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  1. #1
    OPC
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    Default Word of Warning for using Wordpress "free templates"

    I just wanted to pass along a word of warning to anyone using any of the free WordPress templates floating around the net. As a disclaimer, I'm not saying ALL free templates are bad, nor am I saying don't use a free template. The overall theme of this post is "be careful."

    About a month or two ago, I did a web search looking for a free wordpress template that had a casino/gambling/poker theme to utilize on one of my sites. I found one that was to my liking, and uploaded it. I was in a hurry, so I didn't go through the template with a fine tooth comb, like I'd normally be inclined to do.

    Earlier this week, I was reviewing my logs, and discovered I was getting search traffic for some off the wall search terms. Let's just say that these search terms were not within the scope of what I write about on my site.

    I start looking at the pages and posts within my site and see no evidence of writing anything remotely resembling these terms. Additionally, I checked for links that might trigger any sort of ranking for the terms in question. Again, I come up empty handed. Checked all my plug-ins, as I do use some off the wall wordpress plug-ins for "experimentation" purposes from time to time. Again, zero.

    I finally decide to go through the template files. Bingo! While I didn't manage to go through each and every file, I found that when I decoded the footer, which the template had an encoded footer to prevent people from modifying the links giving credit to the author/sponsors, there was an additional present included! This present came in the form of an iframe, which blended in nicely to the background so that it could not be seen. The iframe served up some of the links and text in question. I'm sure I'd have continued to be surprised had I continued looking through file by file. Instead, I just removed the template completely from WordPress.

    My point in this post - be careful when choosing a free WordPress theme. Make sure you know what you're uploading before doing so. I'd suggest a file by file review of the template PRIOR to uploading it to prevent such a thing.

    I'm not sure if it was the theme host's fault or if it was the fault of the individual who developed the theme. I'm giving neither of them reference in this post. The bottom line is that I and I alone am accountable for what I choose to upload to my site. And I should have been more careful.

  2. #2
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    I found the exact same problem the other day, i then spent a few hours searching and finding a decent free one to throw up on one of my sites, even it had to be edited lol.

    Obviously its best to pay for a good one, but for domains that aren't in use i like to throw up a wordpress theme and some content until im ready to fully develop it

  3. #3
    OPC
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    Quote Originally Posted by xYassassinYx View Post
    I found the exact same problem the other day, i then spent a few hours searching and finding a decent free one to throw up on one of my sites, even it had to be edited lol.

    Obviously its best to pay for a good one, but for domains that aren't in use i like to throw up a wordpress theme and some content until im ready to fully develop it
    A free, clean, generic template is better than a dirty focused one...

    I should further note, that I've not found the same problem on any templates obtained via the wordpress repository (clicking themes, get themes). The only ones I've found issues such as this are from doing a google search on some of the bigger theme sites.

  4. #4
    MJ
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    Highly reccomend folks just buy Tom's theme for this type of stuff, I'm using it until a site warrants a custom design on many many domains.

    One time expense and a LOT of versatility.
    Domains I am selling at bargain prices: http://www.pokeraffiliatelistings.co...tml#post178840

  5. #5
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    Highly reccomend folks just buy Tom's theme for this type of stuff, I'm using it until a site warrants a custom design on many many domains.

    One time expense and a LOT of versatility.
    Halleluja, AMEN to that ;-)
    I am leaving the affiliate business, read here please.

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    Thanks for the warning. Sometimes I just don't think about that stuff, but nice to hear a warning so I know for the future.

    Mark

  7. #7
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    I need to ask for clarification of something. Are you saying that the off-topic terms the search referrals were coming for were embedded in the iframe and not in the template itself?
    Free advice and opinions are provided without any warranties or guarantees. I cannot do anything about the facts.

  8. #8
    OPC
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Martinez View Post
    I need to ask for clarification of something. Are you saying that the off-topic terms the search referrals were coming for were embedded in the iframe and not in the template itself?
    I'm saying that when I decoded the footer, there was an iframe embedded in the footer. When I followed the iframe to the location, there were spammy links. I also did not continue going through file by file of the template, however I strongly suspect I'd have found other things similar in nature, as my blog was apparently linking to some suspect, and questionable sites.

  9. #9
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    This is what caught my attention:
    Earlier this week, I was reviewing my logs, and discovered I was getting search traffic for some off the wall search terms. Let's just say that these search terms were not within the scope of what I write about on my site.
    If those terms are embedded in the template, that would explain why your site was getting search referrals for them.

    However, if those terms are only embedded in the iframe, you may have stumbled across a new algorithmic behavior.

    I would be interested to know which search engine was sending you this traffic and whether the terms are only found in the iframe.

    It is generally assumed in the SEO industry that content included in an iframe will not be indexed with or considered a part of the framing site.

    That is, you embed "this is a special phrase" in a hidden HTML document somewhere. I embed your document in an iframe on my site. My site is not supposed to be indexed for "this is a special phrase".

    But no two search engines are alike, and all the search engines update their algorithms from time to time.

    So I have a professional interest in learning more about what your seeing. Any insight and clarification you can offer will be greatly appreciated.
    Free advice and opinions are provided without any warranties or guarantees. I cannot do anything about the facts.

  10. #10
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    Yep free templates can be dangerous in terms of having spam links to including backdoors. Don't bother unless you know what you are doing.


 

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