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Old 09-16-2004, 10:16 PM   #196
gemini
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I think there was another toolbar update since the new checksum, which explains the difference in PR in my previous message. I just installed new toolbar and it is 2.0.114.1 version...

Honestly, I don't believe automatic PR requests can slow down google's servers.. They can make it accessable through API and do similar limitations that they do right now. I don't really see a point of keeping this thing in secret - why than to show it on the toolbar? Just a thought out loud.
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Old 09-17-2004, 10:30 AM   #197
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i expect google monitor this thread, im sure mobile read could check their logs

it does seem a bit silly to do the whole checksum thing, but i imagine they want to give people a reason to use their toolbar. which could be disseminated if peoples source of PR information wasnt restricted.
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Old 09-17-2004, 04:37 PM   #198
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My script version 0.2 is going to be released soon with an option to choose what checksum version use and some XML parser improvements.

-> http://www.zenitram.info/google-info <-
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Old 09-22-2004, 04:14 PM   #199
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Does anyone remember PRMaster?

This was the first checksum crack of PageRank. The cracker made available a Windows download that directly fetched PageRank. He remained anonymous (the download happened through a third-party download site). This was in December 2001.

His code for Windows apparently copied the Google handshaking a bit too closely, because his unique Google cookie ID was embedded in the program! Either that, or it was a setup from the word go. It really seems stupid to leave the cookie ID in the handshake, since it wasn't necessary to get PageRank. How could someone clever enough to crack the checksum be that stupid? I never managed to answer this question.

I alerted people that they should use a hex editor and zero out the cookie ID, or else Google could trace them.

GoogleGuy came back and said, half jokingly, that I had ruined all the fun they were having. GoogleGuy admitted that they tracked down the author of the code and had a friendly chat with him, at which point the author of the code withdrew the program.

I continued to use the program until about May of 2002. At that point I embarrassed myself by discovering this amazing new PageRank update. Sites were shifting dramatically! Finally a friendly person suggested I download the toolbar and check it against PRMaster. Sure enough, it turned out that PRMaster was suddenly, after five months of returning accurate results, showing bogus results that were off by one or two numbers.

If Google is issuing new toolbar updates with easy-to-crack variations on the checksum, I'd be very careful. Google holds all the cards on this, and they're in a position to have more fun with it than you are. They could change the numbers based on the version that gets reported, or the format of the handshaking, and add one or subtract one. They could add one to the PageRank on even hours and subtract one on odd hours. They could make you all look silly quite effortlessly.

If you think I'm making this up, search for doofus prmaster (my username was Doofus when this happened).
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Old 09-23-2004, 05:45 AM   #200
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From what I understand the user would have to upgrade his toolbar each and every time. So I don't think Google could just change their algorithm as often as might they wish.
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Old 09-23-2004, 07:08 AM   #201
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From what I understand the user would have to upgrade his toolbar each and every time. So I don't think Google could just change their algorithm as often as might they wish.
The toolbar will auto update.
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Old 09-23-2004, 07:30 AM   #202
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I think there are a lot of people against any form of auto-updates. So I don't think Google would be making friends if it was enforcing auto-updates for something as trivial as pagerank queries.
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Old 09-23-2004, 08:30 AM   #203
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A danger that's greater than the danger of frequent toolbar checksum updates that keep you all busy with new code, is the danger that anything grabbing PageRank except from the official toolbar is likely to leave fingerprints at the Googleplex. With Google's habit of saving everything, this could contribute to a database of suspected spammers.

For example, the GPRM, v.1.1, a desktop Windows PageRank grabber, sends a user-agent of "IE5.vbx" to Google when it fetches PageRank from my box. This is a fingerprint that probably comes from some DLL on my Windows box, and the coder might not even have access to this, assuming that the DLL has to be used for contacting www.google.com.

