An Important Update

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If you did not use a Blogger / Google account when you Followed this blog, years ago, you are probably not Following now . During the past...

Friday, May 17, 2013

Referer Spam Is Noticed More, By Newer Blog Owners

One of the details of referer spam, that intrigued me for a time, involved who was reporting the spam.

Most - but not all - referer spam is reported by newbie owners. People who just setup a blog, and are anxiously waiting for their first readers outside their own country, are suddenly astounded
Wow, thousands of people are reading my blog - from China and Russia! I am an international celebrity, in my first week!!

The euphoria quickly vanishes, when told in the forums
Nobody is actually viewing your blog from these sites - and nobody knows about these links but you, since only you can see your Stats logs.

The general response to the cold water, dashed in their faces, is generally acceptance

Thank you for the prompt and informative reply - I'm very relieved to learn that the site is not actually linking to my blog.

The latter is the general response - but not the only response. Nobody should be surprised at that, as not everybody is the same. What is surprising, though, is who is not so accepting of my advice.

Of the people who do not seem to appreciate my advice - that the owner of the new blog is not an immediate international celebrity - not all of them are actual first time blog owners.

Too many long time blog owners do not understand referer spam.

Many blog owners, who scorn my advice, turn out to be long time blog owners.

You are an idiot! I have other blogs, which I've been publishing for years - and none of them get this crap! How dare you tell me that this traffic is not targeting my new blog, intentionally?

Why would people who have published other blogs not see the spam traffic, in their other blogs? Particularly in other blogs that are well known, by the world, in general? And why would experienced blog owners not know of - or even believe - my advice?

The principle of Occam's Razor tells us to look for a simple explanation, to the questions.

Instead of concluding that so many experienced blog owners are morons - or do not check their Stats logs like everybody else - or wondering if referer spammers carefully tune their spammy activities to only attack new blogs - look for the simple explanation. Every blog is subject to referer spam, in the same volumes.

Referer spam is more visible, in Stats logs with less organic traffic.

Not every blog owner sees referer spam, in their Stats logs, simply because the volume of referer spam is not so heavy, compared to genuine traffic. If I check the Stats logs for this blog, I can generally find the currently mentioned spam domains, reflected in my pageview counts. If I look closely.

To reliably find the referer spam attacking my blog, I have to check my Stats logs frequently. In my case, when I note the domains in question, they will be listed in the "Now" time range - and occasionally in "Today" - when "Now" reflects early morning UTC (just after the daily counts reset).

Some referer spam peaks, during the day - causing visibility fluctuations.

If the referer spammers attack this blog during any other time of the day, the volume of legitimate traffic generally exceeds the referer spam traffic, any time outside "Now". Thanks to the limited function of the Stats logs, referer spam is simply not always visible, because legitimate traffic is more visible.

Google anti-referer spam action also causes visibility fluctuations.

Thanks to regular changes by the spammers, and to ongoing spam blocking by Google, the same domains are not active for more than a week or so. The "Week" and "Month" normal volumes, for this blog, simply exceed the referer spam volumes.

And that's the case for everybody's blog. Check the logs for your blog, if you don't believe me. Just check frequently, and regularly, during a week, for the most accurate conclusion.

And that brings me to my last bit of advice, about the spam.

Concentrate on publishing your blog, and getting legitimate traffic - and the referer spam will not be an important issue.

That's not condescension, or snark - it's simple truth.

Dude, hit me with a comment!

Andrew Hogan said...

Indeed I will, and even though this blog post is three years old I hope you still check on it from time to time.

Your blog is like a breath of fresh air in an endless sea of idiotic misdirections.

I am a new blogger, I blog for fun, not to make money, though I may in the future turn my efforts to more profitable enterprises in this area.

I came across your blog when I did some research after finding a strange referring site in my stats. I am relieved to find that this is referring spam, and if I read it right, can't do any harm to my blog.

I would therefore like to thank you for providing clear and succinct answers to my concerns about this kind of spam.

The Scientist said...

thanks for your precise explanation

Verlin Anderson said...

I second the appreciation of Andrew Hogan. Your blog is so helpful that the 'Help' menu of eBlogger sent me here. Thanks for the ongoing service you are providing to newbies and relatively ignorant old timers.