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Blackmail Directories


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8 replies to this topic

#1 qwerty

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 08:46 AM

This just disgusts me.

 

We have an internal page on one of our sites that's been doing a lot better in organic search since we did some work on it about seven or eight months ago, and in the last three months or so, it's been doing a lot better. I've been very pleased with the growth in traffic, the variety of queries bringing searchers to the page, and the number of conversions we've been getting there.

 

Someone apparently noticed that, and decided to try to hurt us by pointing a bunch of trashy directory links at the page. According to Majestic, the page had 100 backlinks as of July 9, and many of those were just internal links from our site. A week later, Majestic reported 218 links, and that number has continued to grow. As of this morning, it's 764 links from 189 domains on 29 referring IPs.

 

That last number is very telling. The vast majority of these links are coming from identical directories: same templates, same database, same listing for my page -- they're all even using backslashes in their snippets for the listing to escape an apostrophe in the meta description they're scraping.

 

They also have this in common: on every individual listing page, they include a PayPal button with the text

If you wish to remove this link. Please use above paypal button to pay $5 administration fee and link will be removed automatically once paid.

 

That appears to be the reason these directories exist -- to blackmail site owners into paying to have links from them removed. And if you're foolish enough to pay to have a listing taken down, there's nothing stopping them from replacing that one with 1000 more.

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#2 Jill

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 08:50 AM

Wow. I sure hope nobody is dumb enough to fall for that, yet I imagine that many will. 



#3 qwerty

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 09:06 AM

I can't believe that very many people are even going to notice that they're listed there, and only a small number of those people will see it as a problem. Of those, there might be just a handful who'll fall for the scam, but that might be enough to make this a profitable venture, especially since it's so easy to scale. If you ever wondered why anyone would buy up thousands of domain names...



#4 torka

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 09:56 AM

Maybe this is what the folks behind the Domain Registry of America scam are getting into now that ICANN has suspended them? :hmm:

 

--Torka :oldfogey:


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#5 Michael Martinez

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 10:16 AM

If'n it were happening to me, I would just forward the list of sites to the spam team at Google.


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#6 qwerty

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 11:01 AM

That's an interesting thought. All I've been doing is updating my disavow list every few days, but it would be great if the engines just decided to ignore anything found on any of those domains.



#7 Jill

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 01:08 PM

Google probably already ignores anything from a page that says "If you wish to remove this link."



#8 qwerty

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 02:14 PM

That would make sense. I've only been spot checking, but I'm finding that a site: search on these domains tends to come up with no results. I'd like to believe Google already knows they're garbage and I don't have to concern myself with them, but I'm playing it safe and disavowing them.



#9 Michael Martinez

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 03:55 PM

I don't normally go out of my way to report spam to Google but every now and then someone insists on getting in my face and, believe me, I have absolutely no qualms about sending Google a detailed list of sites that are in my face.  If you can show that people are really hurting innocents the spam team will take action.  I have seen them remove an entire malware network very quickly.


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