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After seeing an increase of shady organic keyword results appearing in Google Analytics we identified the referring Hostname. After adding the exit page to hostname we discovered someone cloned our site on multiple subdirectories of the offending site, replacing all of the links with urls nobody in their right mind would intentionally click on.

I realize this is a similar question to "Parallel website running a copy of my original website" and will take the necessary steps to prevent hotlinking, but I'm not concerned about copyright. I'm more interested in learning about the security and protecting our customers aspect of this.

Why would somebody go through all this trouble to imitate our site in this way and should we be concerned?

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    Spam, fraud, theft. Anything to make money. – John Conde Apr 2 '15 at 17:54
  • To be honest, lately, I cannot find a payoff for the bat rastards. We have seen several questions like this lately and there does not seem to be an advantage to copying a site that I can find unless there is something very new I am missing. Yes. Sometimes they are spammers stealing content for their own ad revenue, but lately, this has not been the case. – closetnoc Apr 2 '15 at 20:00
  • Another (more recent) related question: Someone has cloned my WordPress blog, how do I prevent it from hurting SEO – MrWhite Apr 2 '15 at 23:27
  • Agreed @closetnoc - not seeing the logic behind this though makes us suspicious. – Rob Apr 3 '15 at 18:24
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What really is happening which could happen again is that random computers are programmed to scan the entire internet looking for servers to do malicious acts to such as copying websites.

While blocking IP's is a good idea at first, it can be bad later because legit people might be using the same IP as the attacker once used.

The only thing I would suggest in this case is for you to add something to your web server that will limit the amount of connections or data that can be downloaded in any given time period, and anything that exceeds that will be directed to an error page until they slow down. This will greatly lower your chances of your content being copied. Instead, they can have your error page.

And as for why? Yes I would agree, some would make such computers do this kind of work for money while others might do it for fun. In reality, we can't just dwell on the reason, but if you begin taking action to send these automated "bots" to the error page, then you'll be better off.

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