Friday, September 16, 2016

Blogger Stats Problem: Spam

I started writing this as a response to a great blogging friend's recent post. He was getting inundated with referral spam from a bot supposedly from France, messing up Blogger Stats by overinflating supposed visitor numbers. I have been experiencing the same problem over the past few months, & this is my report on my experience & the possible solution to the problem:

I totally understand where you're coming from. I'm plagued by the same damn bot!!! It is frustrating seeing how it messes up Blogger stats. I tried going private a few times (changing my blog settings to private)--just for a few hours to a few days. It worked for a day or three before that damn bot started linking to me again!

I was getting pretty pissed off, because like you, I abhor messy chaos, especially if it's caused by something else in my space! I know I don't blog for popularity but I do like to look at stats, just to see what fascinating countries or sites visited me, & I get a kick out of the search terms that brought people to my posts.

But that damned bot messed up Blogger stats, overinflating the supposed visitor numbers. In frustration, I got on Blogger Help to see what could be or is being done to combat this damned bot!

There, I learned two very important things:

1. The bot isn't really visiting my site nor hot linking to my posts. It doesn't really affect my page ranking at all nor harm my blog in any way. I'll explain more below.

2. There is a way to combat this bot & stop it from messing up my Blogger stats. But it requires a few steps & it may possibly affect my own interaction with my blog & its spirit. I'll explain more blow.

First off, the bot DOESN'T actually visit your blog and it has NO EFFECT on page ranking. But it is a scam! So DON'T CLICK ON THE LINK!!!

What the bot does is it crawls the web the same way web search engines like Google or Explorer, looking for specific or general or in this case, all sorts of words that prove popular search terms or draws any kind of attention. It's not looking to visit your site or blog. Rather, it's looking for the location of those words in your blog, your post's or blog's URL (location). It finds that location, then it creates referral spam--a fake visit with the bot's own link back to its own malicious site.

Why? The whole point of creating referral spam is to increase the malicious website's traffic to increase its page ranking. It only works when you, the reader/blog owner clicks on the link from the bot, the link you find in the Blogger Home Section under Stats, listed under Traffic Sources, subheading Referring URLs.

DO NOT CLICK ON THE REFERRING URL FROM THE BOT SITE!!! Every time you click that link, the malicious website gets a visit from you, reaching its nefarious goal, which is to generate traffic to its malicious website to raise its ranking on Google, in order to reach more people & spread its malicious content!

But why shouldn't you worry about the messed up, inflated visits from the bot, messing up your stats? Because the bot isn't actually visiting your blog, it's just sending out a mass mailing (spam) to all the URLs the bot finds in order to trick people to click on its referral link.

So why does it show up in Blogger Stats if it's not actually visiting your blog? It's because that's the way Blogger Stats is designed! Blogger Stats basically counts everytime a website or search requests access to a site, like your blog.

When you set up your blog, you agreed to be listed & be open to search engines, especially if you set your blog to the public setting. That means all your content is listed & indexed by search engines in order for other people or sites to find your location & visit your site, your blog.

When someone requests access (the location) or your site, Blogger Stats generates a statistic of activity--that someone requested your site location/address/URL. It doesn't mean that they'll visit your site, it just means that someone did a SEARCH on the internet for something, & your blog had some relevant information related to the search.

It's kind of like how you do a search or Google a word, & the results pop up a huge list of possible relevant results. The most popular/relevant results show up first, & the really weird, nonsensical ones are found at the end. Everytime your blog ends up on that search result, a statistic is generated by Blogger Stats, & though your information may or may not be relevant, your blog is listed in the results. Your URL (address) is listed, & that's how the freakin bot generates referral spam!

It's not visiting your site/blog at all!!! It just made a search for general words & your blog got listed on the results from the search engine servers. Then the bots copy your URL to send mass fake links to your site! No one other than you is seeing these links!

The bots take advantage of Blogger Stats design & misuse it so when Blogger Stats logs an activity (a request for your location from a search engine), Blogger automatically creates a stat in Blogger Stats that records the activity (the request) & the URL of the site making the request (the bot's site!). 

The bot NEVER visited your site. It took advantage of Blogger Stats design to get free advertising! Blogger Stats list the bot's own link/url, so that when you see it in Stats, you get curious, you mistakenly click on the link, & that damned malicious website gets an actual visit from you, increasing its own page rankings! Every time you click on those fake referral spam links, the malicious websites get a real visit from you, increasing their page rankings & encouraging them to keep up their referral spam con! DON'T CLICK ON THE LINKS!!!

