Experts Exchange appears to be presenting different pages to Google than it does to users (again)

By tonyhughes Hughes, in , posted: 29-Jul-2008 11:39

It used to be that if you found an Experts Exchange result in Google, you could go to the page, and even without a membership to the site, simply scroll all the way down, past endless pages of boring internal links etc, and find the un-obsfucated answers at the bottom of the page, ready to read.

I believe this was to do with Google having a requirement that sites present the same content to Googlebot, as it does to casual human users.

With Experts Exchange value (to them) in being that you have to pay to see answers, but also wanting to get the answers indexed (as the answers themselves are valuable search fodder), they ended up with the above scenario - present all the info free, with login, to humans and the bot, but arrange it so the average human can't actually see it.

Of course, anyone with half an ounce of web-savvy (often the very people that EE is trying to engage with), could get the answers they were looking for, for free.

I just noticed today, that this is partially no longer the case - the EE page no longer has clear answers at the bottom, but the Google Cache for the page does:

Cache here, real page here.

Trying to increase revenue? Decrease leeching of its IP?

It's not a very open model to start with, there is so much free information out there, though the quality of the information at EE seems to be quite high.



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Comment by freitasm, on 29-Jul-2008 11:54

One word: cloaking. This is not liked by Google. EE should be ashamed. Or you could change your user-agent string when visiting their pags ;)


Comment by chiefie, on 29-Jul-2008 12:32

Remind me next time to be "google-bot" if I need to step into Expert-sEx-change... *lol* Oh boy, I should so get gun-fired for that.


Comment by stuart, on 29-Jul-2008 14:12

I don't think that changing your user agent to the GoogleBot makes a difference. So I don't know how they are getting around it, but it's something sneaky.


Comment by sleemanj, on 29-Jul-2008 14:17

The "feature" in question was mentioned in a slashdot, or was it digg discussion in the last few days, I didn't previously know about it, and as soon as I saw it mentioned on which of those sites it was that mentioned it I figured it wouldn't be like that for much longer :-)


Comment by paul, on 2-Sep-2008 00:54

As far as I can tell they seem to be checking the IP address of the user. And they allow google owned ip's(ie GoogleBot) to have full access. Sneaky but also clever at the same time


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