
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  10. #10
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    My Site Too?
    I used lschofield technique as well and was astounded at what I found. Is anyone familiar with pssdir.com? My site shows up on their site -- free advertising you ask, NOT! The site is there, along with many others --- as hidden text. I emailed them without giving my specific site to ask what was going on -- and specifically mentioned the "hidden text" issue, this is what I got as a reply -- paraphrased: "We show related websites so that people interested in related resources may access them from our pages."

    Not a happy camper. Would suggest some of you do the same, for example, try google for "pssdir kohls" --- you will get the type of page I saw, though not what you expect. View source, and look at the links. Sooooo, any suggestions...

    PlaneLady

  11. #11
    Unhappy Complaints about pssdir
    I came across the PlaneLady1st complaint about pssdir (www.pssdir.com). Just to let you know, I am a cofounder of the company Septet Systems Inc., the company that runs pssdir (for Personal Search Syndication directory). Our aim is to enable anybody with web access to assemble collections of Web information about a given topic and store the collections onto a shared database to facilitate knowledge sharing. It is not our intention to spam anybody, defeat search engines, steal other people's web content, or do other bad things. As for PlaneLady1st's complaint:
    1) I would like this person to contact me personally at bepstein (at) septetsystems.com
    2) Explain precisely the problem encountered.

    Note that we have indeed been cut off from Google's indexing in the last few days. I do not know if it is the result of PlaneLady1st's complaint or due to an unrelated technical matter. Note that the Planelady1st complaint is the first time we have heard of a complaint about our service that is somehow related to page display. The Google cut off has been very disruptive to our attempt to run a business as we attempt to roll out new services that will be of great interest and use to the internet community at large. We therefore take any complaints very seriously.

    Ben Epstein
    Chairman and Co founder, Septet Systems Inc.

  12. #12
    Member lschofield's Avatar
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    Benatabestweb,

    I doubt that any complaints alone would've gotten you removed from Google. During my research, I've found that Google won't do anything to a specific site. They use sites that were complained about (and that genuinely are spam) as an example to update their algos. Of course, this is just my supposition from what I've read online.

    At one point my site was removed from Google's index. I started using server-side includes, and had to switch all of my htmls to shtmls. Apparently alot of 301 redirects get you in trouble as I found out (even though that's not supposed to be a problem). When I removed those I was back in the index.

    I'd have a look at things like duplicate content, redirects, or anything else that may be perceived as 'spammy'. The web would be even more cut-throat if search engine inclusion was based on tip-offs!

    Afterthought - you might want to remove the link to your site Benatabestweb. I don't think thats permitted here, but I could be wrong. Have a look at the TOS. I'm a newbie as well, and am still learning...
    Last edited by lschofield; July 4th, 2007 at 05:29 PM. Reason: made an inclusion
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  13. #13
    Google block
    Lschofield:

    Thanks very much for your suggestions and encouragement. I will discuss this with our programmer. This Google mess has us very upset and I always feared being overly dependent on them, for whatever (like ads!). Just another reason why governments worldwide might have to reign them in.

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