Rumor: iPowerWeb Inc. Hosting Perfecting PPC Spam Subdomains?

33 comments

A couple webmasters hosting with iPowerWeb recently noticed some mysterious subdomains full of spammy PPC ads.

Wildcard issues? General incompetence at iPowerWeb? Or were they behind the PPC subdomains? What is the cause?

It sure looks like Overture is going out of their way to find reputable partners.

Comments

I see 4 domains so far

I see 4 domains so far hosting these sub-domains.

Just by visiting this link

Just by visiting this link for example, sends me trough 2 redirects and only to arrive at a third domain, with those ads.

Now what is that ?

Something fishy

I spoke with a few people at co-motion.com yesterday (including the owner) and have since received several emails. These people claim, rather convincingly, that they have no clue about these directories. They are just a bike shop where the owner doubles as the webmaster. He was fairly upset that I even suggested his site was hosting this stuff - it didn't help that Networksolutions told him anyone can purchase the second level domains being used.

He was only looking on his personal computer for the files, but when he went to the server he was able to locate the directory. Shocked is an understatement.

co-motion.com no longer forwards to the directory site.

dir.porthalcyon.com is still serving up the redirects.

The content Google sees is so keyword stuffed I wouldn't think this would work.

Another site from iPowerWeb

pixiesmusic.com is hosted at iPowerWeb.

get.pixiesmusic.com has over 20,000 pages indexed, cloaked and being redirected to the directory.

Normally, I'm not interested in outing people, but this seems different. Risking innocent sites in this manner is just bad form.

http://iljon.com is involved in a redirect.

Not the only one

Nebraska - that's not the only subdomain on the Pixies site - I saw one flash and burn last week, not the one you reference.

huh?

Quote:
it didn't help that Networksolutions told him anyone can purchase the second level domains being used.

Nebraska, can you clarify that? "Second level domains"?

Someone had to install the subdomain and redirects on his domain, right?

Second level domains

Right. He claims very strongly that he didn't do it. I initially called co-motion because it seemed like a strange thing for an established company with a decent little company site to be involved with (the redirect pages).

We had a short conversation and afterward he called networksolutions (his registrar) to ask about the "second domain". Someone there told him that org.co-motion.com must have been purchased by someone... He just doesn't understand how it all works.

He then emailed me, I called him back and walked him through what was going on. He called iPowerWeb and they found the rogue subdomain directory for him and removed it I was told.

The Co-motion.com links no longer work.

PixiesMusic.com emailed me and said they are asking iPowerWeb about it.

Interesting that someone from porthalcyon.com is threatening to *sue* me for pointing this out.

control panels, installers, shared hosts, "free" tech support

What to do with a root exploit or control panel exploit?

Also, many many scripts are out there (especially directory and forum scripts) that look great but have useless installers. The suport forums are full of questions from newbies who can't install the scripts, answered by "power users" that say "PM me your login and I'll make it work".

I still believe some of these script projects are nothing but ruses to gain root acess. I have called two of them on it on their own forums, and the silence was deafening.

amazing

My name is Sean Rayburn, and I own and run PixiesMusic.com, which is for the rock band, Pixies. My site has been around since 2003, and in that time, it's only been myself and one other person working on the site, both of us with quite a bit of web experience. After recieving the email today letting me know about get.pixiesmusic.com, i started looking myself, and found a staggering number of pages listed... none of which I had any knowledge of. I am inquiring with IPowerWeb, but so far I've just gotten the standard 'thank you for contacting blah blah blah' messages. I will post her any updates I recieve. - Sean

***UPDATE*** Sure enough, I login to my site managemer and see two subdomains... ok.pixiesmusic.com and get.pixiesmusic.com... neither of which were setup or approved by my partner or i, the only 2 people with access to the site. I am deleting them now.

***UPDATE*** I got an interesting message while deleting these subdomains: "No VirtualHost domainname exists by that name". They still disappeared from my screen after deleting them, but a very curious message.

