Nobody tries to steal your hubpages web or search engine traffic – Please stop panicking

Image by (c)Jim Linwood via flickr
Image by (c)Jim Linwood via flickr

Some days ago I came across a real weird story distributed by at least two hubbers here at hubpages, that claimed that 'somebody' was stealing their web traffic by having had 'somehow' hacked either into their accounts, hubpages itself or even the Google search engine.

I scrolled down the comments and whilst one of them allows comments, at least some, from people that have a different opinion, the other blatantly states 'Some of the high-minded in the "forum dog pack" have tried to leave condescending comments on my hub but I won't allow it.'

Now, I am surely not part of a hubpages "forum dog pack" (whatever that is and if it really exists) but I do have something against people that don't want to listen to reason and logic and prefer to distribute hype and false information instead.

In short: Nobody tries to steal your traffic by redirecting your search results to their hubs, so please – stop panicking! Below is a long explanation of what had happened (and is still happening for that matter, because it is normal), what these hubbers did, how they denounced innocent fellow hubbers to the big search engines and hubpages themselves and what the correct technical explanation for all this is. And no, I will not reward them with a link back to their profiles or hub, nor will I expose them. But I will send them a message with this hubs url once it is finished in the hope that they start to see reason.

What happened in the first place

Both hubbers were monitoring the success of their hubs in the search engines and discovered that sometimes a search result included their profile name and hub title, but that the link would then lead to a completely different hub, that had nothing to do with their own hub or topic. And they started to panic and think that 'somebody somehow' managed to steal their traffic by redirecting the url of their hub to another one. None of them could specify what really was done to achieve that and which level of security (single hubpage, hubpages.com or the search engine itself) was compromised. So, in their infinite wisdom they started to report the hubs in question to Google and Yahoo and to hubpages itself.

This is the part I am really angry with. These guys didn't check their facts, didn't explore further explanations about what had happened, instead they went for the shot gun approach and denounced innocent fellow hubbers to the 'authorities'. As far as I can see, they not even contacted the hubbers in question first. And no, before you ask, I am not affected or anything, I am just angry because they are trying to damage the hubs and reputation of innocent people with their stupid accusations. And they are proud of it, oh yeah! And as some of the community showed them a more probable explanation than their 'hacking conspiracy', they just closed their eyes and ears, because it is much more fun to be the victim of a hater and hacker, than to just having gotten your facts wrong. Still with me? Good, because now I will explain

What really happened to the hubs, their urls and what caused the 'redirection'

The explanation to this is so simple that it really will cause a 'Duh!' moment when you get it. See the little, grey field on the right side, in the sidebar? The one entitled 'Related Hubs'? That is the culprit! No hack, no malicious redirect and no hatred against these poor victims of their own lack of knowledge. This field displays related hubs, related to what you write about, what you tag and what the hubpages algorithm itself thinks is related. And it shows it to both, human visitors and the bots send by the search engines.

And here is where hiccups can happen. Sometimes the search engine will display part of this related hub model in the search description, especially when you search for it and are logged in your Google account! Google wants to give you what you search for and these hubbers searched for both, their profile link and their hubpages titles and than where astonished when they got what they searched for, places were both or one of them appeared, in an excerpt of the Related Hubs capsule.

Similar things happened previously for me, when I was searching for my own images in Googles image searches and got presented with images that were not mine, but were clearly attributed to me in the search results and vice versa. The reason is that when it comes to dynamic website content like 'newest image' or 'most related hub' the search engines have a hard time to keep up with the ever changing content of dynamic webpages that use rss-feeds or similar to display and refresh contents. This delay in caching and presenting information to a searcher, causes the hiccup - not a hack!

Please feel free if you still have questions, or if you have more information or even a different opinion. Differently to the hubbers that started all this, I will approve also comments that don't agree with me – as long as you don't call me names ...

As a little add-on here some scenarios what one would have to do to

Stealing traffic from hubpages the hacker way

To recapitulate, the hubbers in question accused 'somebody' to redirect traffic from the original (their) url to another one inside the search engines in order to benefit from the increased traffic. In order to do so, the hack could have, theoretically, taken place on three levels, I leave it to you to decide if any of the scenarios below is a) realistic or b) practical:

Level 1: Single hubpage

No way, as hubbers and writers we can't inject any code apart of a few innocent html-tags into our own hubs, so even if 'somebody' hacks into our hubpages account, they can't do neither.

