15 May 2013

Blog stats and referrer spam

Wow! Looking at the stats, this new blog of mine really does seem to be getting a lot of hits.

But ... when something seems too good to be true it usually is. Most of the traffic is coming from Russia, and from just a couple of sites. Nothing wrong with Russia, and nothing wrong with Russian beekeepers, but I couldn't imagine how they might have found my blog so quickly, and why so many would want to read it when it's still so new.

Clicking on one of the links took me to a place where I could watch an animated video telling me how to lose weight. Do they think I need to? (Actually I don't, but that's beside the point.) It was a true Homer Simpson, "Duh!" moment. I had clicked a link I didn't recognise, something I haven't done for ages.

Running a scan afterwards found nothing nasty, fortunately. Then I did what I should have done in the first place, and ran a search for the url. It turns out to be a 'referrer spam' site. I'm a bit bemused by why it exists because I don't see what the site owner gets out of it, apart from knowing that a link was followed - which proved there is life here in the small apiary.
  • I'm the only human who can see the link.
  • I'm the only person who can click on it - and, once bitten twice shy,
  • I won't be doing it again.
More busloads of virtual visitors have appeared today, also from Russia. The url search proves the source is, yet again, another referrer spam site.

Referral spam can, apparently, be a problem for sites hosted somewhere that gives limited bandwidth. Nobody other than the site owners and servers know these referrer things are visiting, but their traffic can gobble bandwidth and cause the site to crash. One benefit, I hope, of being with Google.

There's some information about these referrer spammers within the Google groups' help pages:
referrer spam report
(click on link within the page, dated April 4, to open the first reply written by DarkUFO)
Links offered to further information, written by Nitecruzer:
Referer Spam Is Needlessly Alarming Blog Owners
Referer Spam Does Not Represent Real Traffic, To Our Blogs


And for when the spam comments start trying to appear, here's an little idea from xkcd.


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