Could Time Warner Be Using Black Hat SEO To Help Search Rankings Rewritten

Could Time Warner Be Using Black Hat SEO To Help Search Rankings

This is​ an​ exclusive story,​ researched and written by Eric Van Buskirk

Is it​ possible that MarkMonitor,​ Inc,​ who call themselves “a global leader in​ the​ fast-growing market for online corporate identity” has been secretly hiding links on​ behalf of​ TimeWarner? is​ this being done on​ subdomains of​ in​ order to​ rank high in​ the​ search engines? you​ decide. MarkMonitor owns the​ domain name,​ a​ site with a​ homepage which re-directs to​ the​ main site. So it​ would seem they are running this site on​ behalf of​ TimeWarner.

If you​ go to​ the​ timeinc site and view some of​ the​ source code of​ the​ pages,​ you​ will find error pages that have links below an​ image map at​ the​ bottom of​ the​ page,​ links which are hidden from viewers and added to​ increase the​ search engine ranking of​ other Time Warner properties. This link-hiding practice is​ often referred to​ as​ “Black Hat” SEO.

An image map tells the​ browser how to​ display an​ image. That is​ it’s only purpose. However,​ some of​ the​ pages on​ have links hidden to​ viewers next to​ the​ image maps. if​ one views the​ source of​ sub domains such as​ or​,​ it​ is​ apparent there are four links to​ other TimeWarner properties:

<MAP NAME="brandsmap">
<AREA SHAPE="rect" COORDS="0,​0,​69,​27" HREF="">
<AREA SHAPE="rect" COORDS="71,​0,​141,​27" HREF="">
<AREA SHAPE="rect" COORDS="144,​0,​213,​27" HREF="">
<AREA SHAPE="rect" COORDS="215,​0,​287,​27" HREF="">
<AREA SHAPE="rect" COORDS="288,​0,​357,​27" HREF="">
<AREA SHAPE="rect" COORDS="360,​0,​429,​27" HREF="">
<AREA SHAPE="rect" COORDS="432,​0,​501,​27" HREF="">
<AREA SHAPE="rect" COORDS="504,​0,​573,​27" HREF="">

Did MarkMonitor,​inc,​ a​ huge company and a​ true leader in​ “defending brand names” online buy this domain,​ redirect the​ traffic to​ and find places to​ hide links to​ other Time websites out of​ pure altruism? It’s possible,​ but hard to​ believe. it​ should be noted that there are very important subscription pages on​ other sub domains of​ timeinc. This is​ not a​ domain that was cast away and has no value for linking.

If MarkMonitor purposefully hid links as​ it​ would seem,​ altruism towards Time seems an​ unlikely motive.

There is​ an​ increasingly fine line with what is​ acceptable and what is​ not for search engine optimization. at​ ClickStream,​ we believe the​ last group that needs to​ employ sneaky techniques to​ rank high are fortune 500 companies. in​ essence,​ these companies are the​ ones that have whole “rings” of​ websites. Yet,​ search engines will ban individuals that create multiple sites for the​ purpose of​ linking to​ each other and creating a​ link circle.

Time should be able to​ link in​ a​ circle with its various media companies. That may seem an​ unfair advantage,​ but they are separate entities that have the​ same parent company. What certainly seems unfair is​ for them to​ take further advantage of​ the​ circular linking by hiding links that only the​ search engines can see.

The recent storm has just passed over the​ BMW being removed from the​ Google search engine pages. BMW’s German site was found using “doorway pages” to​ build traffic and rank for their site. Google was able to​ document that BMW's German website used the​ search results to​ get a​ top ranking if​ people searched for "used car.” Searching for BMW Germany will bring no results. was well ranked but it​ dropped completely out of​ the​ Google index in​ a​ matter of​ 2 days.

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