Level 2: hubpages.com

Yep, that would be the most probable place it could happen, some hacker could hack into the site itself and inject some code to make the site do things it isn't meant to do. BUT, do you really believe a hacker would then concentrate to just re-direct a few, selected hubs? Wouldn't it be more likely that they would try things with a bit more impact like re-directing the whole site, inject hidden links or similar? And don't you also think that hubpages is supervising closely the security of their business? So, yes, whilst it is possible that a hacker could have hacked into the site itself, it is highly unlikely that they would have done so for the meagre benefit of re-directing other hub urls to their own – something that would point back at them as the culprit like a flamethrower in a pitch black night!

Level 3: The Search Engine

I guess, hacking into the search engines to re-direct traffic to your own search results would be a hackers and black hat seo and internet marketers big dream. But I simply don't believe that that wouldn't be discovered immediately by the search engines themselves and counter acted upon. Yes, Google was hacked before, but the reasons for this where not to re-direct the url of one hub to another hub. If you are more interested in this: Google It!

So, to sum this up

  • Nobody is re-directing hub urls to other hubs in the search engines.
  • It is caused by a completely normal delay in caching and displaying of information in the search results.
  • It is more pronounced if you are logged into one or more Google service as Google knows who you are, what you have looked for before and what might please you most: Finding yourself!

OK, that's it, like I said, feel free to leave a comment and btw, if you had Google Analytics to your hubpages, you see that you actually also get traffic via the 'Related Hubs' capsule. It is all about keeping the balance between giving and taking, and about checking your facts before hitting the publish button!

Comments 37 comments

Lady Rose profile image

Lady Rose 6 years ago from Taiwan

Thank you for writing this hub. If i ever had any fears along those lines, they are now totally erradicated from my mind. I now trust Hubpages and Hubbers much more!


hospitalera profile image

hospitalera 6 years ago Author

You are welcome, Lady Rose. People tend to panic easily and start running if somebody screams 'wolf, wolf' even if there is no wolf at all! SY


Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright 6 years ago from Sydney

Hospitalera, Sunforged tried to explain this to the Hubbers in question but you've done a much better job!

I read the Hubs but didn't worry too much about it, because I didn't appreciate they were reporting fellow Hubbers to Google - how awful, especially as those Hubbers would be completely innocent.


hospitalera profile image

hospitalera 6 years ago Author

Thanks Marissa, I know that you and Lissie and Sunforged tried everything to explain the facts to them, my comments got deleted (minus one that got approved). You know, I really hope this hub turns up in their 'related hubs' capsule ;-) That is the second reason I wrote it! SY


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 6 years ago from Sparti, Greece

Good grief - it is amazing how misinformation can spread so quickly. Sadly, I suspect that it is a case of somebody going into denial because they don't want to admit that they were wrong.

Or, maybe I am just a hater from the forum pack :D

Good work - you have the patience of a saint!


hospitalera profile image

hospitalera 6 years ago Author

Lol, Sifidreamer, me a saint? Far from it, I had to rewrite this hub several times to get all my "unsaintly" words out of it!

But I think you are right with the denial aspect of the whole thing, for some people it is easier to defend facts that they know are wrong instead of admitting a mistake, SY


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 6 years ago from UK

Amazing! I'd noticed this phenomena myself on occassion, but other than mentally clocking it as some kind of blip, I didn't give it a second thought. There's some serious paranoia going on here! Good hub BTW, and a very clear explanation.


hospitalera profile image

hospitalera 6 years ago Author

Thanks Amanda, the funny thing is how some people, like you just assume it is a normal glitch and others, like the two panicking hubbers, immediately assume that somebody wants to hurt them and their hubs. I agree, paranoia is the right word for that. Hope they wake up and stop reporting innocent fellow hubbers, that is the point that concerns me most! SY


