Why Are They Doing This to Me/Why Is This Happening?
First and foremost, it’s not personal. Spam referrer bots visit hundreds of thousands of web sites every single day. Yours is just one among many.
Second, there are several reasons why spam referrers send traffic:
- Artificially boosting your traffic, which just annoys you and may make you make poor decisions based on artificial data.
- Boosting their traffic and sales by making you look at their site (because you think, “Who sent me all this traffic?!” and go to the site), where you find that they’re selling a product or service.
- Phishing for email addresses, which they can use to advertise to you via spam email or if they can hack into your email account, they can use your email to send spam to others.
- Delivery of malware, by exploiting holes in the security of your site.
- Scraping the data on your web site, for use on another site (this, incidentally, is why, if you’re a mommy or daddy blogger, you should always obscure the faces of your children – these bots will grab your kids’ images and use them on sites you don’t even want to think about).
The important thing to remember is that this isn’t personal, and that while it stinks, it can be fixed.
How Do I Get Rid of It?
You probably can’t stop spam referrers from trying to crawl your site. Large companies are constantly waging this battle and you have to, too. It’s just one more hat you have to wear, as a business owner and entrepreneur.
If you’re technically-inclined, then you can edit your .htaccess file to block some of the bots. Note that .htaccess is an extremely powerful file in your site. Do anything wrong and you can take down your site. So be very, very careful with that file. If you have WordPress, you can use the WP-Ban plug-in. However, certain kinds of bots that can’t be blocked via .htaccess, so you also have to do some work adding filters in your analytics accounts.
Of course, if you’re not so technical or, like many entrepreneurs, you simply can’t add another thing to your list, Business in Blue Jeans is now offering referrer spam cleanup and maintenance packages to take care of this problem for you on an ongoing basis.
Important to Know:
Referrer spam is not something you need to address one time and then forget about it. Unfortunately, referral spam is something that, much like the insidious weeds in my flower garden, just keep coming back. So when you get rid of one, another one pops up in its place. As a result, this is something you’ll need to maintain on an ongoing basis, both to protect yourself from unnecessary expenditure and bad decision-making, but also to protect the integrity of your web site.
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