4 years ago

Hotel giants fall victim to spam attack on Google

Google has confirmed it is working to fix an attack on big brand hotels including Marriott and Hilton, which sees links to their websites redirected to a third party.

The search giant declined to make an official comment except to say it was aware of the issue.

Tnooz was contacted anonymously late-last week with information showing some hotel URLs had been compromised.

Google would not comment on how long it had known about the issue or how it had happened.

The apparently hijacked links, which list “roomstobook” as the website address under the property details, appear in Google+ Local which also serves results to Google Maps and in search.

The “roomstobook” link in turn directs users to hotel reservation site, Hotelswhiz.

A search for Roomstobook.net (one of the URLs used) redirects to the Hotelswhiz site, although it is not known if the apparent spam attack has anything to do with the hotel booking site.

Screenshots forwarded to Tnooz, show listings for big brands such as Hilton and Holiday Inn with the roomstobook (.net or .info) URL next to them.

google hijack

The following screenshot, showing the roomstobook.info URL against Holiday Inn properties, was taken a few days ago:

google hack

A second screenshot taken today (15 January) shows that although the “roomstobook” address is still visible, there is also a “book at HolidayInn.com message”.

google hack 2

NB: See this report from Search Engine Land for more detailed analysis.

NB2: Tnooz has attempted to contact Hotelswhiz for comment on the story.

NB3: Anti-hijack image via Shutterstock.

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About the Writer :: Linda Fox

Linda Fox is deputy editor for Tnooz. For the past eight years she has worked as a freelance journalist across a range of B2B titles including Travolution, ABTA Magazine, Travelmole and the Business Travel Magazine.

In this time she has also undertaken corporate projects for a number of high profile travel technology, travel management and research companies.

Prior to her freelance career she covered hotels and technology news for Travel Trade Gazette for seven years. Linda joined TTG from Caterer & Hotelkeeper where she worked on the features desk for more than five years.



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  1. Raj Chudasama

    There’s not really much of a verification process to claim listings. Also there’s not much documentation on how to fix issues with Google’s Hotel Finder. More security, verification, and documentation is definitely needed.

  2. bob

    First ask google to remove it and then redo it back to where it should be, insted of ask them to fix that. Think smart

  3. Abby

    I’ve noticed that Google is losing control of listings more frequently over the past year. We’ve been battling an incorrect address on one of our hotel’s Google+ listings for months now – A completely made-up address that Google can’t seem to fix within their system. “Our technical team is working on it, we don’t have an estimated completion date……” is the most helpful thing we’ve heard.

  4. Jennifer Rota

    We discovered the same thing happened to our hotel, (and other independents in NYC) on Yelp.


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