Susana S profile image

Susana S 6 years ago

Glad you wrote this hospitalera and set the record straight! That other hub is nonsense. Left a comment but who knows if it will be approved! It's scary to think this person is reporting this stuff to google and yahoo, and it's even scarier that they have listened (if we are to believe that.) Surely they can see it's to do with the normal interlinking within the site. Good job!


hospitalera profile image

hospitalera 6 years ago Author

Susana, I guess Google and Yahoo just trash the accusations, at least I hope so for the reported hubbers! The reason why this presumably 're-directed' urls have disappeared from the search results (as stated on the two other hubs) is that the search engines caught up with the caching, nothing else. Now they just display another combination of hubs and related hubs. Hubpages content changes by the minute ;-) Thanks for your kind words, and please help to spread the word to help to explain the facts.


Uninvited Writer profile image

Uninvited Writer 6 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

When Google stops laughing about this I would hope they will send those people a detailed explanation.

I've noticed how people on the forums get carried away with an idea, true or not. That is why I'm taking a sabbatical from the forums right now :)


Uninvited Writer profile image

Uninvited Writer 6 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

I just found that hub. I don't even know the poster from Adam. I notice only comments that agree with him/her are being posted. I am going to email the person on my friends list who commented a link to this hub.


hospitalera profile image

hospitalera 6 years ago Author

Thanks for your input, Uninvited Writer, I really hope that Google laughs and then clears things up, but they might be too large to bother to explain this to one or two confused people. I don't spend much time here on the forums, I prefer, lets say, a more grown-up style of interaction than the throwing dirt at each other I have observed more then once on the forums here ;-) Thanks for helping to spread the word about this, SY


Successful Living profile image

Successful Living 6 years ago from Prague, Czech Republic

Your hub makes so much sense! It pays to do the research before causing trouble for innocent people. Thanks for explaining all of this in a way everyone can understand.


hospitalera profile image

hospitalera 6 years ago Author

Thanks for your kind words, Successful Living, yes, it all becomes clear if you look at facts and how things work! Unfortunately facts are less attractive than panic for some ... SY


Uninvited Writer profile image

Uninvited Writer 6 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

Some people are so convinced that their writing is so great that if the score or traffic is low they automatically assume their hub is being voted down by vengeful people. It seems easier for them to believe that someone has something against them than low search engine traffic. People don't have time to worry about other people's traffic.


Christian H profile image

Christian H 6 years ago from Denmark

Brilliant stuff here! I haven't read those hubs, but from what I have learned so far about SEO, it wouldn't pay to pull those tricks, even if they were possible. Better to make some more hubs instead!


Sandyspider profile image

Sandyspider 6 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

I was misinformed on this as well after reading those hubs. I didn't report anything. Once I seem that some of my connections were to forums and someone brought up my name, it then tied into one of my URLs. I figured then that no one was stealing anything away from me.


Uninvited Writer profile image

Uninvited Writer 6 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

Obviousl, someone still does not get it. Check out the latest Hubpages blog posting.

Blog.hubpages.com


Misha profile image

Misha 6 years ago from DC Area

LOL, priceless :D Thanks, Hospitalera :)


hospitalera profile image

hospitalera 6 years ago Author

@Uninvited Writer

On a positive note, they are asking Hubpages directly, I really hope the good people at HUBpages HQ clear that up! For everybody that is interested to know what we are talking about, here the link to the blog post: http://blog.hubpages.com/2010/08/copyright-issues-...

SY


susanlang profile image

susanlang 6 years ago

ERA: That might apply to some cases..but doesn't apply to all cases. I noticed you didn't mention MSN.COM search through their BING option.

Maybe you're not aware of whats been going on there. BING has corrected some of it from their search. I'm sure you are aware of the (TAG) and (TAGGING) option which many people use in order to (Create A LINK USING SOMEONE ELSE'S PROPERTY) IN this case it was done on the MSN.COM, BING SEARCH WEBSITE. First, someone (tagged the writing of another hubbers work). Not only did they TAG the (TITLE) but they tagged 3 or 4 lines of the other huber's story as well as the TITLE. Then, using the other persons property, THE TAGGER created a link which whenever someone typed in the Title of the other persons story in an MSN.COM search through BING, the person who created the (TAG) in the first place would have the hubs they wanted to come up in that search. I say this often, computers do not run on their own, pc's run on the created software and hardware Humans develope for them. Anytime the writings and 3 or 4 sentences of someone's work shows up as a (TAGGED LINK) to another persons webpages without the knowledge or consent of the Author who wrote them.... that is a concern the Author should have the right to look into. In this case, someone else was making money by using the written work of another without their consent by drawing people to their pages!

