and Hundreds of Placeholder Sites? [en]

[fr] Le site crée des centaines de "pseudo-sites" pour des restaurants listées dans leur index. Ces "sites" contiennent deux pages, une page d'accueil et une page avec l'adresse du resto, ainsi qu'un lien (sans "nofollow") vers Blackhat SEO ou bien juste pratique limite? D'après moi, on est quand même dans le linkspam, car en agissant ainsi crée un nombre artificiel de liens entrants vers leur domaine principal. Ces pseudo-sites font aussi parfois même concurrence au "vrai site" du restaurant en question!

Has anybody noticed what are doing? They’re creating hundreds of pretty-much-empty placeholder sites for restaurants in their listing (I’m assuming those businesses paid to be listed).

Here’s one example: The site has two pages: the landing page and the address page. It seems to also allow online ordering and a link to the menu, but those links take you directly to the directory.


There are over 200 of these “sites”:,,…

Why is this a problem?

First of all, some of these businesses have “real” sites, like my first example, Allegrotto Pizza (this is their “real” site). If is charging them for a listing and creating a placeholder site without them realizing, that’s not very cool. If is charging them for a website, then it’s not very cool either, as that “website” is little more than a placeholder page for a link to The “ placeholder site” ends up competing in search ranking with the restaurant’s legit site.

Then, I initially wondered if the whole purpose of these sites was to boost’s PageRank. Incoming links from other domains count for quite a bit in PageRank calculation, so with hundreds of little sites all pointing to, you can imagine there would be an SEO impact. If I read Google’s webspam info page correctly, this would fall under forbidden practices (ie, “Blackhat SEO”). Somewhere between “parked domains” and “paid links”. Checking the code, however, I noticed that all the links back to are rel="nofollow", except the link to the menu. Honest oversight, or a way to sneak through the rules with only one link that “counts” for PageRank, to avoid triggering webspam alerts? Hard to say.

In any case, these placeholder sites drive PageRank, traffic, and online orders to, who probably make a cut from any online order through their site. So you can see that even with only one “countable” link to, this is a way to boost their business in a debatable way.

So: is what they are doing wrong, or just borderline?

If any SEO experts want to weigh in, please do!

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