This is an exclusive story, researched and written by Eric Van Buskirk
Is it possible that MarkMonitor, Inc, who call themselves “a global leader in the fast-growing market for online corporate identity” has been secretly hiding links on behalf of TimeWarner? Is this being done on subdomains of timeinc.net in order to rank high in the search engines? You decide. MarkMonitor owns the domain name timeinc.net, a site with a homepage which re-directs to the main Time.com site. So it would seem they are running this site on behalf of TimeWarner.
If you go to the timeinc site and view some of the source code of the pages, you will find error pages that have links below an image map at the bottom of the page, links which are hidden from viewers and added to increase the search engine ranking of other Time Warner properties. This link-hiding practice is often referred to as “Black Hat” SEO.
An image map tells the browser how to display an image. That is it’s only purpose. However, some of the pages on timeinc.net have links hidden to viewers next to the image maps. If one views the source of sub domains such as img.timeinc.net or i.timeinc.net, it is apparent there are four links to other TimeWarner properties: