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I recently created a very simple, pure HTML website which I have hosted with "hostmonster". Hostmonster had very good reviews on some comparison website and in general so far they appear to be perfectly good in every way... At least I thought so until just now...

I have been making lots of edits to my site on an almost daily basis. My site now appears on the first page (7th on the list) for my most important keyphrase when doing a google search. But I did notice some problem with the snippet chosen by google. I asked a question on this site about snippets and got some great answers. I then made some modifications to my meta data and within 48hrs the google snippet for my search was perfect. The odd thing though was that looking at the "cached" version google had, it appeared that the cache was still very old- like three weeks previous. This seemed very odd - how could it be that the google robots had read my new metadata without updating the cache? This puzzled me greatly. Just now it occurred to me that maybe I had some goofey setting in my robots.txt file. I didn't actually remember even making one - but I thought I'd have a look just in case. Much to my horror, I saw that there was a robots.txt and it contained the disturbing text below:

sitemap: http://cdn.attracta.com/sitemap/728687.xml.gz

Intuitively this looks like some kind of junk, spam trick, and I had indeed been getting some spam from "attracta".

So my questions are: 1. Should I simply delete this robots.txt? 2. Was the file there all along - placed there because of some commercial tie-in between attracta and hostmonster. 3. Does the attracta robots file explain the lack of re-caching?

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1 Answer 1

up vote 6 down vote accepted
  1. You can see what the file contains here: http://cdn.attracta.com/sitemap/728687/0.xml.gz If that doesn't reflect your sites structure I would delete it. However see answer 2 - you may be able to update it to make it accurate.

  2. Probably.

An Attracta Starter Account ($120/year value) is bundled and integrated into the HostMonster Control Panel of every website account. http://www.attracta.com/partner.jsp

If you can find where Attracta is on the control panel you could get the sitemap updated I would think.

3 . It depends on how accurate that file is.

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I thought the file would be too hard to view because of the ".gz" extension - but I just had a look at it. Its HORRIBLY WRONG! And its says "<lastmod>2011-05-19" - which is utter c**p! That explains everything!! - "Attracta" is clearly a rip-off junk spam company pretending to offer a service. –  Mick Jun 24 '11 at 8:23
    
I just phoned hostmonster tech support - and the guy I spoke to was puzzled as to how the robots file ever got there!... There is no sign of the word attracta on the hostmonster control panel. –  Mick Jun 24 '11 at 8:57
    
Sounds like you need to delete it then. –  paulmorriss Jun 24 '11 at 9:08
    
I did - but 10mins later it came back! I have now spoken to hostmonster tech support several times - they think its a glitch in their systems and are working to fix it. –  Mick Jun 24 '11 at 9:39
    
Problem now solved - I ended up contacting attracta directly and they had to unsubscribe me manually. I still think the way that they operate via hostmonster is very misleading. I shall steer well clear of attracta in future. –  Mick Jun 25 '11 at 6:45
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