The Name Inspector is reaching out to regular readers with a warning and a plea. It will be mostly regular readers reading this, because The Name Inspector has been dropped from Google search results. Until recently this site was among the top ten or so results for searches on “company names” and “naming”, and now it’s missing from those results entirely.

It turns out The Name Inspector has been the victim of a spam-injection attack on his WordPress blog. Hidden links were appearing in the footer, and they were picked up by Google’s crawler and got in the index. Now the blog is being penalized.

If you run WordPress and have noticed a big drop in Google traffic, you should know about this. Check your wp-includes directory for the following file: class-mail.php. That’s not a legitimate WordPress file–if you have it, you’ve been attacked. Details about this WordPress vulnerability can be found in the support forum, but the first thing you need to do is upgrade to the most recent version.

Now on to the plea. Though The Name Inspector has appealed to Google for “reinclusion” and will presumably have the penalty lifted (as long as the problem is gone), this whole distasteful experience will probably have negative longer-term effects on his search engine visibility. Many of you have linked to this site already, and The Name Inspector thanks you. Those who enjoy the blog but haven’t linked to it on your own blogs, please consider doing it now. Maybe point to this cautionary post. Or one that’s actually interesting. Help replenish The Name Inspector’s Google juice.

And now, this site will be down temporarily while The Name Inspector upgrades.


4 Responses to “Help! Scoundrels hacked The Name Inspector!”

  1. on 04 Mar 2008 at 8:34 am John DeRosa

    My sympathies! Done!

  2. on 04 Mar 2008 at 10:07 pm The Name Inspector

    John, thanks for your support.

  3. on 28 Jun 2008 at 9:19 pm Rob

    My sympathies here too.

    I was similarly hacked at my relatively new blog, about art book publishing, which is related to my regular job. In my case what happened was I couldn’t get into the admin interface at all and even after days of surfing the WordPress forums and documentation could find no solution but to move the blog, install again with a new DB… there weren’t too many posts to copy so it wasn’t the end of the world but track backs and any bookmarks people may have made were then useless… I hate to say it but it’s this kind of thing that drives people to the proprietary software like Typepad.

  4. on 28 Jul 2008 at 4:27 am Kathie

    Not to be confused with class-mailer.php which I think is a needed file? I guess they named it similar to something that would usually be there. Thanks for the warning.

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