stats last night to find that yet another unwanted "fake blog traffic source" has supposedly visited my site 127 times this week. This really fries my bacon! I would like to know where my visitors really come from. I'm not interested in seeing that my site has been visited by villainstat, vampirestat, or adsensewatchdog. They are all fake traffic sources, and I don't want to see them show up in my referring URL stats.
So forgive me, today I'm going to step aside from my regular craft project postings and address this topic, as I think its safe to say that a lot of my blog readership are craft, photo, or Mommy bloggers too. As bloggers, there is a good chance that you too have been affected by this unwanted "fake traffic." If you already know about this, perhaps you have more info and would like to share--so please do. If this is news to you, I'll fill you in on what I know, in hopes that together we might make a difference and get this stuff stopped (or at least slowed down.)
Here's what I found out:
What is fake traffic?
Fake traffic can be defined as traffic from unwanted sources, that comes from unscrupulous sites who automate traffic to your blog with spambots. No one is actually viewing your blog from these sites and your blog link isn't actually posted there. Fortunately, from the information that I've gathered around web, these fake traffic sources should not effect your blog reputation or ranking. They do effect what you see in your stats--though some stat trackers are smart to some of these sites and just eliminate those from your view. I don't like them showing up in any of my numbers...grrrrrr. Luckily, they usually are only visible when I am looking at daily or weekly stats, and don't show up in overall stats, because real traffic comes at a much higher percentage than the unwanted fake kind.
Why is it there and what is it doing?
It's there for one purpose, and one purpose only. When you look at your stats you will wonder, "Hmmm, I wonder who this new site is that is referring me so much traffic?" Then if you click on that link, they got what they wanted. Their sole purpose is to get you to click on the link to drive traffic to their site. That's it. They are not the kinds of sites you want to click on either. So don't do it! Many of these sites are bad sites that could potentially put viruses or unwanted code on your computer--especially if your computer isn't properly protected. Many of these fake blog stats lead you to porn sites or they want to sell you some sort of "snake oil" or other scam.
How do they find me?
These sites find blogs from twitter feeds, Facebook blog link postings and many other online sources like clicking through "next" when browsing blogs.
How do I make it stop?
The unfortunate thing, from all that I have read, there is no fast way to make it suddenly stop. Sniff, sniff. I know...bad news, huh. What you can do, is if there is ever any name in your referring URL stats that you don't recognize, do not click on it to find out who they are. Just don't do it. That's what they want, and they will send more fake traffic to you or worse. If you absolutely have to know who the mysterious URL is, you can Google the name of the URL (without the .com or other extension that might bring you to the site...you don't want that), and find out what others are saying about it. You should be able to know quickly by looking at the search results, without necessarily having to click on any of the articles in the search list. Also, if you are certain it is a bogus referring URL, you could report the offending referring URL to Google. Also, don't publish your stats with the bogus referring URLs. That will also provide the same result that these sites are looking for...they want more traffic to their site, and by you publishing the list other's might click on it. So to make it stop...just ignore unknown referring URL's.
In our blogging community of craft, hobby, Mommy and other bloggers, the more who ignore will make it less desirable for these spammers to use these kinds of tactics, potentially making them disappear.
Have you experienced this too? Tell us if you know of something else that can be done by leaving a comment!
P.S. Thanks for hanging with me on this topic. Tomorrow we'll be back to our regular craft related themes...just had to get this out there cause it's been driving me nuts! --Samantha