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Warning: Wowhead Search Results Maliciously Targeted by WoW Eden
01/3/2017 em 21:28
Over the past few months, Wowhead has been the target of a malicious campaign by the WoW Eden domain. As WoW Eden's actions present Wowhead in an inaccurate poor light, we have been taking steps to escalate this issue to the appropriate representatives, and wanted to inform our users of the situation in this post.
TLDR: When searching for results on Wowhead via Google, WoW Eden took over the result and used it to redirect you to other sites. As of 3 pm March 2nd this is now fixed and WoW Eden is gone, but Wowhead's search results are also gone - working on fix. WoW Eden is still maliciously affecting results in Bing and DuckDuckGo.
WoW Eden has set up a spider bot that hijacks Wowhead's SEO listings. Whenever Google parses WoW Eden, the results look exactly like Wowhead - which confuses search listings. But when a User Agent like Chrome or Firefox hits WoW Eden, it 302s and redirects to a random site. To clarify, Wowhead is not compromised and the actual site is safe to use. The search results are tampered with and what this post is about.
The end result is that when you search for something, the Wowhead search result - whether it be #1, #10, or #20 in Google rankings - has been replaced by a WoW Eden result. While this does not affect all Wowhead listings, it affects a sizable-enough amount that warrants us making a post about the issue. These results have the same titles and descriptions as Wowhead articles, including mentioning "Wowhead" on most database results, so at a glance it looks like the regular Wowhead page. The actual Wowhead link is gone from search listings - totally gone, not ranked lower.
However, when you click on the link, it doesn't take you to Wowhead. Your browser runs through many referrals to obfuscate the process, and then you end up on a random site that's part of WoW Eden's referral network. It could be something innocuous-looking like Amazon or malicious like porn sites. We're sure this has confused users over the past few months into thinking Wowhead has been hijacked by a malicious ad and taken to a random domain. Again, this is not something Wowhead can control, WoW Eden is an unaffiliated site.
At this point we have reached out to several representatives at Google and Go Daddy, filed reports, and taken
. As you can imagine, these companies get many reports to sift through, and it's a slower process than we'd like. In the meantime, we're continuing to put out our content and tools, but it's quite upsetting to feel like our work is being erased on Google, especially when we're in the middle of a PTR cycle and being the first to break lots of interesting news.
One way you can still find Wowhead in search results is to type what you are looking for and then the search term
after your search term. Alternatively, on Chrome, you can download the
Personal Blocklist (by Google) browser extension
which allows you to hide any search results by a specific domain.
Thanks again for your continued support. We hope Google or Go Daddy can resolve the issue soon.
Edit: it looks like WoW Eden is being removed from search results. Unfortunately for us, the Wowhead listing has not been restored as part of this process. We are trying to resubmit the site map and take other measures to restore our search results - this is still a bad situation for us. Edit - 6am March 3rd - we have found some, but not all, of our affected search results restored. Still working on a fix.
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