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Indexing Password Protected Content


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35 replies to this topic

#31 Mel

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Posted 05 August 2003 - 12:35 PM

Why is this important?  Even if the engines could index a password-protected site, the fact that content is password-protected influences whether they would like to index it and where they would like to rank it.  By hiding from the engine the fact that the content is password-protected, the content ends up being ranked inappropriately...

Interesting theory Alan, can you point me to something that explains more clearly why the same content would/should be ranked differently because it is password protected?

#32 Alan Perkins

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Posted 05 August 2003 - 12:53 PM

Why can't I use another method like providing a link say in the site map that goes to that same page without needing a password? I can let the search engines see what the users can see can't I??

Yes. And if you do that, no problem. But that's not what we're discussing.

This thread broke off from your own description of this technique as ethical cloaking. I agree it could be achieved via cloaking. I don't agree it's ethical, as at least one of the parties (definitely the search engine and also, IMO, the searcher) is treated with less respect than it deserves.

All so that a Webmaster can demand some kind of payment from a searcher for viewing content which the search engine that sent that searcher thought was freely available.

#33 Mel

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Posted 05 August 2003 - 01:10 PM

Yes Alan that was where we started but right now we are discussing if the search engines and the searchers should be able to see the same page without penalty, and the particular post was in response to a post that said the only way to do it was to cloak.

Is it so bad that webmasters want some return on their investment? Search engines expect some return on their investment.

I did not know the search engines thought all pages were free. Are links from Yahoo, Looksmart or Overture free? Are there not quite a few commercial sites that charge for content (and yes you can find links to those pages) and for products they sell. Are trusted feeds and PFI free pages? Should they not them be stripped from the index? Or does it depend on which way the money is flowing?

I admire your idealism Alan, but I think my customers deserve more from me than mindless obediance to several sets of constantly changing but upublished rules.

#34 Alan Perkins

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Posted 05 August 2003 - 01:20 PM

Yes Alan that was where we started but right now we are discussing if the search engines and the searchers should be able to see the same page without penalty, and the particular post was in response to a post that said the only way to do it was to cloak.

The way you described allowed both searchers and search engines to see the same content, so it was not germane to this discussion.

Is it so bad that webmasters want some return on their investment?

Yes, if they use deception to get it! Is it so bad that searchers should see what the search engine saw, when the site is being listed in that search engine for nothing?

I said a couple of times that if you had a commercial arrangement with the search engine, informed them what you were doing and allowed them to rank you accordingly (e.g. using an XML feed) that might be OK. It would be up to the engine to decide.

My purpose in carrying on this debate isn't to "win" it, it's simply to make clear the ethics, deception and risk involved in doing what you advocate. If you think that's mindless, you're welcome to your opinion, but I don't share it. omg

#35 Mel

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Posted 05 August 2003 - 01:31 PM

Alan risk I can agree somewhat on, but eithics and deception are just too far off the mark. :learn: There are no authorized rules of ethics, and I simply fail to see how a user being able to find a page in the search engine that is identical to the one the spider saw is deception.

In other words neither of us has to be right, but either of should be free to express an opinion without being characterized as either deceitful or unethical.

I do not wish to dignify this discussion by posting further.

#36 Alan Perkins

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Posted 05 August 2003 - 01:38 PM

OK. Thread closed. omg




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