WhenU Still Gaming Google In Other Ways

from the sneaky-sneaky-sneaky dept

Last week there was some news concerning Google and Yahoo’s decision to ban WhenU’s sites after it was determined that they were purposely using “cloaking” methods to get better rankings in their search results. WhenU quickly blamed an outside search engine optimizer. Jeremy Wagstaff points us to an updated story by Ben Edelman showing what looks like even more gaming of search engines by WhenU. It turns out that WhenU (possibly against copyright) has made many copies of 26 news articles favorable to them and placed them across 12 different websites owned by WhenU. This way, when Google is searching it picks up multiple copies with the theory being that these positive articles are more likely to show up in a search than any of the many negative articles about the company’s practices.

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Comments on “WhenU Still Gaming Google In Other Ways”

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Ben Edelman (user link) says:

Today's Update: WhenU Removed the Article Copies

Today WhenU removed the article copies from its sites.
From WhenU’s removal of the articles, I infer that WhenU lacked authorization to reproduce the articles. If WhenU had previously obtained license to reproduce the articles, I would not expect WhenU to remove the articles when they began to get increased attention. In contrast, had WhenU failed to obtain authorization to reproduce the articles, I would expect WhenU to remove the articles upon public discussion of their existence — the outcome in fact observed here.
Details and lots of screenshots at http://www.benedelman.org/spyware/whenu-copy/.
Ben Edelman

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