Many people have noticed that the Google site: command is no longer showing the 302 redirected urls from outside domains. This led to the question of whether Google had actually solved the hijacking problem, or whether they had simply removed the ability of webmasters to see the problem via the site: command. According to Googleguy, in this thread, the answer is still fairly unclear. The good news is that Google has finally acknowledged the problem, and is apparently doing *something* about it. Hopefully, that *something* is an actual fix, and not that of merely hiding it from the public.
Originally, Googleguy said We changed things so that site: won't return results from other sites in the supplemental results. We are also changing some of the core heuristics for the results for 302s. I believe that most of these changes are out, but there may be a few more in the pipeline. Later, he seemed to answer yes to the following two questions (three questions were asked, but only two answers were given, and I am making a guess at which one he decided not to answer*):
Will the heuristics changes prevent a malicious site from scoring for my original content?
Will these changes pass PR (etc.) thru to the actual pages with the content?
His answer though was tinged with uncertainty and he promised to check into it further. For the moment, I will give Google the benefit of the doubt, and will assume that they have an actual fix in place. However, if the duplicate content penalties are not lifted for the hijacked sites soon, then I will have to wonder if this is truly a fix, or a clever smokescreen (dare I use the word "cloak"?). We are watching - and waiting.
*The "assumed" unanswered question: Will the 302-jackers be derated if not penalized?
UPDATE: In answer to the question about whether or not the penalty would be lifted from the affected sites, Googleguy said, crobb305, in many of the cases that I've examined, a spam penalty comes first. That spam penalty causes the PageRank of a site to decrease. Since one of the heuristics to pick a canonical site was to take PageRank into account, the declining PageRank of a site was usually the root cause of the problem. That's what happened with your site, crobb305. So the right way forward for people who still have problems is to send us a reinclusion report.
To make sure this is clear: If you have been penalized due to a 302 redirect hijacking, email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject "Reinclusion request" to explain the situation and ask to have the penalty lifted.
Keep your eye on the thread mentioned above for further developments.
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