How to Diagnose and Remove the WordPress Pharma Hack

A few weeks ago, I started receiving tweets and emails from people who claimed that search results for my site were looking more like a pharmacy than a helpful Web resource.

Of course, upon hearing such blasphemy, I immediately opened a new browser tab, looked around to make sure no one was watching, and then started Googling myself…and if you think that is some NC-17 material, wait til you see what my search results looked like:

Google search results showing the WordPress pharma hack

Figure 1. The three red arrows highlight <title> tags that were cloaked by the WordPress pharma hack. Helpful Web guy or reckless pill-slinger? You decide :D

What you don’t see in the picture above is a hacked <title> tag for my home page, but that’s only because I fixed it before realizing I was going to write an article about these shenanigans.

Suffice it to say that, before I caught the hack, my site looked more like the best damn antidepressant resource than the best damn blog on the planet.

Enough of that, though—let’s dig a little deeper into the WordPress pharma hack and see what it’s all about.

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Where is Web Publishing Heading in 2010?

I like to solve problems. At this point in my life, I’m focused on solving the fundamental problems of Web design and development through my business, DIYthemes, and my software, Thesis.

One of the most compelling things I’ve learned in the past year, however, is that it’s not good enough to crank out “sufficient” solutions to problems. Truly sustainable answers require a style of thinking that involves patience, perspective, skill, testing, and unbiased criticism. Additionally, it’s crucial to realize that the best solutions we can generate should be reflective of our own human nature—in other words, we must strive to make them as adaptable as we are.

Through my work on Thesis, I’ve begun to see all sorts of new connections that reveal the direction the Web is heading, and I know that I can use these insights to figure out better solutions to the problems I’m already tackling.

Recently, I sat down with Nick Reese from Art of Blog to talk about some of these insights and to share my thoughts heading into 2010. Check out the original interview.

Have You Seen What Thesis 1.6 Can Do?

Thesis is my software project, and if you haven’t seen it yet, I’d love to show you what it can do! The latest version has been met with tons of enthusiasm, and people have been saying some really awesome things about it. Check out this video I made, and I think you’ll understand why :D

Note: Video has been removed.

Head over to DIYthemes for more on Thesis!

Money or Efficiency? Know Where to Place Your Focus

Somehow, society has been perverted to the point that we think crap can be turned to gold, so long as it makes money. Worse, the venture capital and corporate acquisition culture has brainwashed us all into thinking that in the end, the payoff justifies the means.

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How to Become a Celebrity

After spending nine months in Hollywood, I’ve learned that pretty much all of the fame-seeking prima donnas out here need a clue. Fortunately, that’s where I come in. Enjoy, and Max—earmuffs!1

Note: Video has been removed.

Want more Pearsonified? Follow me on Twitter!

1 That’s an Old School reference, didn’t ya know?

Interested in Thesis? Get it Now in this Limited-offer Black Friday Sale

Thesis Black Friday Sale

Update: The Thesis Black Friday Sale has ended, and although it caused quite a frenzy, I have left this experience with a newfound distaste for sales. The last thing I want to do is mess with the psyche of potential customers, and sales have the ugly side effect of conditioning buyers into thinking that what you offer can always be had for less.

We’re having a Black Friday Sale over at DIYthemes, and from now until supplies run out, you can get Thesis at an unprecedented 20% discount. To cash in, simply enter the following coupon code when you purchase or upgrade:

edit: code removed because the sale has ended

When I say “until supplies run out,” I’m being completely serious. People who are great at promoting Thesis and explaining its benefits have already pimped this sale, and as I write this, there are literally only 94 out of 150 coupons remaining.

If you’ve been indecisive about getting Thesis and checking it out, right now is the absolute cheapest you’ll ever be able to get the theme.

Tip’d Launches Today with a Pearsonified Design

Tip’d financial news

Even though we’re closing in on the most pivotal presidential election in recent memory, the major news stories aren’t happening in Washington—they’re happening on Wall Street. With the Dow starting to look more like a roller coaster than a stairway to heaven, people’s fortunes are hanging in the balance of our economic system, which has been nothing if not grossly mismanaged by our government.

To be sure, the root cause of a majority of the US‘s economic problems is a general lack of understanding of fundamental economic principles, both in Washington and in the average American household. Obviously, this is a huge problem, and the only real long-term solution requires an increase in the baseline level of economic understanding.

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Do You Want a Free Premium Theme?

buy Thesis by August 31 and get Cosmo freeThesis, my first premium WordPress theme, received a major update yesterday with the addition of a new design options panel. This revolutionary upgrade gives users an unparalleled degree of control over their site’s layout by allowing them to specify fonts and font sizes all over the theme. In addition—and this is my favorite part—users can now choose a 1, 2, or 3-column layout with the amazing new layout constructor.

Oh, and if you’re really a control freak, you can adjust the widths of the content and sidebars on the various layouts, too.

Seriously, folks… Stop looking for that one theme that is just right for your site, because it simply doesn’t exist! Instead, check out Thesis—it’s whatever you need it to be, and best of all, you get to call the shots.

And about that free premium theme? If you get Thesis before midnight August 31, 2008 (PST), you’ll receive Cosmo, a magazine-style premium theme, at no extra charge as soon as I’m done creating it. Don’t drag your heels, though, because I know you’re going to want Cosmo once you see it. Besides, I really don’t want to have to tell you “no” when you ask me if you can still get it for free even though you waited until September 1 to buy Thesis!

2 Sure-fire Ways to Make Money Online

epic FAIL cat

One of the most irritating topics that people seem to want to talk about ad nauseum is how to make money online. Frankly, I’m sick and tired of reading horrible advice on this subject, and I’m even more sick and tired of responding to people’s questions about Google AdSense, which is quite literally the worst monetization service of all time for people who don’t have millions of pageviews per month. In other words, AdSense ain’t gonna work for you, cowboy.

To rectify this abominable confluence of bad info and terrible services, I’m going to clue you in on two sure-fire ways you can actually make real, spendable, negotiable cash from your Website. Not surprisingly, both methods of earning money involve actual products, and while not necessarily falling under the “easy” category, they both find their roots in the “no bullshit” category, which I happen to love.

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