Defending Your Site Against a Google Proxy Hack

Dan Thies published a post about how people have been hacking Google's search results using proxies to get the original sites nuked as duplicate content. He also explained how to defend sites against the problem using free PHP scripts developed by Jaimie Sirovich. Dan Thies stated he thought many of the proxy hijack accidents were not accidents at all:

Of course, not all proxies are being run by innocent people for innocent reasons. Some of them are actually designed to hijack content - to deliver ads, etc. Some people want to steal your content, and they want the search engines to index it. In fact, I would not be surprised if a large part of the overall problem isn't caused by such people firing links at their own proxies.

I have seen numerous sites die to proxy hacking, and this is an issue Google has known about for over a year.

Yet another reason hand edits at Google coupled with Google paying AdSense scrapers to steal your content makes Google a pretty dirty company, especially when you consider their unofficial stance on copyright:

Your name can not be stripped and no one else can claim credit for it. That is credit, reputation is a non renewable resource. It can not be replicated. It can not be copied. To the degree that someone takes credit for your stuff, that's the degree to which you lose credit. It is always proportional.

When Google goes so far as trying to police link exchange and link buying why don't they do a better job policing AdSense? If they want to clean up their search index the easiest, most scalable, and most robust way to do so would be for them to worry about their own network, and stop paying content thieves via AdSense.

Published: August 17, 2007 by Aaron Wall in seo tips


August 28, 2007 - 8:59am

I received an IM from a friend tonight who was quite distraught about a website he had received a link to

I had glanced over something Site Pro News had sent me a couple days ago about this, but did not pay it alot of attention.

Tonight I decided to see what my friend was fussing about, and I am astounded to say the least that Google has let something like this go on for so long!

How serious of a threat is this stuff, and is it something we need to secure our sites against? What about blogs with content updated several times a day?

I own hundreds of domains, so if this crap is real, then it looks like my summer vacation is going to be cut really short.

Different sites have many different takes on just how much of a problem this really is, so I am looking for the most common denominator from as many SEO sites as I can find.


August 28, 2007 - 9:06am

You can always track your traffic trends and see if anything got hit that way. I have seen it hit a few sites, but not all or most of my sites.

August 17, 2007 - 1:15am

So I'm assuming this is just another in a long line of "Google Bowling" variations.

In a perfect world, Adsense jackers would be out of business....but Google has shareholders to keep happy.

August 17, 2007 - 2:49am

You know what I am in the same niche as Brad and I sat back and watched this happen to his site, mine and another.

All of our sites that this proxy hack hit are now back in the serps. Unfortunately we all lost quite a bit of cash and credibility.

My site wasn't hit as hard as Brads but it was hit. Mine would come and go every other day or so but it stopped several months ago "crossing my fingers" and hasn't happened since.

August 17, 2007 - 9:58pm

In a perfect world, Adsense jackers would be out of business....but Google has shareholders to keep happy.

Google's greatest asset was trust. They are losing it quickly the same way Yahoo did. By polluting their search results and ads with spam. Especially Google financed spam.

I spent $1000 a month for 5 years on search engine advertising with Yahoo. That's $60,000 total from a small business. I stopped advertising with Yahoo completely when two things happened: first their search results became polluted with spam and advertisers who's primary business model was scraping content from legitimate sites and putting ads on their own sites, second Google appeared on the scene and started to steal a big chunk of Yahoo's traffic. This gave me a new source of free traffic, I didn't need to pay Yahoo for traffic anymore. There was so much free traffic from Google that it represented 70% of our site's total traffic.

I see the same thing happening to Google that happened to Yahoo. The only thing missing is the next Google. Google's shareholders won't be happy about all this spamming Google has been funding when it causes them to lose a big chunk of their revenues to a new competitor.

August 17, 2007 - 10:28pm

Geez, this is disconcerting. There are also issues regarding the conflict of interest with Google. They don't want the spammers, yet they pay the spammers for eating up other people's content with no respect for copyrights.

The web is still the wild west but the truth regarding duplicate content is that the larger, more respected sites cannot be hurt with issues such as these. If a site's original content has a PR of let's say 5, other sites listing the same content wouldn't be capable of matching the duplicate content and Google likely knows this.

It's very hard to combat duplicate content, the only way is to have a constant content monitoring system in place such as Copyscape as well as other services out there.

August 19, 2007 - 1:46am

Darn right they're not accidents. I had some shady directory from Brazil pull that on a site of mine about 1 & 1/2 years ago, and couldn't get anyone at even most SEO forums to understand what I was talking about.

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