Google
 
Web smallbusinessbrief.com

View Full Version : Page hijacked


jmjj215
6th October 2004, 08:59 AM
I use a third-party to keep track of my page stats. I was looking over the "keyword analysis" report that lets me know what keyword phrases landed people on my site. I have only submitted my index page to engines/ppc sites. Yesterday, however, I saw that the landing page for a click from MSN went to a different site alltogether.

I followed the search term and it brought me to MSN where I think I'm 9th for this keyword phrase. Low and behold, There was my site, with my title, my page copy, my everything, but the URL was to othersite.com.

They've stolen my page. They even stole the statcounter js I use to track visitors along with it.

Does anyone have any experience with this? I'm somewhat distraught.

Robert
6th October 2004, 09:37 AM
Hi Jesse,

Post the search term you used to find the other site so we can take a look.

Old Welsh Guy
6th October 2004, 11:33 AM
Hi Jesse,

copy theft is very common these days, we have to deal with it all the time. People Like Robret And Karon (copywriter) have to contend with it even more. It is not a long term problem, a simple few emails can put it right. You just have to be sure it is your stuff, and that it is not a screw up from your hosting company. Have they copied your page 100%? or have they doctored it to look like their own page, with their own logo etc?

jmjj215
6th October 2004, 12:51 PM
They haven't changed my site, or altered it just slightly. It appears as my site only in the search engine results. Once you click on "my page" it immediately sends you to their page. Here's a link:

http://search.msn.com/results.aspx?FORM=SMCRT&q=groupeverstar

I couldn't find the exact search term that was used but this shows the result I saw last night.

Also, this link is pretty interesting - seeing as how it is now happening on Yahoo:

http://search.yahoo.com/search?p=%22personal+finance+excel+spreadsheets%22&csz=Glendale%2C+AZ&sm=Yahoo%21+Search&fr=FP-tab-web-t-151&toggle=1

I'm not even listed for my main page on MSN or Yahoo anymore. And I was #1 for a few keywords. It appears that I am there, but then it goes to this bogus site. Starting to get mad.

StupidScript
6th October 2004, 02:39 PM
It looks like an issue with the DNS records for the two sites. You both use Dotster and NS.GLOBALNAMESERVERS.COM and NS2.GLOBALNAMESERVERS.COM.

Probably when the tech added groupeverstar to the name servers, they made a typo which causes spiders to associate your content with their domain. The change was made in May 2004, so you are probably seeing the results of recent spider activity.

Checking http://www.copyscape.com , amusingly, your copy is indicated as being duped from groupeverstar, and not the other way around.

Contact Dotster to get to the bottom of it. Most likely a DNS error on their part. There is not really anything groupeverstar could do intentionally to hijack your search results like that.

Edit: I cannot "ping" either site although both return IP addresses in the same Class A block, which could be illustrative of the DNS snafu theory. Good chance that the records are OK for one DNS and incorrect for the second one.

Edit2: Can't "ping" your website's IP address, either. Maybe a problem with your host's router.

StupidScript
6th October 2004, 02:47 PM
On a side note, Overture/Yahoo provides results to MSN.

Yahoo has been making some serious errors in their index during the past few months as they integrate the engineering department from Overture with their own.

Our own websites were amazing screwed up in the index, requiring us to work for many hours directly with Yahoo techs to clean up their index, entry by entry. (Searching for one of our domain names sans www. or .com turned up pages from ALL of our domains with the title, description, and file name from the domain searched for. They really messed that crawl up.)

Perhaps it is a Yahoo spider snafu? Hard to tell until the DNS issue is explored.

jmjj215
6th October 2004, 05:35 PM
Thanks for the tip SS. I emailed dotster about the problem. I hope to hear back from them soon. There are quite a few large threads about this on webmasterworld.com that make this sound as if sites do this intentionally with some type of a redirect so they can be very high ranked temporarily. But you say there is no way this would be possible?

If dotster doesn't respond with some helpful information, would my next step be to contact the registrant of groupeverstar.com?

Robert
6th October 2004, 05:56 PM
There are quite a few large threads about this on webmasterworld.com that make this sound as if sites do this intentionally with some type of a redirect so they can be very high ranked temporarily.

Jesse,

If you have the URLs for those threads handy, feel free to post them. I remember reading some of those and I thought the intentional highjacking was a Google-specific issue. I could be wrong though. If you don't have the thread URLs handy, I'll see if I can dig them up.

(Oh, in case anyone was wondering, it's fine to post links to other forum threads if it helps members and visitors.)

StupidScript
7th October 2004, 04:39 PM
Jesse,

The main issue is: why did Yahoo associate your titles and descriptions with the other guy's site? It's like that in their index.

