I'm somewhere between wanting this kind of thing to be public but also not wanting it to be so public it draws more attention that I'd like to the site in question. That's why I didn't make this a Hub, instead of a forum post (well, that and the fact that I thought others could let me know if I need to even be concerned at all).
It's kind of no-win situation, I guess; because any of the places/people one contacts in a situation like this don't really care a whole lot unless/until the matter turns into one about whether or not anything associated with my name is "high quality", spam, or questionable practices - and then those people would probably not be too interested in much of what I had to say (I'm guessing).
It's also no-win because if I keep the matter between me and any of those web people/companies I e.mail, there's the chance they won't be all that shocked or worried about it. On the other hand, if I make it public (as I am here), I'm calling attention to the very site that may have aimed to call attention to itself with the use of my name (if this isn't some gliche or virus type of thing responsible for it).
If a person wanted to get really paranoid, one might even consider how (if, in fact, this kind of thing could cause problems for a web contributor) feasible it could be for someone to get another person's affiliate accounts closed down - just because they didn't like that person. I'm not that paranoid on this particular matter - just imagining the potential possibilities for, say, other people.
The other day I Googled my name and found a bunch of strange things (not a unique thing, of course). Besides a handwriting analysis under my name (and from the 90's), that I've never seen (or provided a sample for) in my life; I ran into a cooking blog that posted what looks like a bunch of links to my HubPages and other stuff online. I wrote about what I found in another thread and did all the contacting people I thought made sense. Because I was kind of mind-boggled to discover that the links with my name (and HP URL's) led to Amazon products pages, and because I was thinking in terms of "viruses in feeds" (or something), I just didn't know what to think, really. I didn't want to post the URL on here because I didn't want to encourage traffic to the blog; but indirectly, it might also seem like I was "promoting myself" (at least on the face of it).
Some of the masses of links I found were changed to then go to my actual stuff, rather than Amazon pages. So, OK. Weird, but at least it didn't look like I was doing something questionable with Amazon pages, or something Google prohibits. I discovered later that the first two batches of links were removed, but then another string of links was at the bottom of another page, buried farther into the blog. They went to my stuff.
Today I discovered that the links on the bottom of that page now, once again, go to Amazon product pages.
Upon closer looking, I learned it's a Word Press dot org blog. There aren't any ads on it. There are lots of obviously spun articles on it, and they make it look as if there are a number of contributors.
I don't know much (at all) about how a lot of some of these things work, but now my concern is this: There's a page (2nd Google page in a search for "Lisa HW") out there that sends people to this cooking blog. As it is now, when they get to the home page they just get the spun articles (although not all look spun). In order to see the links with my name and HubPages in them, someone would have to further search that blog for "Lisa HW" (or else run into the links by accident).
On the other hand, if someone/something (bots, of whatever) searched my name, the link to this blog is fairly prominent, among a bunch of other links that either apply to me, or else that are obviously unrelated completely.
So, the question is this: Can this kind of thing make me "look" questionable to Google, in view of the fact that a second-page search leads to such a pile of spun baloney and apparently, at least sometimes, phony links that bring people to Amazon product pages?
Also (and I did e.mail Amazon), is it likely to cause me problems with my Amazon account?
From what I can tell, this is a downloaded Word Press dot org blog, so Word Press doesn't get involved in issues like this. It doesn't look like there's Google Ads, so the only issue Google might have would be related to either the search process, or else to anything questionable they might think I'm doing, as an Ad Sense user.
I don't know how much Amazon cares, or doesn't, who sells what or how they do they do it (if they do it at all). Even if they were close this person's affiliate account, though; that still leaves me looking like I may have been involved in this whole spun-article, phony, thing (and I don't want my account closed, because I don't do anything "funny").
Most of the phony "Lisa HW" links (that are really Amazon product page links) appear are to my HubPages profile (twice) and Hubs. The joke on this blog owner is that - seriously - I may have had some decent traffic on HubPages, but the world really isn't beating down a path to search for "Lisa HW" - believe me. AND.. even if they temporarily, or even permanently, remove the Amazon pages from "behind" the links, I don't like these huge strings of "funny" links associated with my name, showing up in the middle of a spun cooking blog for no apparent reason. I don't want "funny" links because I want my Ad Sense account as it is.
So, is this something I even need to be concerned with - or is it something I can just not worry about?
Also, if it's something a Hubber (or other writer) needs to be concerned about, maybe other people ought to do a check of their own names to see if the same kind of thing has happened with their names/links on other blogs.