Personal attacks and insults on the concerned writers says something about who may be responsible for this.

Thank you!


susanlang profile image

susanlang 6 years ago

Someone sent me an email suggesting they don't understand.

So, I'll say it again: I’m not going to pretend the internet and everyone using it is so trusting and honest… however, if you feel safe by suggesting that… as you have here… then good luck to you on the internet!

Botton line in the concern is: 1.) A Tag Was Done To Create A Link Using Some Other Writers Work.

2.) When The Unsupecting Internet User Typed In The Title To A Story In MSN.COM’S BING Search BAR, Someone Else’s Stories Came Up. Please listen up now.. Here’s The Most Important Part: The Other Stories Which Came Up, ( Had Nothing At All To Do With The (TAGGED) Authors Work, OR Any Of That Story’s Content!!

Got It? So, In This Case, You Can’t Say It Was Just The Software Picking Up On “Related” Hubs!

Would you like to receive a printout of the 167 Un-Related Stories Which Came Up Under The Other Author’s (TAGGED) Work In That MSN.COM – BING Search?


susanlang profile image

susanlang 6 years ago

My facts are stored and rechecked whenever the need arises. MSN.COM through the BING Search showed the real story. I don't know who else you claim has been concerned and corresponding with yahoo and other websites, however, I would think you would want to get the problem fixed as soon as possible and then move on...NOT try and DEGRADE AND INSULT the concerned writer by taking CHEAP SHOTS and acting as if NOTHING ever happens on the internet. In this case it happened using the forth largest website search engine: MSN.COM, BING.

Next time would you please make sure you mention the RIGHT Website this concern appeared on? Thank you.


hospitalera profile image

hospitalera 6 years ago Author

@susanlang

I can assure you, it was not me that send you the email. And no, I am not interested in a printout, but thanks for offer. I don't use Bing very often, actually close to never, so I am not sure I understand this tagging issue you mention right. Are you sure that you don't refer to personalized search results based on previous searches performed? Nevertheless I found this really interesting article on Bing itself that explains very well how Bing determines its search results, nothing about tags there: http://help.live.com/help.aspx?mkt=en-us&project=w...

SY


hospitalera profile image

hospitalera 6 years ago Author

@susanlang

I am happy to approve comments of different opinions on my hubs, but please keep your tone polite and courteous. If you continue to YELL at me on my own hub, I will stop to approve your comments. SY


susanlang profile image

susanlang 6 years ago

No one is yelling at you, in-fact...I have not opened my mouth once as of yet. I'm simply typing my words here. Clearly, you are mistaken. Please don't make this (about you) because its not! Its about facts and hub stories being Tagged and then Linked to completely Un-Related Hubs. The Linked stories were checked out and they were in-fact Un-Related. This happened on Msn.Com, through their Bing Search Bar. No one is yelling at you and please don't make this personal. In-fact, No one named anyone as to who or why it happened. Please just fix it and move on. Thank you.


hospitalera profile image

hospitalera 6 years ago Author

@susanlang

Online yelling is done by writing all in CAPITAL LETTERS for added emphasis, something what you have done in your comments. I agree, this is about facts and I provide ample facts and evidence in this hub. I also wonder what I shall 'fix and move on' as there is nothing broken in the first place? I am still not understanding what 'tagging' you are referring to, do you mean the tagging here on hubpages or something in the Bing search engine? Can you clarify that and can you provide facts and evidence? Thanks, SY


susanlang profile image

susanlang 6 years ago

era: once again... no one is yelling. You're beginning to sound petty. This is not about you. I'll send Jason a fax to the number he provided me with and let him know I'm sending a computer disk for his review.

