Posted March 6, 2008 2:28 pm by with 15 comments

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If you’ve been following Matt Cutts’ blog over the last few days you may have seen his March 3rd post “My 2008 Predictions“. In this post Matt claims…

2008 will be the year that hacking and search engine optimization (SEO) collide in a major way. By the end of the year, a nontrivial fraction of blackhat SEO will involve illegally hacking sites for links or landing pages. One webhost will get a significant black eye as hundreds or thousands of customers’ websites are hacked. The growth of illegal-blackhat SEO will leave traditional blackhats with a difficult choice: risk doing something illegal or sit out.

Ironically, on the very same day the Earth Liberation Front’s (ELF) website was hacked by Viagra spammers.

The hackers changed the title tag to “Viagra Sample Pack – Free Viagra Sample,” and changed all the navigation links to point to Viagra advertising. I gleaned all of this information from an article by TheDailyGreen about the incident.

The links seem to have been fixed on the ELF website, but the title tag has yet to be corrected.

Considering this all went down on the same day Matt wrote his prediction, I must assume that Matt either lifted his prediction from this event or he’s much more powerful than we ever imagined.

  • Or he could doubles as a black hat SEO! He’d most likely be great at it as he knows the loop holes.

    I read the predictions a couple days ago – pretty entertaining. I wonder if he knows something about a particular host that he’s not sharing.

  • Aaron

    I normally don’t pay much attention to typos, but I find humor in this one.

    I suspect that the acronym for the “Earth Liberation Front” is “ELF”, whereas “EFF” is the “Electronic Frontier Foundation”. 😉

    If ELF fixed its website once, either they left the task incomplete or it has since been hacked again. Or maybe they decided that hawking Viagra was too profitable to give up. There’s also a notice that the URL is up for sale through Sedo.

    I Googled “xanax lethal dose” the other day; one of the results, “Xanax Lethal Dose from Google Approved Pharmacy”. Tempting, but….

  • > I suspect that the acronym for
    > the “Earth Liberation Front” is
    > “ELF”, whereas “EFF” is the
    > “Electronic Frontier Foundation”

    Oops 🙂 Fixed. I guess I have EFF on the brain.

  • Black hat SEO will always be there. It may not involve hacking but people will always try to cheat the SE.

  • PS3

    I’m (thankfully) not up to speed when it comes to white/blue/grey/black or whatever other hats there are.

    Who is winning the battle? Do the whitehats get what they deserve or do cheats prosper?

  • These days white hat SEO 2.0 is much better business.

  • That is some sinister prediction! Its sad that SEOs have to be driven to such mean tasks. Probably getting links should be made much simpler 😉

  • If getting links were simpler, then everyone would have more of them, and it would be even harder for non-optimized high-quality sites to float to the top. It’s unfortunate that bosses and money drive people to try such crazy things, but I just don’t see any easy solution to the problem.

    Also, I can’t be the only one wishing he would have dressed up like a genie and delivered those predictions via webcast, can I?

  • I think google and seo are already colliding in a major way. Look at the whole PPC industry which is already dominating the SERPS using blacker then blackhat tactics..

  • I think this proves that we all need to listen to what Matt says. If we anger the almighty he’ll make a prediction about our sites. Be afraid, be very afraid.

  • @ Jayson – Of course Cutts knows many things he isn’t telling. I’m sure he shares information people will gobble up, but keeps his closest and most profitable secrets to himself.

  • This has already been going on for a while. We had our own site hacked in December. Going for the high PR value, the black hatters included links to various portals in the blog posts themselves.

    A WordPress upgrade seemed to fix the problem.

    These hackers made one major mistake. They hacked new posts in order to get immediate traffic.

    What worries me is that hackers may hack older post to get PR juice under the radar. These will be much harder to find.


  • I don’t know …
    The predictions are scary … most part will be for spamming and hacking sites.
    I have also wondered what might come in 2009, more expert hacking and spamming acts?
    Some people just won’t be happy to see how beautiful the Internet world is.

  • thanks for this site it helps me..

    renan’s last blog post..Cebu Seo Contest by capiz bloggers participants

  • I too have to say that ‘hats’ go over my head – pardon the pun 😉