I don't know how Word Press (dot org) blogs work, but I'm assuming these people don't get per-view pay, so here's the link to the page that showed up after I contacted the blog owner and Amazon, to ask if there might be a virus somewhere:
(The earlier string of links actually had HubPages.com URL's in them).
I'd be less concerned and more thinking in terms of a temporary gliche or a virus (or whatever) if I weren't the only one whose name was so prominently featured on some of this blog's pages. I'd also be more inclined to believe it was a gliche if the thing didn't switch back and forth from Amazon pages to my real links, and if the links weren't moved from the first couple of pages to be more buried, and at the bottom, of this most recently found page.
Oh well... Off I go to yet again e.mail these blog people and request they remove all those links.
Hi Lisa, I noticed there was a disclaimer at the bottom saying that some of the content is automatically generated by Yahoo Search API and BIng Search API and to contact them if you want your site removed.
I don't know if this is an answer to your problem - personally I think that it is a bit cavalier to so casually nick other people's content and think that a disclaimer will make it ok!
Is it usual to automatically steal content like this?
I saw that disclaimer (and I've requested they remove the links); but there's just something "funny" about that blog. Stuff that looks like it should be a link (other than the links I mentioned) doesn't work. Some pages have what looks like normal links to a mixture of things. From what I saw (and I didn't go through all the stuff they have there), it looks like my links may be the only ones they attached to Amazon product pages for - what else - cooking stuff. It looked to me as if I'm the only one whose name showed up in long strings of fake links.
They didn't really steal my content. They used my name to create a long string of fake links (under my name and with the HubPages.com in the URL); and then they made the links lead to the Amazon pages. At some point after they were contacted, it looked like they took off the Amazon pages and made the links go to the real pages. Then it looks like they moved the most obvious two pages of links (which were at the very top of each page) (or got rid of the links completely); but had a new page with the string of fake links way at the bottom (like it's hidden ) - and they go to Amazon pages again.
Feeds are usual, and it looks like they have a feed on that that works like feeds do. This stuff with the strings of fake "Lisa" links is a whole-nother-thing from normal feeds. The blog just looked stupid (as of yesterday), but it's supposed to be about cooking, and from the top of the first page down there was nothing but "Lisa" links to writing that has nothing to do with cooking. Oh well.....
Ok, this touches on a lot of topics.
One is protecting your affiliate account. For Google Adsense you can control what websites display your Adsense. Anyone can figure out your Adsense ID. Same goes for Amazon. Some people will use redirects, but they don't really help all that much.
Next is reputation management. It can be a tough thing to do when you have an internet presence. One thing is to set up Google Alerts and email yourself whenever a new backlink is created, your name is found, etc, etc. Lots of possibilities.
Google does realize that people could try to manipulate other people's webpage rank and does have a system in place to express your concerns.
I'm pretty sure that this site is of scraped content.
Here is the whois data: http://www.whorush.com/search/whois:cookingarena.com
or use http://domains.whois.com/domain.php
This domain is privacy protected, so you will have a tough time doing anything about it. You could try to contact the webhost, but it looks French to me.
tritrain, thank you for taking the time to look at that long thread - and for the ideas about at least attempting to do a little monitoring. I got nowhere where the "who is" thing.
The main reason I thought it was worth mention here (besides my own concerns about my accounts) was that I was picturing there could be this one "entity" scraping who-knows-how-many Hubbers' accounts and putting links into 100 different blogs/sites.
One of your remarks does concern me: I did notice that there aren't links to any of the sites I write on (under this name) that pay people directly. It's mostly Google Ad Sense sites, including my blogger blogs.
None of those is under "Lisa HW", but they're all under the one Google account (or course). I had links to the blogs from my HP profile, and then I have links to other writing sites from the blogs. I'm hoping this is a case of scraping only scraping from, maybe, a primary site; rather than going "to the next level". Oh well. off to look at my Google account. Thanks again.
Somehow I'm guessing it's unlikely there aren't more people who have this kind of thing with their stuff.
Thanks for posting about this Lisa.
I didn't really understand it either, and I looked at the links. Why do people do those things? Haven't they anything better to do with their time?
Keep us updated if there is any news on this.
As of now, it all the links appear to be gone (unless they're buried somewhere I haven't discovered yet ).
Izzy, talk about not having anything better to do with time.. This thing turned into a 24-hour quest for me - mostly because it was such a weird thing I found it intriguing (but also irksome).
Anyway, I spent so much time trying to figure out what it was, whether it was there or not, etc. etc., I ended up just pretty much doing nothing (although I did go out) much of yesterday, and then goofing on the forums most of the night. It was like the whole, weird, thing de-railed by normal responsibilities and put me in an "on thinking-hold" mode.
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