Why would someone send me fake traffic?
The topic of fake traffic was brought up in the forum recently, and — aside from providing a tutorial on blocking it — I started wondering about the root cause. In other words, why would someone want to generate fake traffic to my site? Doing a little digging, I found a rather surprising answer.
Have you ever seen a referral in your analytics such as: forum.topic59460348.darodar.com?
If you go to the site (don’t do that, by the way), you’ll see a rather innocuous page — if there’s a page at all. And you certainly won’t see a link to your own site.
So what’s the game?
• The black-hat advertiser builds a spider to traverse the Web, leaving a trail of referrals in its wake.
• You see the referral and get excited — after all… someone is talking about you and sending traffic!
• You visit the site (and find nothing).
• Before you can shrug and click away, a affiliate-advertiser cookie is placed on your computer.
• This cookie is pretty harmless, but it “tags” you. And if you happen to coincidentally make a purchase from the online store (say, Amazon) whose affiliate-ad cookie was placed on your hard drive by the black-hat advertiser, he or she earns a commission.
How do I stop this?
Well, first things first: Don’t click on links until you have some idea of what you’re clicking on.
This should be the First Commandment of using the Web, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t give it so much as a second thought. For example, every single person who participates in one of those god-awful Facebook status-update games risks sharing seemingly harmless information (a pet’s name) that also tends to be prime password fodder.
But enough about my mother.
It’s as easy as clicking a checkbox:
• Open Google Analytics and go to the Admin level.
• Click on View Settings (it’s on the far right-hand side)
• Click on the Bot Filtering checkbox
Do you think others would find this information useful? Spread the word!
“Why would someone send me fake traffic?” The surprising answer — and how you can protect yourself via @Webcomicscom: http://wp.me/p4lKly-38R