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From the story: This is pretty cut/dry - we found a couple of cloaked redirects on Trulia’s site. It looks like they’re doing it simply to pump the PR of specific pages, and to get some good sitewide one-way links.
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from DAOxpert 2219 Days ago #
Votes: -1

The video says it all.  Good find. I always heard Trulia implements hidden text and such but cloaking, wow. Wonder what spin they’ll put on this?

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from Halfdeck 2219 Days ago #
Votes: 0

This would be interesting if I considered black hat seo a bad thing.

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from realestatewebmasters 2219 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Dang it bramlett! That video was painful and I had to restart firefox - I think you will get a better response and more attention if you use screenshots with some explanations for those less technically adept. Perhaps put a link to the video for those who really want to watch it, but use screens for the main post?Either way - interesting stuff - The listings wars are certainly heating up, and these guys are going to learn one way or the other, the more successful you become, the less you can get away with.

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from graywolf 2219 Days ago #
Votes: -1

ok with no narrative or static screen shots I had a really hard time following that, it took more than one viewing to get what you were trying to show me.

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from ericblackwell 2219 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Interesting stuff and good find IMO, Bramlett. I’d agree that the higher profile you are the more scrutiny comes your way... Off to start a less technical discussion of the subject on the Bloodhound Blog here in a bit.

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from ericbramlett 2218 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Sorry guys...I uploaded a really big file trying to show from start to finish what’s going on. I’ll crunch it down to screen shots & repost.

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from ericbramlett 2218 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Here’s a pictorial: http://www.bramblog.com/trulia-cloaking-pictorial/

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from Malok 2218 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Important guide for how Trulia likes to treat their "partners".  In reality, their definition of a partner is how much can they use someone and break their neck before getting caught.

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from Halfdeck 2218 Days ago #
Votes: 2

Thanks Eric the pictorial is much easier to follow."the more successful you become, the less you can get away with."That’s definitely true when it comes to Trulia’s relationship with partners, though its a different story with Google. Of course if you’re big site out to make Google look stupid, you may get a slap on the wrist, but the main question Googlers ask IMO when dealing with spam is does this site belong on the front page. Regardless of what realtors may think, if Googlers think users looking for [seattle real estate] should land on Trulia, it doesn’t matter what kind of violations are taking place. Penalizing a site in cases like that means harming user experience - a move that goes against Google’s business model.

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from jsabia 2218 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Just one more example of Trulia’s questionable web ranking strategies.....start with nofollows and redirects and work your way up to cloaking!

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from Skitzzo 2218 Days ago #
Votes: 2

Do we really feel the need to out every single site we come across that’s using Black Hat techniques?Can’t we just leave the spam detection to Google since they claim to be so good at it?

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from bbcarter 2218 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@Skitzzo I think so- if only to see if Google will enforce consistently.

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from svrpaul 2218 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@Skitzzo - I think if a third party site is using REALTORS listings to game the rankings to rank higher then REALTORS, then it’s a problem. Other third party sites do just fine getting traffic to their site without these tactics.There should be some respect to your "partners" --- especially when being provided FREE content that you need to survive.

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from BogglesMyMind 2217 Days ago #
Votes: 0

pageone may be right to play the karma card, from many perspectives.  When a competitor does it it’s one thing...However, if we really want to make the Internet and specifically search engines a better place, shouldn’t we be calling out people for this kind of stuff?  Couldn’t you build up karma credits by helping get rid of spam?Also really do you think G is even going to do anything about it?  Would this blog post have been a tree in the forest without Sphinn?  Will it be noticed/acted on even with Sphinn?  I can tell you from looking at my favorite definition of spam (Sites Positioned Above Mine) that this stuff hurts some of our clients for very competitive terms.  I have no qualms about reporting them via the proper channels, with client approval.  Does this make any difference?  We have seen results of one site getting busted for a very high visibility term, and two others from the same server ranking within weeks.  I personally am still undecided about "red-lettering" spammers by name.  I may occasionally complain in public about specific keywords that are at the mercy of black hats, probably because it is easier to call out a whole serp when 6 results are using unapproved tactics. :pA couple things that I pause to think about each time is "does the site deserve to rank just as much as mine?   Does it satisfy the searchers results?"  This usually gets me back to the job at hand which is to use accepted techniques to try to beat them.

