How to Report 302 Redirects, Web Page Hijackers and Scrapers

How to Contact Google

As of late Oct. 2005 Google is asking for volunteers to help eliminate spam. If you see a website involved in any kind of spam, or deceptive redirects go to Google's Spam Report page and fill out the form and click on the particlar problem affecting your site--with a redirect you need to click on "deceptive redirects" or anything else you see they are doing that is against Google's rules. Tell them you suspect a site has a 302 redirect to your site and it's harming your rank in Google. Stick to the facts. They probably won't answer your letter but they will likely investigate and put the other site out of their index or penalize it. Include the following in your letter:

How to Contact the Hijacker or Scraper

Check to see if they provide an email contact on their web site. You may have to go to the home page to find it (not likely for a hijacker). If not, then get the contact email off their domain data by going to: Internic Domain Names. Sites hosted by GoDaddy need to go to GoDaddy for this information.

The search will bring up a page saying that domain name is taken. Click on the Whois link. This will provide contact info for this domain name. Write the Registrant and or the Administrative contact email and provide them with the URLs, and other data you found showing they have a 302 redirect or that they have "scraped" your website and it is affecting your website rank.

Keep in mind that this might be an honest mistake on the part of the owner/webmaster so just inform them of what you have found on the first contact and request they remove the link. The owner of the site (usually the registrant or administrative contact) may not be aware of what the webmaster is doing either.

If they don't answer or reply to your request and refuse to remove the 302 or redirecting link or scraped content then do the following:

How to Contact the Hosting Company

The Host company is usually listed at the bottom of the domain/WhoIs data. It will look something similar to the following:
NS1.TheHostingCompanysDomainGoesHere.COM or .Net or etc

Sometimes the hosting data only contains IP address numbers in this format:

If the domain name of the host is not included in the WhoIs data you can find it by one of the following methods:

Write the hosting contacts with the following information:

When the Hijacker is also the Host
Some hijackers (probably all of the dishonest ones) host their site on their own server, which makes it harder to report them because if the owner of the site doesn't repond to your emails they won't respond to their hosting contact emails either, which are often the same email.

However they have to be using an ISP or host server to host their site onto the internet and all ISPs have very strict rules about copyright infringement so you just need to find out who their ISP is. In that case Go to DNSstuff again and bring up the Whois info on the hosts domain and this time click on their IP address which is connected to which will give you the contact info for that server/host. Write them following the steps below.

Gather TOS Data from the Hijacker's Hosting Co.

Now you need to find statements provided by the hosting company warning their clients against breaking rules, usually called TOS (Terms of Service) or Terms of Use, or Policy Statement, or Rules, etc., which always contain strict rules about copyright infringement. You may have to click on their hosting package or contact pages to find these.

Write to the Hijacker's Host

Copy the Host's copyright infringement rules, or whatever rules you think have been broken, and write the host a letter. They often provide an email for abuse and give a list of information they need to prove abuse. If not, provide them the name of offending web site and URL, the owner's name and let them know that you were unable to contact the owner by email (or they refused to comply with your request to remove the offending link) and give the reason you are writing, i.e., to report a web site abusing your copyright by stealing your content or hijacking your traffic and PR with dishonest means.

Include all the data you have gathered from your searches including the offending URl, how many pages or sites affected (according to your Google search) and any other data that applies to this situation. Provide urls so it's easy for them to verify the information. If your website has been online for over a year you can get 3rd party proof from the Way Back Machine which keeps a record of all websites. Include a copy of the domain Whois data of their client and proof that the email letter bounced, etc.

Keep in mind that (hopefully) the Host company more than likely doesn't own the offender's site and all hosting companies are under strict rules to not allow this kind of activity to continue or they will loose their license. They will more than likely either reprimand their client or may even remove the offending parties web site if they don't remove the offending content quickly.

If you don't get a response from the Hijacker's Host it may be because the hijacker is using his own server as the host. In that case you have to try and find their ISP (internet service provider) and report to them (see above).

Last resort - File a DMCA complaint

If, after, exhausting all other means to have this hijacking corrected, with no response from the hijackers you have one more recourse before taking them to court. It is time consuming and has to be done by regular mail or faxing the document but it often works to file a DMCA complaint (Digital Millennium Copyright Act). If you file a false complaint it could result in legal fines for yourself so get all your facts straight and make sure it was a deliberate hijacking.

All of the above takes time and research but until the search engines are able to detect a dishonest redirect or sites hijacking your own site and stealing your traffic you'll have to do this or loose rank and business for your site.

See also: How to Stop Those Stealing your Content

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