Stopping Spammers

luxer

In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity
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#1
Recently I came across a serious problem with spammers and have been unable to figure out what to do.

They created 1000s of affiliate accounts with the affiliate program that I use for my website (refersion)

Example link the spammers are using
http://www.mywebsite.com/?rfsn=abc.123

Have been noticing drops in the serps over the last year but had no idea what was going on. With them creating 1000s of accounts I cant even imagine how many 100's of thousands of links they have been creating.

Is there a way to use the Google disavow tool if we know the /?rfsn code without finding the actual links?

Any thoughts or feedback would be appreciated! I am in the process of going through 10,000+ affiliate accounts currently trying to figure out which ones are NOT spammers as it seems the majority are .RU emails etc.
 

Ryuzaki

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#2
@luxer, You can't do any Regex or anything like that in the disavow tool. You're limited to either listing an entire domain or the direct full length URL.

One thing you could do is set it up (I've not done this but I'm sure it's possible somehow) to take any incoming traffic or even just googlebot, and make them pass through a 302 redirect with a nofollow HTTP header status. So basically, no matter the links created by affiliates, they'll all go nofollow and you don't have to worry about it. I would argue you should be doing this anyways because otherwise it's an incentivized link meaning it's a paid link, which will lead to a penalty. Affiliates should be doing this on their side anyways, otherwise they're "selling links." Yes, the big boys get away with it or Google adjust those links on their side for them.

So this would probably be something you do in .htaccess, redirecting the URLs with that code to the exact same page minus the /?rfsn parameter, through a PHP file that can add the nofollow HTTP header for the browser.

This is how I do my affiliate links on the way out (not the way in like you need) and it works fantastically. Saves me from having to tag nofollow to each of them manually too.
 

luxer

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#3
Wow @Ryuzaki you never fail to impress. Unfortunately editing the .htaccess is not an option as the site is built on Shopify.

What I have been able to do moving forward is use Refersion's domain as a buffer like this,

https://MYDOMAINNAME.refersion.com/c/abc.123

I originally had thought GREAT I will be getting all these possibly juicey links from affiliates all the time, big mistake people. Vet your affiliates!

I wish I had paid more attention to this over the last year. Additionally if anyone has any thoughts on how to make these past affiliates links pass through a 302 redirect as Ryuzaki suggested I would love to hear it.