An Important Update

Dear Followers Of This Blog ...

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...

Thursday, April 23, 2015

All Dodgy Links Do Not Stay In Our Stats Logs

Occasionally, we see a complaint about referer spam, from a known spam source, in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue - but the spam entry is not in a Stats log.

Some people are recently reporting referer spam source, in Google Analytics, StatCounter, and more.
When I check my Google Analytics, I See traffic on my blog from porn sites!
and
Why do I see Russian spam, in my StatCounter logs?
Why indeed? If referer spam is unique to Stats, because how Stats develops visitor activity counts, why would we see referer spam activity in Analytics, StatCounter, and other visitor logs?

It's normal to ask questions - but when you ask the wrong questions, in the wrong places, you help contribute to your own problems.

A couple years ago, I helped a lady out, when her concern was how her blog about gardening had become listed in search engines, along with Japanese porn.

Our initial discussion started in my semi public (by invitation) Google supplied forum, The N Zone. From there, to keep her personal details absolutely private, I setup a private forum, open to only her and to me, where we conducted her investigation.

Given enough time perusing the search engine entries, I found a Yahoo Scrapbook page, where her blog had been featured - and I found a few forum conversations, where she had asked people why her blog was mixed up with porn. Examining the content of the scrapbook page cache entries, I discovered an intriguing chain of events.

Please be aware that all of this is true, and is excerpted from my forum posts (names changed, where appropriate). I am neither Eric Ambler, or Tom Clancy - and do not write fiction. Nonetheless, this account of events is twisted enough, for either author.
  • Someone had started a scrapbook page, about rose gardens - and pasted a link to my friends blog, and some other gardening blogs and websites, onto the page.
  • A few people clicked from the scrapbook page, and landed on my friends blog.
  • Another person read an interview with a Japanese porn star, who mentioned how much she likes roses.
  • That person pasted a link to the interview onto the scrapbook page, about roses.
  • Somebody else added links to Japanese porn, to accompany the porn star interview, to the scrapbook page.
  • The owners of the other gardening blogs and websites removed the links, to their blogs and websites, from the scrapbook page.
  • That left a porn scrapbook page, containing a link to my friends roses blog.
  • My friend clicked from her Stats log, landed on the scrapbook page, and found porn - and the link to her blog.
  • All this time, the search engines were indexing the scrapbook page.
  • And my friend went into a few online forums, asking various people why her blog was linked to porn.
  • And that led to the search engines indexing my friends questions, about the connection between her blog and porn links.
  • And my friend found a few search engine references, linking her blog to porn, because of her forum questions.
  • And so on - lather, rinse, repeat. For the younger set - eat, sleep, rave, repeat.

I told her
Stop clicking on the links, and stay out of the forums!
Eventually she stopped, the search caches expired - and she stopped seeing StatCounter referer links from actual porn searches.

The bottom line, here? If you click on the links, in your Stats logs, you can get genuine traffic from people visiting the sites in the logs. Similar to an email broadcast storm, it takes on a life of its own.

And that can lead to actual StatCounter log entries, and - in some cases - visible entries in search engine result pages. And to mysterious StatCounter log entries, with numeric addresses.

Don't click on the dodgy links in the Stats logs!

Dude, hit me with a comment!