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Sins of The Internet: Pagejacking

By Richard Lowe
Posted Friday, November 26, 2004

One of the most frustrating events you can experience as a webmaster or writer is finding your work has been copied without your permission. I'm sure that just about every writer and every webmaster has been horrified to find his own work somewhere else under a different person's name. The thankfully few times it has happened to me I felt a mixture of blind fury and complete hate.

Sometimes thieves don't stop there. They don't steal a web page or two and claim it as their own (this is merely a copyright violation and a completely unethical thing to do). No, what they do is steal a web page and claim it is YOURS, but with modifications. In other words, they create a web page which is exactly like yours, with some changes to do something undesirable.

Once they have added your page to a different site and made their changes, they submit it to search engines, advertise it in ezines and do all of the other standard promotional techniques. They may also register similar domain names to try and fool people into going to their illegal site. Their purpose is to steal your traffic, directing it instead to their own web site (copies of your pages).

Why do they do this? Well, let's say you have a page which is attracting a heck of a lot of visitors. You are making quite a bit of money from the affiliate links on that page. An unethical person might make a copy of that page on their own web site, and replace all of your affiliate links with his. Anyone clicking on those links would be generating money for the pagejacker, not you.

Another common thing done by pagejackers is to add dozens or even hundreds of links to pornographic sites, many of which pop up automatically. Each time one of these links is displayed the pagejacker gets paid a small amount, so the more popups they display the more money they make.

Some pagejackers may go so far as to pretend to sell merchandise, but never actually deliver anything. In this case, they are simply stealing credit card information, which they then resell to thieves at a substantial price.

What can a webmaster do to reduce the chances of this happening? It's difficult, but one thing to do is keep an eye on your server logs. If you see sudden changes in traffic patterns it's a good idea to investigate and find out why. You can also search on your own keywords and make sure that nothing strange pops up in the search results. If you do find pages which have been stolen from you, you can be sure that you will have a difficult time getting them removed. You will need to find out who is hosting the site, who the domain is registered with and so on, and submit complaints. Whether or not these are acted upon depends upon where the site is hosted and what the pagejacker is doing.

How do surfers get around this problem? Be sure the URL of the site is the URL that you expect. It's better to bookmark your favorite sites than to surf to them via search engines, as you can have more confidence that a site is real if it appears in one of your own bookmarks. Typing in the domain name yourself is another good way to be sure you've got the right site. These tips are especially true if you are going to spend money on the site. Perhaps most important of all, always use a credit card, and check the statements carefully for unexpected charges.

About the Author
Richard Lowe Jr. is the webmaster of Internet Tips And Secrets at ( - Visit our website any time to read over 1,000 complete FREE articles about how to improve your internet profits, enjoyment and knowledge.


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