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Why Are Marketing Companies Creating Duplicate/Redirect Pages to My Site?

Posted on 2004-11-01
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Last Modified: 2013-11-28
I've been trying to get to the bottom of some potential reasons for a Yahoo ban, one of which points to the fact that an internet marketing company went out and made duplicate / redirect url pages of my web site without my consent or approval.  In the search listings, my legitimate url was shown at the top of the listings and then their's showed up at the fourth and fifth listing.  When the surfer clicked on the title, it took the surfer to my site but unkowningly to them through the offending marketing's company server first via a redirect url.  No wonder Yahoo, a competitor or anyone else thought I was trying to create gateway pages.  Anyway, I got banned and I believe this is the reason.  So lets assume it is for now.
By the way, it appears as though they have now been banned as well.  I guess Yahoo caught on to what they were doing.

Anyway, my first assumption was, since my site was popular and highly ranked, that they had done this to spy on my traffic, what search terms were being used, where visitors went and so on.  However, I recently created a brand new site that would not have yet had a chance to gain visibility.  I followed through to where a back link came from - the web site had a sponsored listing section which included my new site.  The link to my site, however, was a url from the same .com company that I've had trouble with before including that the link was done in the same strange encoding that the ones that caused me trouble with Yahoo had been.  I'm afraid this newly created redirect that they've done will cause me trouble with my new site now just like it had been before with the others that got banned.

A key clue here, all the sites, both old and new, were being advertised via some pay per click services including 7search, GoClick and FindWhat.  I'm currently trying to start an exchange with them regarding this matter.

Now I'm wondering what is behind all this ....

Why Are Marketing Companies Creating Duplicate/Redirect Pages to My Site?

Is it to spy on visitor traffic, is it to get pay per click revenues or what.

I do know having my sites banned has been very costly both regarding my time and my finances.  I've actually had a question answered on how to address the duplicate pages after the fact that has been helpful, but what I'm looking for today is why they are doing it to start with and how can I prevent problems from it in the future.  I'd also love to know if I could simply ban their ip as a way to prevent/stop the redirects to start with.  I'd also love to be able to resolve this issue without having to yank all my pay per click advertising, if this is the root of the issue. I'd appreciate any help you have to offer regarding this troubling and harmful issue.
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Question by:ontrackprofessionals
    6 Comments
     
    LVL 24

    Expert Comment

    by:duz
    ontrackprofessionals -

    When you say "internet marketing company" do you mean an affiliate?

    What is "the same strange encoding"?

    >Why Are Marketing Companies Creating Duplicate/Redirect Pages to My Site?

    It could be an enthusiastic affiliate redirecting traffic to your site with a 302 and a tracking code. That is one possible legitimate reason but there are also many others including malicious reasons.

    - duz
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    Author Comment

    by:ontrackprofessionals
    By internet marketing company I mean one that offers search engine optimization services as well as they have pay per click affiliations with the pay per click search engines where when they post that pay per click companies sponsored listings feed they get a percentage of the profits from vistors who click on that link.  An example program would be Google AdWords (but Google AdWords is not involved in any way with this case).  

    Today, I found my web site that I promote via a small pay per click search engine, the ad text came from an ad I placed with a pay per click search engine, however, it had a redirect url of the offending company, just like the one that showed up in the natural search listings that got me in trouble.  For example

    http://xxxxx.com/servlet/link?link=P_MzMzMzMzMAAAABAAAXeAAAAAAAAAAAABhkaXNjb3VudHBldG1lZGljaW5lcy5jb20Bf7Ftg9IMiAAEcGV0cwAAAAI_rrhR64UeuAAAAAD7Cgvd3j-MzM0AA3htbACOaHR0cDovL21ldGEuN3NlYXJjaC5jb20vc2NyaXB0cy9yZWRpcmVjdC5hc3A

    I've hidden the true .com for now but the rest is just like their link.  I realize that pay per click search engines and their affiliates may create redirect links but the difference here is that these links are getting picked up by Yahoo just like they are my web site and then showing up in the natural listings along with mine so it looks like I'm trying to create gateway pages.



     
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    LVL 24

    Expert Comment

    by:duz
    ontrackprofessionals -

    OK so from what I understand of what you say this is not a 302 redirect problem but a problem whereby the search engine are indexing affiliates pages with tracking codes appended. I have never had to deal with this problem but I can think of at least one solution I might try.

    Redirect search engine spider requests which 'include a query string' to the same URL 'but with a blank query string'.  Something like this perhaps: (If you do try this please get an expert in 'mod rewrites' to verify because they are extremely complex)

    RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} ^Mozilla/.*(Ask\ Jeeves¦Slurp/¦ZealBot¦Zyborg/)
    RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} .
    RewriteRule (.*) http://www.example.com/$1? [R=301,L]

    Another possibility is to put something like this in your robots.txt:

    User-agent: *
    Disallow: /firstfewlettersofthetrackingcode

    My main point though would be that your 'marketing company' should not have created this problem in the first place and having done so now owe you a full explanation.

    - duz




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    Author Comment

    by:ontrackprofessionals
    Thank you for the input duz.  It doesn't actually appear to be the direct fault of the pay per click
    service I'm using but rather one of it's affiliates.  However, it can be argued that they should have better control over what thier affiliates are doing.  Once I began to pin point the pay per click redirect code as a potential cause of all this, I started quite the investigative exchange with the parent company yesterday.  I think this issue is something they didn't realize was happening, so it will be interesting to hear what they say about how they are going to respond to the affiliates careless practices.
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    LVL 24

    Accepted Solution

    by:
    ontrackprofessionals -

    I will be interested in what they say.  Although I personally have not experienced this problem it does seem to happen more often than it should. Sometimes it is accidental and sometimes it is not.  For example in the situation that you describe above "When the surfer clicked on the title, it took the surfer to my site but unknowingly to them through the offending marketing's company server first via a redirect url".  This would mean that they were generating revenue from the organic listings at your expense, even more so when you were dropped by Yahoo for duplicate content. Anyway please keep us posted...

    I think the reason it doesn't happen to my clients may be because we monitor their sites for duplicate content and copyright theft.  The moment we see it we send out a batch of DMCAs and if that doesn't work follow them up with further legal action.  This is a useful tool for finding plagiarists http://www.copyscape.com/

    - duz
    0
     

    Author Comment

    by:ontrackprofessionals
    Thank you Duz for the helpful copyscape.com information, I've already caught someone duplicating an article I wrote.
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