Aboutus.org spamming search results

Aboutus logoYou have probably seen search results from aboutus.com in the result list at Google when searching for some company or domain. I just noticed the listing the other day when doing some SEO for this site. A Google search for cominvent currently brings the aboutus entry up on third place.

So what’s so wrong about aboutus’s practice? Isn’t it nice if they help people find sites and companies out there? Well, not necessarily. There has been a lot of criticism about aboutus’s practice, a Google search for “aboutus.org unethical” returns 550 hits (such as this). There are several bad things:

  • They highly optimize all their pages to show up high on search results, causing them to steal traffic which should have come to your legitimate site. In turn they generate revenue to themselves, not to us as they claim themselves, by having people click their Google ads
  • If you have not blocked their bot in your robots.txt (here’s how) your site will be crawled and parsed as soon as someone search for your domain…
  • The information they crawl about your site cannot be removed once it’s in there – you can only edit it, as can everybody else. This is inconsistent, since they allow you to block their bot in the first place. You should protest about this practice to them!
  • Anyone can edit the page about your site, thus you get the same valdalism issues as for Wikipedia, although worse since there are fewer editors caring about the correctness of the info about your company.
  • Your page will only be fetched once, and after that the aboutus.org entry will not be updated manually, so it will pretty soon get out-dated. This, combined with the practice of not allowing deletions, is very very on purpose, to make you feel obliged to edit your entry, thus forcing more traffic and more usage of their own services.

Well, what I did, apart from adding their bot to my own robots.txt is edit my own entry, replacing all info with the text (removed by owner), inserting a text complaining about aboutus and inserting another link to my site.