There really is no way to accomplish such a trick from a client perspective. It's got to be a problem with (a) the addressing (DNS, router, etc.) or (b) the spider/index programming.

My bet's still on the addressing.

BTW, I started a thread at SearchEngineForums (http://www.jimworld.com/apps/webmaster.forums/action::thread/thread::1085003377/forum::Yahoo/) months ago when Yahoo got all of our sites screwed up, as I described above. Not a single person replied with a similar problem, so I figured it was only a problem for me, somehow. If you know of threads where more than one person related this issue, I DEFinitely would like to check them out.

More data = better chance of spotting patterns.

Old Welsh Guy
7th October 2004, 04:52 PM
Yahoo has serious issues with following 'goto' type links. it sometimes ends up indexing the page with the goto link on as the cache of the page it points to. It then removes one or the other as duplicate content.

Robert
7th October 2004, 05:18 PM
James,

What you described in the SearchEngineForums thread is similar to what happened to Search Engine Guide in Yahoo.

I was finding search results that brought up Search Engine Guide's title, description, etc. but with the URL of another site. In each case it was a site that was linking to Search Engine Guide. Search Engine Guide showed in the cache. The difference is that clicking the other site's link would bring you to Search Engine Guide because they were using a redirect to link to me.

To get help, I wrote to [email protected] and explained the problem and I referenced the following threads over at Webmaster World:

http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum35/1807.htm
http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum35/1845.htm

In about two weeks I had a response back from Yahoo explaining that it was an indexing problem where the referring link was preferred to the actual destination URL. It was fixed soon after.

Robert
7th October 2004, 05:23 PM
This is the "How to Boot Someone Out of Google" thread at Webmaster World:

http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum3/25638.htm

There is another, just not sure where.

Robert
7th October 2004, 05:37 PM
Jesse,

I think James is right about it being a DNS issue.

Just a thought... if the DNS wires are really crossed, wouldn't a change to youneedabudget.com immediatly be visible on groupeverstar.com? Jesse, put today's date at the bottom of your home page next to "Contact Us" and let's see what happens.

jmjj215
7th October 2004, 08:41 PM
Robert,
I call a .txt file to do the footer. I didn't know if that would mess up your test (I'm a bit confused about how the test would work or what it would tell us), so I put the date to the right of my name at the bottom of my sample newsletter.
Would you mind expanding on what doing this will show? I'm not too savvy when it comes to the more complicated web stuff (goto link, redirects - have no idea what those are).

When I go to groupeverstar.com I just see a "coming soon" page - not my page. How would the date change on my page be apparent at groupeverstar.com?

Another observation: on entering "personal finance excel spreadsheets" in yahoo, I check out the cached page listed at the url: groupeverstar.com/index.php - the page is not my current page. But the images on the page are very current (it was when I changed the color from gray to blue). That's pretty interesting that it picked up the new images (such as my logo also) but not a lot of stuff that I took off in the html, such as the free advice box on the right or the "personal finance" "excel spreadsheets" at the top. Images are new, everything else is still pretty old.

And lastly, when I do a search for just groupeverstar.com it brings up a TON of my pages (howit.php, step5.php, faq.php, sugread.php, etc.). This really does make it look like an error on Yahoo's part, doesn't it?

Okay, really this is the last bit. Now when I go to groupeverstar.com I no longer get the register.com "coming soon" bit, I see my page. Fully updated, with all of the changes. Some of the changes I just made yesterday.

Robert
7th October 2004, 09:06 PM
Is this the change you just made:

"May your dollars be many and debts non-existent,
Jesse Mecham | 7 Oct 2004"

That's what I noticed was different on groupeverstar.com from the cached (in my browser) page I was looking at earlier.

My idea was that if changes you make on your site show up immediately on groupeverstar.com, then it's not them stealing your content. It has to be James' idea about the DNS.

I'll have to let James explain the DNS tech stuff.

(The good news is we are making progress)

StupidScript
7th October 2004, 10:08 PM
Well well well ... looks like Dotster responds to customer emails, after all! The bummer is ... they misinterpreted your request, Jesse. I'm sorry, but I'm giggling, right now ... while acknowledging the humongous pain in the butt it is for you.

Here is the result of a pair of "pings" I did about 30 seconds ago:
====start ping results====
[[email protected] james]$ ping youneedabudget.com
PING youneedabudget.com (216.147.122.243) 56(84) bytes of data.

--- youneedabudget.com ping statistics ---
4 packets transmitted, 0 received, 100% packet loss, time 2999ms

[[email protected] james]$ ping groupeverstar.com
PING groupeverstar.com (216.147.122.243) 56(84) bytes of data.

