Several verified hotel website links from the Google+ Local listings are changed to thousands of spam websites by hijacking those listings, according to a report found this on Tuesday.
Google and its search products follower, Search Engine Land reported the issue. The URLs posted inside these listings were changed to spam website, which then redirected the users to a third-party hotel booking sites. Those listings has to link to the their own original “Hotel websites” such as Marriott’s Courtyard Los Angeles in Sherman Oaks (as per the example image), instead it linked to spam websites such as courtyardmarriot.roomstobook.info, roomstobook.net, which were redirecting the users to HotelsWhiz.com website.
According to the report, there were more than 3,000 Google+ Local listings were affected, in which around 1,880 leads to “RoomsToBook.Info” domain, 1150 listings leads to “RoomsToBook.Net” domain and around 370 listings leads to l-lotel.com, all are spam sites.
Google responded and said that the spam team is aware of the hijacking of Google+ listings and are in the process of fixing the issue. At first attempt, we can easily say that these links were posted to gain traffic and ultimately to make affiliate income from third-party bookings providers, but that could have also used for phishing the users or steal customer details. Whatever it may be, the world’s largest internet company shouldn’t allow these kind of tricks on its growing social network.
[ Source: Search Engine Land ]