Seems the guys at Googleplex may need to reload if they keep shooting themselves in the foot like this. Check out a thread from Search Engine Watch:
Those of you who know me, know that I am the last person to find intrinsic fault with cloaking, but I’ve come across a particularly obnoxious practice of it, and I’m basically looking for advice.
The scam is perpetrated by a hosting company on its hosting clients. When a search engine spider, such as Googlebot, requests a client’s page, the host adds a bunch of links to the page that is returned. The client has no idea that it happens. The links are mostly to the host site’s pages, and are added for the link text benefit.
Also, new pages are added to the clients’ sites, including a new sub-directory. Links to the new stuff are added to normal pages. The links point to new URLs within the client’s site. The returned pages from those URLs simply contain links, with targeted link text, to the host’s pages and sites. The new URLs are not static and don’t exist in the client’s site, so the client can’t see them with FTP. Requests for the URLs are simply intercepted and the links page is returned to search engines, while people get a 302 to the site’s home page.
A few thread later GoogleGuy Replies
What a scuzzy practice. PhilC, if you want to send an email spam report to webmaster [at] google.com and mention your nick “PhilC” I’ll be happy to check it out. I’ve seen stuff like that before, but it’s usually pretty rare–legitimate hosts have a lot to lose from deceiving their hosting clients like that. I’d be happy to ask someone to investigate and to be very careful to protect the innocent pages. This isn’t the right forum to talk about details, but practices like that just go way beyond legitimate and into scamming.
A few threads later Aaron Wall of SEO Book replies
Originally Posted by NFFC
>What a scuzzy practice.
For sure and thanks to PhilC for making the effort to expose this.
I can’t think of anything worse than placing links on a web site without the owners permission.
some webmasters are getting frustrated with this practice.
Now the priceless part GoogleGuy calling the practice scuzzy when the toolbar does the exact same thing! So is it only scuzzy when someone else does it and not Google? Maybe you can clarify that one for us?
Here’s the full thread link