It's also easy to compile a console program and run it under DOS32, and have it use curl or wget. You can set your own user-agent that way. But then the temptation is to use a batch file. Any IP address coming into Google that grabs PageRank faster than someone can key the domains into the toolbar is automatically suspicious.

There are a number of sites that grab PageRank for you. Certainly Google knows the IP addresses or handshaking characteristics of these sites by now.

Once you identify a PageRank grab as a grab that originated from outside the toolbar, then you save the domains requested in a separate database. Sort the domains by how many times per week they were requested, and you have a pretty nice list of who the SEO spammers might be. Assign some temp help to check them out manually, one by one, and see if any dubious techniques might be used. Ban them.
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Old 09-23-2004, 08:36 AM   #204
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Well Google cannot do that either, because it wouldn't be my fault if someone put the url of my page in one of those pagerank grabbers. Google would penalize the wrong person.
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Old 09-23-2004, 02:48 PM   #205
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Can Google detect me?

Sorry for my lack of technical understanding on this topic, but:

If I use an automated PageRank checker that uses the old checksum, can Google see that these are non-toolbar queries? (assuming that there's nothing else unusual, like the frequency of requests)

I'm just not clear on whether Google changed the format of the toolbar request (in which case I presume they could detect me, if all toolbars have auto-updated to the new format, but my checker has not), or have changed the format of the results sent back.

Thanks!
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Old 09-24-2004, 03:18 AM   #206
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If the checker is implemented correctly, and if the IP address where the checker is located is not "black-listed" by Google, there is no way for Google to figure out that these are non-toolbar queries.
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Old 09-24-2004, 10:49 AM   #207
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If the checker is implemented correctly, and if the IP address where the checker is located is not "black-listed" by Google, there is no way for Google to figure out that these are non-toolbar queries.
Doc,

Even if the PR checker doesn't yet use the new checksum? That's what I'm not clear on....

Thanks!!
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Old 09-24-2004, 01:03 PM   #208
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I haven't checked in the last year or so, but when I had the toolbar on a sniffer back then, it was clear that the dialogue between the toolbar and Google was much more extensive than the dialogue offered by all the checker code I've seen on these forums.

For one thing, the checkers don't offer or accept a Google cookie. It's true that someone could have Google cookies blocked on Explorer and the toolbar would most likely behave the same way, but it's also true that blocked cookies are relatively rare. That's a clue right there, if Google is looking for clues.

I think it is fair to say that the PageRank hackers have not made an effort to design their checkers to fly under Google's radar. All they're doing is having fun with reverse engineering and hacking.

Another question is whether the PageRank value is even particularly meaningful these days. It was up until April 2003, but in the last 17 months Google's algorithms have depended less on PageRank, and more on anchor text in the links.
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Old 09-25-2004, 05:09 AM   #209
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered
Doc,

Even if the PR checker doesn't yet use the new checksum? That's what I'm not clear on....

Thanks!!
Yep, since there are still lots of people who have not upgraded to the latest toolbar. How should google differentiate between those running an older toolbar and those running an older PR checker with the older checksum?
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Old 09-25-2004, 05:10 AM   #210
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Totally agree with you in everything you said.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kackle
I haven't checked in the last year or so, but when I had the toolbar on a sniffer back then, it was clear that the dialogue between the toolbar and Google was much more extensive than the dialogue offered by all the checker code I've seen on these forums.


For one thing, the checkers don't offer or accept a Google cookie. It's true that someone could have Google cookies blocked on Explorer and the toolbar would most likely behave the same way, but it's also true that blocked cookies are relatively rare. That's a clue right there, if Google is looking for clues.

I think it is fair to say that the PageRank hackers have not made an effort to design their checkers to fly under Google's radar. All they're doing is having fun with reverse engineering and hacking.

Another question is whether the PageRank value is even particularly meaningful these days. It was up until April 2003, but in the last 17 months Google's algorithms have depended less on PageRank, and more on anchor text in the links.
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