Interview With Michael Oeser – Owner of ThemeShift

The domain mobilepress.co.za belong to the semi-popular WordPress plugin MobilePress.

As we mentioned above, we monitor a lot of keywords related to WordPress. We also study a lot of data related to SEO. It would be impossible for us or anyone else to say whether or not the owner of mobilepress.co.za is intentionally doing this. He could simply be redirecting his website to ThemeForest using an affiliate link – he has every right to do so!

BUT! We do want to focus on how Google’s search engine algorithm is deciding to rank this domain. With less than 30 lines of code, this domain was able to gain amazing rankings! Here’s the code we’ve copied (seriously, this is their entire website):

So, what exactly is this code doing? We’ll it’s pretty simple, anyone that reaches their website from an IP address that’s traced to the United States is redirected to ThemeForest using an affiliate link (tylerreed). Anyone that isn’t from the United States is being redirected to layerswp.com. Why? We have no idea, but that isn’t the point.

Again, there’s nothing wrong with an affiliate redirecting their website, assuming ThemeForest/Envato is okay with that type of thing. The problem is that for some reason Google isn’t interpreting this website’s ranking correctly. When you view Google’s cached version of mobilepress.co.za, it’s an exact copy of themeforest.com.

Servicerr does not sell themes on ThemeForest, nor are we an affiliate. We simply provide premium WordPress support and maintenance services. However, we do frequently recommend certain themes from ThemeForest to our customers – along with tons of others.

 

I’ll leave it up to a wonderful SEO blogger to discuss how or why this is happening in Google’s search results. However, I do think some WordPress bloggers may find it interesting to look into how many searches that each of the terms listed above are getting on a monthly basis.

WordPress Form Manager Exploit – Authenticated Remote Command Execution (RCE)

But what about the tens of thousands of affiliates that are now losing money because of Google’s blunder? Ahhhh… some of you may not have thought about that. Let’s say that someone clicks on your ThemeForest affiliate link. If they make a purchase, you’re supposed to earn a commission. But let’s say they do a quick search on Google for “best wordpress themes” and then click on the mobilepress.co.za domain. It looks like you’re not the one earning a commission anymore.

Again, this may not be the fault of the affiliate and I certainly don’t believe it’s ThemeForest’s fault. In fact, I don’t even think it’s a huge deal that it’s happening, personally. But I think it does show a significant issue in Google’s ranking algorithm. What if a website were to use a similar tactic to rank on the first page for a major bank’s login page? A popular email service? Your web hosting company?

With all that being said, this is simply something Google needs to get resolved. Not just for this domain, but for any using tactics such as this for illegitimate purposes. Hundreds of millions of people depend on Google because… well, just look at the alternatives.

BulletProof Security Exploit – Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)

Again, this may not be the fault of the affiliate and I certainly don’t believe it’s ThemeForest’s fault. In fact, I don’t even think it’s a huge deal that it’s happening, personally. But I think it does show a significant issue in Google’s ranking algorithm. What if a website were to use a similar tactic to rank on the first page for a major bank’s login page? A popular email service? Your web hosting company?

With all that being said, this is simply something Google needs to get resolved. Not just for this domain, but for any using tactics such as this for illegitimate purposes. Hundreds of millions of people depend on Google because… well, just look at the alternatives.

I’ll leave it up to a wonderful SEO blogger to discuss how or why this is happening in Google’s search results. However, I do think some WordPress bloggers may find it interesting to look into how many searches that each of the terms listed above are getting on a monthly basis.

Is ThemeForest Being Exploited or Just Google?

At Servicerr we monitor a couple thousand keywords related to the WordPress industry.

We’ve recently seen the domain mobilepress.co.za start showing up in the search engine result pages (SERPs). Interestingly, this website appears to simply be redirecting to ThemeForest, using an affiliate link.

The domain mobilepress.co.za belong to the semi-popular WordPress plugin MobilePress.

As we mentioned above, we monitor a lot of keywords related to WordPress. We also study a lot of data related to SEO. It would be impossible for us or anyone else to say whether or not the owner of mobilepress.co.za is intentionally doing this. He could simply be redirecting his website to ThemeForest using an affiliate link – he has every right to do so!

BUT! We do want to focus on how Google’s search engine algorithm is deciding to rank this domain. With less than 30 lines of code, this domain was able to gain amazing rankings! Here’s the code we’ve copied (seriously, this is their entire website):

So, what exactly is this code doing? We’ll it’s pretty simple, anyone that reaches their website from an IP address that’s traced to the United States is redirected to ThemeForest using an affiliate link (tylerreed). Anyone that isn’t from the United States is being redirected to layerswp.com. Why? We have no idea, but that isn’t the point.

Again, there’s nothing wrong with an affiliate redirecting their website, assuming ThemeForest/Envato is okay with that type of thing. The problem is that for some reason Google isn’t interpreting this website’s ranking correctly. When you view Google’s cached version of mobilepress.co.za, it’s an exact copy of themeforest.com.

Servicerr does not sell themes on ThemeForest, nor are we an affiliate. We simply provide premium WordPress support and maintenance services. However, we do frequently recommend certain themes from ThemeForest to our customers – along with tons of others.

But what about the tens of thousands of affiliates that are now losing money because of Google’s blunder? Ahhhh… some of you may not have thought about that. Let’s say that someone clicks on your ThemeForest affiliate link. If they make a purchase, you’re supposed to earn a commission. But let’s say they do a quick search on Google for “best wordpress themes” and then click on the mobilepress.co.za domain. It looks like you’re not the one earning a commission anymore.