I don't think you fixed it.

get.pixiesmusic.com/ok/apartments.html still goes to Apartments.com after going through -
iljon.com > dp.qsrch.com > 66.220.18.28 > dpbolvw.net > apmebf.com
and finally
> emjcd.com

well...

Changes made through the Subdomain Manager may take between 24-48 hours to take effect.

But I am going to light a fire under their ass... or as much as anyone can get IPW to move fast on anything....

not knowing the cause

It would have been great to leave it all in place and take a good close look to see what had been done and perhaps even when from the logs. The first thing the culprit wants is for all that evidence to go away.

looking for missing pieces

looking for missing pieces of the algo? They just tipped their hand.

How many links do you need to place top 5 out of top 10 for 2nd tier keywords?

Looks to me like just one.

AHHHHH, but which one?

>>keywords

for 2nd tier keywords

Try > new york fulfillment house

The top three are pure shite.

shite or not, (whatever

shite or not, (whatever shite is???)
this guy is all over the place with 3 or more listings in the the top 10 for
mesothelioma lawyer + just about any state or city
travel scooter + any state or city
payday loan + state or city
home loan
consolidation loan +

I stopped looking. I'm convinced

Which one?

Well, let's start by searching the 12,000+ links pixiesmusic.com has. The power (links) are there, not in one of the handful pointed at the sub.

One simple improvement

search engines can make is reducing (drastically) the level of domain to sub-domain passage of trust/ranking ability (whatever you want to call it) if the sub-domain is an orphan of the main domain. That would have killed the majority of the freewebs.com, et al crap sub-domain stuff that went on for years.

I always thought that the

I always thought that the amount of direct trust transfered to a subdomain should have to deal with weather or not the root linked to it, and in what ways.

This here is just bad algorithms at their worst.

This here is just bad algorithms at their worst.

Yea, doesn't seem like rocket science on that one. I believe that, of course, subs should get the trust if they are linked to properly from the domain of course.

spamtastic

Man Bob that is some spamtastic stuff, nice find

that's two hosts though

1and1.com is in there as well. I'd think the hosts have some stake here, if they are not involved.
http://s161848718.onlinehome.us/dir/mesothelioma.html

1and1

They have a LOT of these sub domain sites and come up for most of the searches that I have been testing.

I thought this looked familiar...

These are the guys I noted a month or so again when they first poppd up in one of my markets. I even posted it to TW at that time (sans details). Out of nowhere into the top across the start of the long tail. I bet that's been profitable.

I purely can't believe such

I purely can't believe such things can even happen.

How the heck could they pull such a stunt without webmasters knowing ?

Average Webmaster

How often would the average webmaster run site:yourdomain.com on Google?

Most don't even know about it.

How the heck could they pull

How the heck could they pull such a stunt without webmasters knowing?

Maybe they weren't aware themselves. I can't tell you how many times I’ve called various hosts asking for certain levels of access to a client’s space and they give me unfettered access to their entire client list instead of just who I represent. Maybe someone found a particularly gullible rep. It could just be social engineering at it's best/worse (you choose).

That´s what I meant by

Doorway pages are Back!

Doorway pages are Back!

... on someone else's (non)throw-away domain! yay

related:

Google missed the mark

Google missed the mark branding SEOs as a threat to their business model. All this wasted energy and the tarnished relationship between Google and the people out there fixing and optimizing web pages to rank well.

Quote:
This is just the beginning of an Avalanche of search engine spam by major sites that’s about to come crashing down

It doesn't matter if it is inside jobs or via a blog service or errors (loophole) in major services that enable keyword-stuffed domains off root or on subdomains. Obviously the threat is keyword spammers, and obviously the problem is not going to go away. What a PR mistake to call them SEOs, and to call SEOs spammers.

I'm curious to see what the

I'm curious to see what the response will be, (if any), once msnbc, the WSJ and so forth get their teeth into this one.

I'd post more but I'm off to find more Trusted sites. Now where did I put that doorway generator???

CYA

doorway generator?

C'mon Bob, get with the times! Today's doorways are virtual... I "suggest" you look into AJAX lol.

Lovely how long these are

Lovely how long these are sticking around in the serps.

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