Hey Yahoo! .. Stop cloaking and “spamming” please :)

September 20th, 2006 - Filed under Issues, Rumors & Scandal,Websites,Yahoo by Cristian Mezei
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Unbelievable right ? Well you better believe it: Yahoo! Directory is cloaking, and is spamming :)

Cloaking the pages

Uncloaked Yahoo Directory page Cloaked Yahoo Directory page

I managed to see the above cloaking issue (first image is the normal content, second image the cloaked page) by changing my Firefox user-agent, to GoogleBot (using this simple Firefox User-agent extension). But you can see the cloaking by viewing the Google cache of any Yahoo! Directory page.

As you can see in the images above, Yahoo! Directory is delivering different content to search engine bots (GoogleBot in my example) and to usual visitors.

Definition of cloaking, from Google :

Make pages for users, not for search engines. Don’t deceive your users or present different content to search engines than you display to users, which is commonly referred to as “cloaking.”

So what’s gone for the spiders ? The Yahoo logo, all the ads and the top bar with the login and other useful links.

“Spamming” and duplicat content

Ok .. I understand the cloaking, but spamming the search engines guys ? :D

Let’s search Google for “Seattle Metro Categories”. It’s pretty clear that we see :

http://dir.yahoo.com/Regional/U_S__States/Washington/ Metropolitan_Areas/Seattle_Metro/


Those pages have EXACTLY the same content. Yahoo! is now redirecting (using a 302 redirect, and how stupid is that ?) all the seattle. pages (and all the other tens of thousands of other duplicate pages) to the normal directory pages:

Server Response : seattle.yahoo.com
HTTP/1.0 302 Redirect
Location: http://dir.yahoo.com/Regional/U_S__States/Washington/ Metropolitan_Areas/Seattle_Metro/

Yahoo Directory duplicate pages

Well, thank you Yahoo!. How many of those 5,020,000 pages from dir.yahoo.com are unique content ?

PLUS, what the heck are these few pages man ? Just look at the copyright years.


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2 Comments so far

Francois said:
September 21st, 2006

Wow. Nice find Cristian, so even Yahoo is using some black hat techniques :)

September 27th, 2007

What’s worse, no-one cares about it :( . If you reported it to Google, would Yahoo be removed? No. It’s the same like MFA sites, sites redirecting to ndparking and meanwhile, sites which use black-hat SEO techniques (I have seen many, I have reported many, no-one was penalised), etc. etc.

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