Some months back, I noticed a trend in the Google Analytics data of all the sites I monitor. It was Referral Bots leaving behind a spammy domain with the hopes of the webmaster will visit that domain out of curiosity. I wrote about this Black Hat tactic of Referral Bots as well.
At least that’s what I thought was the purpose of leaving behind that signature. Security could be another, I do not know at this point of time. You could loosely term this gimmick as a growth hack. I am not so sure of this, just that it seems to be getting results (since I am seeing more and more domains adopt such mechanisms).
Who is it this time?
This time, I am seeing several spikes in traffic through one site – social-buttons.com (I am not going to link to this domain).
I was looking at 13llama.com referral data (always good to hunt for potential partners or folks who link to you). This is what I saw –
Notice the gradual small sliver of Referral traffic to our site? And do you see those major spikes in traffic in the past 2 weeks?
Those spikes unsettle me. It’s not as if the site got Redditted or TechCrunched :) … it’s a bot which is hitting this site, again and again.
So, I isolated the referral traffic through social-buttons.com and tried to see if the pattern matches my referral traffic pattern.
It’s an exact match to the spike patterns. The worst part is that this particular bot is taking up 38% of my site’s traffic.
There is no discernible pattern, perhaps an alternate day or perhaps a spike every Monday is what I can make out for now.
Why does traffic bother me?
Should I not just be happy that my visitless site now has some traffic instead :-)
For one, it’s a totally unrelated traffic source. For another, a look at the bounce rate (100%) confirms it’s a bot. The other source of traffic which gives me perfect bounce is semalt (again, a confirmed bot).
More importantly, I am seeing more web services adopt this stupid tactic for customer acquisition.
Here’s an open question to these firms – Do you really think by doing these creepy tactics you are going to acquire customers?