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from evilgreenmonkey 2217 Days ago #
Votes: 0

A request was made for the removal of this submission, to which the following decision was made:Using similar cases from the past as a basis for my decision, I will not be removing this submission from Sphinn. It’s impossible to draw-up conclusive rules when it comes to "outing" and similar topics, in terms of severity, focus and quality. We have therefore left it to the Sphinn community to choose what they feel deserves to published, by using the Sphinn and Desphinn buttons. With the current number of valid Sphinns dwarfing the number of Desphinns, we take this as a sign that the majority of our community find the submission worthy and useful.

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from Jill 2217 Days ago #
Votes: 0

p1r, while I agree with you that sphinn should not be a place to out spammers (said as much in my desphinn comments), I disagree regarding the snitch part.Some of the biggest snitchers in our industry are the blackhat types.  I’m pretty sure I’ve seen DaveN outing sites, as well as Aaron Wall, and I think even Graywolf. (I’m doing this by memory, so if I’m in error, I apologize.) It always does make me laugh to see spammers outing other spammers. So I think the OP here is just following the lead of his/her mentors.Threadwatch was rampant with outings. I used to say same thing there...that it was like being at IHY!

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from Halfdeck 2217 Days ago #
Votes: 1

I don’t really care if people "snitch." I think its a natural reaction if someone feels out-gunned, have time on their hands to track competitiors’ rankings on a daily basis, and falsely believes strong defense is the best offense. For newbies it may feel like the easy way out (all you gotta do is spend a minute filling a spam report and your competitor poofs from the SERPs, right?) and they get disillusioned when nothing happens after multiple spam reports.The intention of this post I’m guessing is to damage Trulia’s brand so realtors will stop linking to Trulia. Why swap links with Trulia if you don’t get any juice back? What realtors should be doing instead is to stop obsessing about their competition and start thinking creatively about how to add value to their 5k cookie-cutter template websites someone else like Point2, number1exprt, VKI or REW built for them. Of course that’s hard - most realtors just want a turnkey site that ranks and makes money right out of the gate; they’re not interested in making a great site just want a site that ranks high, and are in the habit of doing the least possible to make the most sales. That means don’t do anything creative with their cookie-cutter sites; just optimize the hell out of it and hope to rank higher. Now Trulia is giving people a good scare - but not enough of a scare to abandon old habits.Realtors are still looking for the easy way out - as this post proves, though sometimes what seems like a short cut is a long detour to nowhere.

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from REBlogGirl 2217 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Hear Hear Halfdeck. I don’t care if people snitch either- not that Sphinn is the place for it but so what Trulia gets outed.  My real concern is that the RENet has been macro-psychotic about the way they deal with Trulia and Zillow.  They give them their listings, add content to their wikis, blogs and other open content channels put their widgets on their sites then complain that Trulia and Zillow out shine them in SERPs.   So while cloaking is a pretty dirty trick, there is more to thier dominance than just cloaking - and the same people that complain about thier dominance are the same people that caused it.  That being said, we have found it pretty easy to overcome thier positions in major markets with client sites with exactly what you preach- good SEO.What this latest cloaking scandal tells me is- Trulia is bad at SEO.  They ought to have been able to secure their position without resorting to cloaking.  They had large volumes of very specific content that was updated regularly and a whole bunch of people linking to them naturally.  Seems to me they need to hire better SEOs.

