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Old 02-16-2005   #1
DaveAtIFG
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Evidence of Progress with Redirects/Hijacks?

Liane at http://www.bareboatsbvi.com/ is a long time friend, many of you may know her nick from WmW. She emailed a few days ago mildly concerned about a backlink. She asked specifically about this listing:

BVI Photos - British Virgin Islands
Photo directory of the British Virgin Islands including Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Jost
Van Dyke, Anegada, Beef Island, August Festival, BVI beaches, events and more ...
www. island-search.com/go.php?id=3034 - 17k - Supplemental Result - Cached - Similar pages

returned by this search:
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&i...reboatsbvi.com

I noticed some interesting things:
1. When I click on/follow the link in the Google SERP, it goes directly to Liane's site bypassing the listed domain, island-search.com.
2. Also, when I follow the Google link, I see a 204 "No Content" Response code. (I've NEVER seen this used before, but perhaps I simply never noticed.)
3. Google's cache of the "island-search.com" page displays Liane's site, sans images.
4. If I surf directly to the URL included in Google's listing (www .island-search.com/go.php?id=3034), I see a 302 response code.
5. A not very thorough search of the island-search.com site revealed two "normal" links to Liane's site, both return a 200 response.

All of this suggests an attempted hijack that was blocked by Google to me. But I'm easily confused...

(Perhaps the fact that Liane's site uses absolute addressing globally is noteworthy or relevant.)

What do ya'll think?

Last edited by DaveAtIFG : 02-16-2005 at 09:54 PM.
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Old 02-16-2005   #2
seomike
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wow looks like it is a catch.
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Old 02-17-2005   #3
JeremyL
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I see everything you are seeing except for #2. Can you explain in detail what you are doing to get this response?

Also can you explain how this shows google doing any thing about the redirects? Looks like biz as usual, or maybe I didn't understand the problem before.
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Old 02-17-2005   #4
DaveAtIFG
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I use HTTP Watch, an add in for Internet Explorer that incorporates HTTP monitoring into the browser. As I click/follow links with IE, header info associated with each link is displayed in a second window.

When clicking on a Google listing that displays a URL like www .island-search.com/go.php?id=3034, one would expect to be sent to the island-search domain. THIS Google listing sends you to bareboatsbvi.

Item 4 suggests an attempted hijack. That's NOT PROOF of malicious intent, many people unknowingly use scripts that return 302s. 302s have been reported to hijack a site for a very long time.

Following a "hijack listing" typically sends surfers to the hijacked content (bareboatsbvi's content for example) that appears to be at the hijacker's domain, in this case island-search. This listing does not.

The tool tip I see when I mouse over the "hijack listing" displays "http://www.island-search.com/go.php?id=3034" but surfing it sends me to directly to bareboatsbvi.com and HTTP Watch displays:
HTTP/1.1 204 No Content
Cache-Control: private
Content-Type: text/html
Server: GWS/2.1
Content-Length: 0
Date: Fri, 18 Feb 2005 01:48:53 GMT

Does that help JL?

Last edited by DaveAtIFG : 02-17-2005 at 10:03 PM.
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Old 02-17-2005   #5
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Yea, makes more sense with the http sniffer. I just haven't paid enough attention to successful highjackings to see the difference I guess. Been spending to much time at WMW where they dont allow urls
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Old 02-19-2005   #6
DaveAtIFG
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Liane emailed today asking if I thought she should contact the island-search webmaster and ask him to remove the 302 redirect to her site.

After considering, I realized what an elegant solution Google may be providing. In the past, a 302 redirect frequently caused the target/"hijacked site" to lose both PR and prominence in Google SERPs. If Google is actually implementing what my earlier posts describe across their entire index, a 302 redirect is no longer a liability to a "hijacked site." It becomes an asset!

For example, if a surfer happens upon and clicks on the island-search listing described earlier, they go directly to Liane's site. A "hijacker's" promotion efforts are now benefiting/sending traffic to their "victim's" site, regardless of whether the hijack is malicious or inadvertent!

If this proves to be Google's response to 302 redirect problems, I gotta say, "NICE JOB Google! Even though it took you forever to implement it."

FYI, I suggested that Liane simply keep an eye on the listing for now and see how things develop.

Last edited by DaveAtIFG : 02-19-2005 at 02:20 PM.
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