--- groupeverstar.com ping statistics ---
4 packets transmitted, 0 received, 100% packet loss, time 3069ms
====end ping results====

Anyone notice something odd? Yep ... now BOTH of your IP addresses are identical at the dominant DNS! Which is apparently the one assigned to YOU! As far as the web is concerned, you are the same site ... so they're gone, man. Way gone. At least all of the links from Google will end up at your site, despite the funky name.

Jesse, get on the phone to Dotster, if you can. As soon as they answer it, try to get them to change the DNS record. My heart goes out to you, bro'.

---Quick DNS Tutorial---

Computers connect through the network wires ... but which one is which?
Telephones connect through the same network(s) ... but which one is which?
Telephones have "numbers".
Computers have "numbers" AND "addresses" ... but which numbers go with which address?

Some of these answers can be found in the phone book ... for others, we need to look to other directories. These directories are called "name servers". Name Servers store associations between the number that identifies a computer's connection to the network with a name for easy access.

Instead of needing to publicize "216.147.122.243" as your home page, you can use "YouNeedABudget.com", which is "mapped" to 216.147.122.243 and recorded in the Internet's Name Servers ... the Domain Name Servers ... a group of "DNS" which regularly and frequently communicate with each other to keep everyone's information as current as possible.

In Jesse's case, the two Dotster DNSs are not set up correctly for his and the conflicting domain's names. (One of the two DNSs is dominant due to traffic and other factors, and the other a backup until it becomes dominant because of traffic and other factors ... it's a little fluid ...)

BOTH DNSs should have identical information. Often, this kind of "mirroring" is accomplished through programmatic means (when a change is made on one machine, a program runs that copies the change to the other machine) ... but not always. Sometimes entries are made manually, and typos happen.

---- End of DNS Tutorial ----

We'll see what happens when Dotster gets things ironed out. After that, it's gonna be fun to get the SEs back into shape.

Power to ya, Jesse! :looney:

jmjj215
8th October 2004, 08:33 AM
SS, the tutorial was enlightening.

I called dotster who told me it was a host issue. So I called my host. Apparently groupeverstar.com used to be a client of theirs but they jumped ship and didn't take the name with them - it also hadn't expired. So the IP was there for the taking when I signed on in July. Basically, that name is just pointing to my pages as if I were operating under multiple domain names. (If I understood the owner of the hosting company when he explained it). I think there must still be some live links through which the spiders found groupeverstar and then indexed it. The host removed them completely from the nameservers so it should be a day or so before that's done.

As far as the SEs go (yahoo) - would that then mean that all of their listings for me will point nowhere? I think I need to contact yahoo next to make sure their listings for ynab actually point to youneedabudget.com

This has been interesting. Thanks for all of your help. Is my thinking finally correct?

StupidScript
8th October 2004, 10:44 AM
Whew!

IF the Yahoo index entries return "youneedabudget.com" AND all of the addressing (at the DNS) ends up at your server AND the "last mile" addressing (at your host) points to your web page directory, then the Yahoo links will go to your site.

IF the Yahoo index entries return "groupeverstar.com" AND all of the addressing ends up at your server AND there are no longer "last mile" addressing entries that point to a web page directory for that domain, then the Yahoo links will dead end. This might be a little vexing, as your title and descriptions will still be associated with the now-dead links, perhaps leading to some negative associations for you from potential (and stymied) visitors.

To clean up the Yahoo index, perhaps working with them as Robert described earlier will be successful. Perhaps you will need to take a bit of a traffic hit for a couple of weeks (?) and exclude the Yahoo spider from your site with an .htaccess file or use of the "robots" META tag. When the spider next visits, it will purge existing entries as a result of that instruction. When this has happened, adjust your .htacess file or your META tags to allow the spider back in to your site, and it will include you, once again and correctly in its index.

It looks like you're on the road to recovery, Jesse. :)

Edit: Jesse, I had guessed that the DNSs were being maintained by Dotster, where they indicated to you that they were being maintained by your hosting company. Either way, as long as SOMEone makes the corrections, you'll be okay.

jmjj215
8th October 2004, 11:40 AM
I've been searching with multiple and varied keyword phrases to see if I can get groupeverstar.com to appear and it isn't. Even for the initial keyword phrase that set me off, now only youneedabudget.com appears. I'll monitor it closely but it looks as if it took care of itself..

StupidScript
8th October 2004, 01:44 PM
groupeverstar.com is still in the Yahoo index (search for it) however this is no longer a problem for you, as the DNS points to your site and your customers will arrive at the proper location. groupeverstar.com is synonymous with youneedabudget.com, for the time being.

Yay! You got an additional, FREE domain, for awhile!