Thank you and have a nice weekend!


susanlang profile image

susanlang 6 years ago

Hospit: I went your BING link you posted here and all you did was prove my concern to be a valid one. Here's the info you asked me to check out:

How Bing delivers search results

Bing automatically scans (or "crawls") the Internet to develop and maintain an index. The index is really a catalog of available online resources, including websites, images, videos, documents, and other items.

Particular search results are created by using a computer algorithm to match the search terms you enter with the most relevant and useful results in our index.

In general, we try to provide as comprehensive and as useful a collection of online information as we can. We design algorithms to provide the most relevant results and determine which results appear for any given search.

Hospitalera: I found this next part to be of strong interest to my concerns!

Bing doesn’t control the operation or design of the websites we index. We also don’t control what these websites publish. As long as the website continues to make the information available on the Web, the information will be generally available to others through Bing or other search services.

In limited cases, to comply with applicable laws and/or to address public policy concerns such as privacy,

intellectual property protection, and the protection of children, we might remove particular resources from the index of available information.

In each case where we are required to do so by law, we try to limit our removal of search results to a narrow set of circumstances so as to comply with applicable law but not to overly restrict access of Bing users to relevant information.

So again, this reinforces my concerns since BING has already removed many of the items I was concerned about, out of their search engine.

I have a valid concern and you helped to prove that by adding the link to BING here on this hub.

Thank you.


hospitalera profile image

hospitalera 6 years ago Author

@susanlang

Who is Jason? And why do you feel the need to inform us here that you are sending him a fax? I mean, what has that to do with the discussion at hand?

As for the rest, I rest my case as they say so nicely. What do you expect a search engine to do if not to display the search results as they find them as outlined in the article i posted the link to? BTW the whole discussion of how Bing works or not works in your opinion is kind of theoretical. They have a global market share of less than 4% of all the search engines. Hardly a big influence in our hubpages traffic IF (and I still dispute this IF with my facts) it is true what you think. Have a nice day, here more background reading about how Bing works: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bing_%28search_engine... Also here no mentioning of the tagging feature that you describe as influencing Bing's search results, I wonder why ... SY


hospitalera profile image

hospitalera 6 years ago Author

I have set the comments to 'signed in users only' as I got some pretty nasty and anonymous comments submitted. As I stated before, you have by no means to agree with me to get your comment approved. Just keep it polite and refrain from calling me names! Oh, and it would also help if you could present some evidence in form of a link to a resource or similar to backup your claims ;-) SY


dawnM profile image

dawnM 6 years ago from Camarillo, CA

interesting, never even though of that will thank you for distelling the myth!


wmspringer profile image

wmspringer 6 years ago

I hadn't heard about the whole drama, but that was an interesting read :-)


hospitalera profile image

hospitalera 5 years ago Author

Lol, wmspringer, yes, the comments and reactions do make especially for an interesting read. SY


weightloss-diets profile image

weightloss-diets 5 years ago from Olympia

Perhaps what you are talking about and what I read about in the forums are two different things. I say that because one hubpage member, who is never seen anymore, had definitive proof that a scraper located n viet name was copying word for word thousands of hubs and publishing them on an article website. A group of hubbers worked to get the site taken down and succeeded, over and over again. I think three times they were shut down. Then the hubber who did most of the work discovered that, according to him, someone " that all of us know" at hubpages was part of what was going on. Just as he was going to reveal that information he disappeared from the forums.

So while I do not want to reopen that mess, don't be naive and say that it never happens. People are out there scraping articles from many other sites. It happens every day.


hospitalera profile image

hospitalera 5 years ago Author

@weightloss-diets

Yes, scraping articles and publishing them elsewhere does unfortunately happen, but this hub was / is NOT about this problem! Like you rightly said, this is an old hub and refers to the panic caused by one hubber claiming it is possible to 'hijack' your hub traffic and redirect it to another hub by 'somehow' hacking into the search engines. Two very unrelated things, please read my hub, and the comments, again to see the difference. I am not so naive to say that scraping never happens, but I do know that it is pretty close to impossible to hack into Hubpages / a search engine and redirect traffic from one hub to another. Hope that clears things up, SY

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