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Google Redirects Are Siphoning Etsy Traffic

Online sellers say scammers and spammers are continuing to use redirects to siphon Google traffic away from their Etsy listings. In April, EcommerceBytes reported that scammers were exploiting Google by using doorway pages to drive shoppers to their own websites.

Scammers copy Etsy listing pages onto websites that then show up in Google search results, but when shoppers click, they’re redirected to the scammers’ own websites where they are selling other items.

“Were you aware that this is STILL going on,” a reader asked on Monday. “Investors don’t want stock in a company that has copyright violations but they want to invest in a company that has many of the listings of the shops that show up in google searches being redirected to Iphone cases and porn? As a consequence, many shops are reporting low views and sales and very little activity from Google. Etsy and Google have both been aware of this for months and Etsy has said nothing in any announcement about it or how to report the issue to Google.”

The reader referenced a thread on the Etsy boards that had grown to 95 pages where sellers had been discussing the problem since April. At that time, Etsy said they had reported the issue to Google, “But unfortunately since this is caused by other sites who are trying to manipulate Google and Google search results, there is not much we are able to do from our end to resolve it.”

One seller said reporting the problem through Google’s spam report form was not the end of things. “The hackers will keep creating new sites as quickly as you are getting rid of the old ones. It is therefore essential that Etsy put in place a fix to prevent the root cause – the content being scraped in the first place.”

Etsy also said last month in the same thread that it wasn’t the only marketplace victimized by redirects. “Sites like Amazon, eBay, and other ecommerce sites are also subject to these spam tactics.”

Etsy would not provide comment on this story, and Google has not responded to our inquiries about the problem.

Comment on the EcommerceBytes Blog.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.