JavaScript Gateway Protection Pages

Nov 18, 2005 - 8:01 am 2 by

Wednesday night, during the "Exhibit Hall - Cocktail Reception" I spoted Matt Cutts a few yards away from the Google booth. On my way over to say hi, which I really didn't do the whole time being at the conference, some Scandinavian folks came over to ask him a question.

They explained that they run a Vodka site (not sure on the brand) and said they needed to pre-qualify that anyone who enters the site has to say they are 18 years of age or older. They asked, if they would be allowed to add a popup via JavaScript that sits above the page content, and only goes away, if they answer the pre-qualifying question. Matt said its a tough question, but in that case, he would feel comfortable with it.

Matt explained that the page was not "cloaked" because it was not showing different content to the search engine and the end user. And that it would be an acceptable use of this strategy, to enable the bots to spider the site and pre-qualify users before seeing the content.

Of course, I chimed in, I doubt the Scandinavians knew who I was anyway. I said, Matt - I am shocked that you would say that. To use a JavaScript popup, to hide content for some end users and show it to others. That is just mind-blowing that a person of your reputation would say that it would be acceptable. Matt started to explain why it would be acceptable, and then the Scandinavians also started to explain to me why it would be fine. I quickly said I was just giving Matt a hard time and I agree with them.

Matt explained to me later, after getting permission to post this entry, that he may not be ok with using a CSS layer above the content. He explained; the he "was only referring to JavaScript that would do a pop-up, not layers." He further explains, "But if both a search engine and the user get the same content, and the content includes JavaScript that a user must affirmatively answer yes/no, that wouldn't violate our guidelines."

My only question to Matt now is the following. Matt, what about those new young GoogleBots? Are they allowed to see content meant for the eyes of 18 year olds or older? I mean, how does the dog years work for GoogleBots? :)


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