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from tykeblog 2217 Days ago #
Votes: -2

If you ask me, the industry needs more snitching. We need bloggers to snitch on each other, the industry and general naughtiness also make up some stuff as well. If there was ever a time to snitch, I think this is it.Like I’d like to Snitch that Obama is never going to get elected (HA HA HA HA).And also the Queen of England is skint and can’t afford new wallpaper in Buckingham Palace (HAAAAAA HAAAAAAA HAAAAAA!!!!)Happy blogging. Keep snitching.

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from Erika 2217 Days ago #
Votes: 0

"lol, last time I saw stuff like this, it turned out that the OP (of that topic) was a competitor of the site in question and was actually doing the same thing but from a more advanced perspective. Their campaign to oust the competition actually worked too. ;)"Damn.. I JUST said this exact same thing. Sphunn just for being hilarious. LOL.

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from DaveKeffen 2216 Days ago #
Votes: 0

"Some of the biggest snitchers in our industry are the blackhat types.  I’m pretty sure I’ve seen DaveN outing sites, as well as Aaron Wall, and I think even Graywolf. (I’m doing this by memory, so if I’m in error, I apologize.)"Hi Jill, Not sure that you should be accusing Aaron as Black Hat. I’ve spent a lot of time reading his stuff in recent months and have always found his techniques pretty straightforward...if you’re going to start a little mud slinging then surely you’ll need to include all of us...Rand and Danny included.

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from Jill 2216 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Hi Jill, Not sure that you should be accusing Aaron as Black Hat.Huh?I guess you missed the threads where Matt Cutts declared him as such:http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/anti-google-claims-to-reply-or-not/#comment-116573I didn’t realize Aaron didn’t like to be associated with being a blackhat anymore. I’ll keep it under my uncolored hat in the future.Note to Aaron: You may want to get rid of the blackhatseo.com website! :)

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from DaveKeffen 2216 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I did follow that post as it unfolded, but couldn’t help feeling that Aaron, like most other SEO’s has spent a lot of time experimenting to improve ranking. Inevitably those at the front will cross the boundary on occassions, especially when Google are apt to move the boundaries from time to time.Having said this, I respect Matts comments, but also recognize that like everyone else in this business he (especially in his PR role for G) has to protect his reputation.My point is, my experience has been that Aaron mostly steers people away from spammy, and dubious techniques?BTW, I’m interested to see that you think Blackhatseo.com is encouraging BH techniques?Sorry to get a little off topic folks. 

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from Halfdeck 2216 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Dave, "black hat" is not a derogatory term - you could take it to just mean a black hat is more of a technician than a marketer-type, or a dark elf instead of a wood elf. On moral grounds, often black hats are no less ethical than self-proclaimed white hats who call sidebar TLAs "advertisements" to make it easier for them to sleep well at night. Without Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker, Star Wars would have flopped. Neo also had his evil counterpart to create balance - agent Smith. It’s the old Yin and Yang; there’s a place for both forces in the online world.

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from DaveKeffen 2216 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Hi HalfdeckYeah, it’s the old definition issue here...we all seem to mean different things by the terms White/Black Hat. I suppose it’s a bit like the whole Hacker/Cracker issue for the uninitiated. Take your point.

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from WebGuerrilla 2216 Days ago #
Votes: 4

I’m stunned that this is even considered a story. So Trulia provides Seattle Weekly a branded copy  of content found somewhere else on their site. And then they tell Google not to index that duplicate copy, but instaead point them to where the orignal copy exists.And that’s considered evil blackhat? Are you kidding me? If that’s your take on it, you obviously have never worked with duplication issues of the size and scope of a site like Trulia. That kind of technique is used all the time with large sites. The only thing remotely news worthy about the story is the fact that Trulia was retarded enough to rely on UA.

