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What Is Pagejacking? Preventing Pagejacking

By Charles Hopkins Published 06/2/2006 | Internet

 Web surfing offers many different kinds of experience the useful and the redundant, the profitable and the idle, the regular and the bizarre. And certainly one of the strangest experiences is when you try to visit a familiar page and suddenly find yourself on a completely different one, related or unrelated to the page you were trying to reach. What happened? Has the website changed its business?

Actually, the page got jacked. Perhaps you were searching for the page in a search engine, and got a link which you thought should be what you were looking for. But when you clicked on the link, you found that you were in the wrong place. Even wrong enough to get you embarrassed when there are other people nearby. Search engines do not make that kind of mistake, so what happened was the page go jacked, which fooled the search engine into thinking that it was relevant for your search.

You know how the internet works. There are banner ads and other kinds of ads which earn revenue for that site, and that is how they make a profit. Websites and businesses for alliances among themselves, and carry each other's ads on their sites. When you got to a particular site and click on an ad that you find interesting, the original website gains some amount of money from the site to which your click takes you. So it's possible for websites to make a profit from your visit. Naturally, they want you to visit their page.

That all fine and acceptable, as long as they use legitimate means of bringing you to their site. Like optimize their site for search engines, or promote their site in some other way. But when they become too eager, they sometimes cross the line between what's acceptable what what isn't. And sometimes they use pagejacking.

Sometimes in order to increase the rating of some visitor-starved website, the whole content of a popular site is copied by an unscrupulous webmaster and duplicated on his own site. This is done merely in order to fool the search engines into thinking that it was the original item. And when this ploy works, the duplicate site appears among the top results returned by a search engine on a search made using the relevant key words or phrases.

This increases the chance that users will click on that link on the results page, without looking to carefully at the address to which it leads. And when they do, they will be taken to the duplicate site briefly, before being automatically redirected to another site the one that could use some visitors to generate revenue. This is known as pagejacking.

As a user, there is little you can do in order to prevent this kind of nuisance, except be more careful about the actual URL of the link you're clicking on the search engine results page. If you are opening asite from your bookmarks, or typing in the URL directly, there's no chance of your being duped by a pagejacker.

If you're the owner or the maintainer of the website that got jacked, however, it's a different story. The main way you can hit back against the offenders is by suing them or threatening to sue under the copyright law. The content and design of your website is copyright material, and they're violating you copyright by reproducing it without your permission. So send them a formal letter asking them to cease and desist, and follow it up with a letter from your lawyer. Pagejackers are normally sniveling cowards, and this should suffice to solve the problem. If it doesn't, however, do not hesitate to go to court you're sure to win this one, and also get compensation for the business you lost because of this obstruction.