A new player in Referral Bots – social-buttons.com

A new player in Referral Bots – social-buttons.com

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 –

Referral traffic: social-buttons.com and other sites

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.

Referral traffic from social-buttons.com
Referral traffic from social-buttons.com

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?