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from johnandrews 2216 Days ago #
Votes: 1

@Jill your bias is showing.. again.That Matt Cutt’s post you referenced didn’t say Aaron Wall was black hat. It concludes:"But I can also see the situation more from Aaron’s eyes after talking with him last week. The resolution that I suggested (and that I’d suggest to anyone in a similar situation) was to disentangle the blackhat-ish site from the other site."Sounds to me like appearances can be misleading, and upon investigation, Matt determined it appeared "blackhat-ish" and therefore, because Google itself is also biased and can’t judge perfectly without human assistance, Aaron is advised to change some things.You can choose to cite the initial Google mistake (that Aaron did some black hat stuff and got caught), or fairly report Matt’s conclusion (that it is not black hat, but appears questionable and so should be changed to be safe). That’s up to you. But however you do it, best not make it a claim unless you have evidence to back up the claim, even if passed off as a third party claim ("...I guess you missed the threads where Matt Cutts declared him as such [Black Hat]")

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from estewart6 2215 Days ago #
Votes: -2

Yikes, that’s big trouble for Trulia.  I’ve been using PropertyMaps lately anyways and I’ve really liked it more.

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from toprnk 2215 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I d not quite understand what’s the whole hubbab is about. Cloaking prohibition by Google implies deceptive intent. I do not see any deception i what trulia is doing. The "trulia" content on the partner site is identical with the content on Trulia site.  Just feel like somebody is just jealous of Trulia rankings here and of course its easier to whine to Google than to optimize your own site.

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from AdamC 2215 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@WebGuerrillaSpot on. Couldn’t agree more.

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from NatashaRobinson 2213 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Couldn’t agree with WebGuerrilla more - "If that’s your take on it, you obviously have never worked with duplication issues of the size and scope of a site like Trulia." Truer words have never been spoken!

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from Halfdeck 2211 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Echoing what WebGuerilla posted, here’s a response from Trulia:"Having opinions is one thing, but name calling is just really unprofessional and despite being called morons, liars, leeches and various other unseemly names, there is nothing secretive going on here. In fact, we very publicly launched the Trulia Publisher Platform earlier this year as a way for publishers to get 100% of the Trulia search experience for their users - without paying even one software engineer - on their sites. Here are the facts: The Trulia Publisher Platform (TPP) gives consumers access to our search experience, and innovation – via their favorite websites. Every TPP has a disallow directive to crawlers in the robots.txt file, to tell crawlers not to index the TPP pages. Because search engines sometimes do not respect the robots.txt directive, we have put in place a redirect to the Trulia.com site to avoid the duplicate content issue. As many of you know, we don’t want duplicate pages to exist at the same time because Google considers that spamming the index. For example, kiplinger.trulia.com/CA/San_Francisco/ is basically the same Trulia page as http://www.trulia.com/CA/San_Francisco/ - to have Google index both would be spamming the index. For example, Parade Magazine readers can click on their “real estate” section and have access to our 3 million listings and all of our search tools, including those that we haven’t created yet. And thanks to the disallow directive and redirect, this shows you that Google is not indexing Parade Magazine’s TPP: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=site%3Aparade.trulia.com&btnG=Google+Search The TPP pages uphold the spirit of the original page’s content – so the redirect goes to http://www.trulia.com versus abc.trulia.com. The user experience for the consumer is the same on both pages and the content is the same. Finally, we do not require links for the use of TPP, and in fact many of our TPP partners do not link to us as part of their implementation. More information is here: http://www.trulia.com/publishers/platform/"

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from IncrediBILL 2189 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Graywolf is BH?[faints]

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from davidmihm 1838 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Eric, I probably would have Sphunn this post, but that Flash video caused my session of Firefox to seize up and eventually crash...use screenshots next time please!

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from pageoneresults 1838 Days ago #
Votes: 0

This type of stuff will drag Sphinn right into the mud. You watch.

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from Jill 1838 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I don’t believe in publicly outing spammers and don’t think it should be allowed at sphinn (imo)

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from DaveKeffen 1838 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I agree with Jill. Not the place for outing Spammers.

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from webuildpages 1838 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I don’t think sphinn should be used for outing companies practices. bad karma

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