In its global fight against web spam, cloaking, paid links, link farms and other non-sanctioned schemes; Google now has a new ally in the Security Group at the University of Cambridge.
The Search Engine Watch reports that the Web sites created by Chicago-based Privila were banned by Google earlier this month after Steven Murdoch of University of Cambridge Computer Labs exposed an alleged cloaking scheme by the content network. Steven Murdoch blogged about his findings on March 6th and within two days of this Google removed the sites from its index. It had built "portals" designed to have relatively high search engine ranking scores consisting only of ads.
After buying them, Privila would fill these sites with custom-written material, generated by unpaid interns and then by link exchange spam these sites were promoted. However, later by further dropping the "articles", Privila was able to fit in even more ads. Unfortunately for Privila, their tricks were brought to light after researchers at Cambridge University's Computer Lab received a link invitation spam email from a Privila-run site.
Steven Murdoch of Cambridge University found 329 such websites in the Privila network. He thoroughly investigated the business tactics behind their spam emails. In his research he wrote, "Curiously, the Windows Live Search, and Yahoo! spiders are presented with an almost empty page: just a header but neither adverts nor articles."
Though now Privila has added the articles back to the sites but still the sites are not yet re-indexed. Certainly, with netizens of online community getting aware and active, surely we are off for a better world.