Now you know that the referral spam is NOT VISITING your site and IT DOESN'T AFFECT YOUR PAGE RANKING NOR REPUTATION. As long as you don't click on it, it's just mass mailing junk! Still, you can't help but get annoyed!

And by the way, the bots aren't actually from France. It's being routed through France from its actual location, most likely other countries with technology. For a while, they routed through Germany til the authorities shut them down. Now, they're going through France, & will reroute again once France & the authorities root them out.

Even though you know the bot doesn't affect your ranking & the stats are misrepresenting the actual visitors, you are still annoyed because you actually hate the messy stats & you're genuinely curious, how many actual people are really visiting your blog. Well, there are two basic solutions: Third party software & Google Analytics.

What is third party software? Products that don't belong to Google or Blogger but are compatible with use on your blogs. StatCounter or SiteMeter are two examples of third party software that actually uses JavaScript that counts actual visits to your blog & how much time was spent on those posts the visitor saw. It's a very useful tool to filter out actual visits from nonexistent, fake, referral spam bot scams.

The problem is, it takes the page a little more time to load, to run the proper codes, so there might be a short delay in loading the page. And for some readers, any delay, however short, is considered cumbersome & may leave your site. So you may lose visitors.

People want easy, even when it's bad for them. Ask anyone who's ended up with a Venereal Disease or worse, children!, after a night of heavy alcoholic drinking & poor procreation/recreational choices while under the influence.

Furthermore, there's a limit to how much activity/visitor log entries are available to the free versions of third party software. Some limit logs to 500 visits daily, & your blog may be popular enough to exceed the daily visitors, so you may have to decide on whether paying for premium service is worth it.

But you also have another solution: Sign up for Google Analytics. The free version actually blocks referral spam effectively like third party software, & it contains many useful tools that do a better job than Blogger Stats in keeping track of actual visitors, popular posts, trends, & other relevant information. If you are interested in growing your blog, I say, sign up for Google Analytics.

My personal problem is that I can be a total nerd sometimes & geek out on the actual stats. I fear I may end up worrying more about my actual stats & change my blogging from pure hobby & entertainment to actual work, changing the spirit & very nature of my blog. And I'm not ready to face that challenge.

So I'll ignore the bots for now. And when it finally drives me nuts, even when I know the bots aren't messing with my blog ranking & reputation, I know I have alternatives. And you have those alternatives, too.

Please feel free to share with us any relevant info! It's much appreciated & welcomed!

See this link for further information:!topic/blogger/xozQJV1No0Y


  1. I would be very pleased if the views on my individual blog posts got into three figures...

    But at least my blog shows up on a Google search for "howard hughes big cock", so that's OK then. Jx

    1. Jon, Welcome! I usually get a lot of new visitors during my Olympics posts--though they don't comment, they do an awful lot of linking to my posts, mostly for the pics. Not surprising, the most searches leading to my blog involve Olympic athletes--& the usual pervs looking for nude pics of Olympics athletes. The most surprising search leading to my blog is "Justin Beiber" & his genitals--probably because I've joked about him & Canadians in some of my posts.

  2. Excellent info!

    I can also highly recommend Stat Counter as a reliable way to track blog statistics. And in a bit of ironic turn-about-is-fair-play, it was recommended to me by none other than MJ!

    1. I used to have a stat counter thingy years and years ago (before Blogger had it's own in-built doodad) but got rid of it for the same reason that Eros quotes: "I fear I may end up worrying more about my actual stats & change my blogging from pure hobby & entertainment to actual work, changing the spirit & very nature of my blog."

      Recommended by MJ?


    2. LX & IDV (& MJ), Thanks for info on Stat Counter. It's quite helpful knowledge to know other people's experiences.

      I have noticed a few blogs use it over the years. I remember a few actually had them working with a world map that showed where each visitor was from. It was neat, but I did notice the webpage needed just a few more moments to load. And the more gadgets/apps a blog had, the longer it took to load up the page. Surprisingly, the most entertaining blogs for me tend to be the simplest, the ones with content, not gadgetry.

  3. Thank you, Eros! I forgot your blog is plagued by that pesky 'bot, too - Probably because you haven't made such a big song-and-dance over it like I have. I could never be bothered to look up all that stuff, as I'm sure you know by now. Why go to all the hassle of research when moaning and wailing ineffectually, and then making a drama out of a crisis (or minor annoyance) will do?

    I did, however, read that link - Interestingly, it also says that going private won't stop the false hits (presumably because the 'bot isn't actually visiting the blog), so I think I'm just going to put up with Frogbot. For now, anyway.

    Eros, you are a blog hero!

    1. P.S. "People want easy, even when it's bad for them. Ask anyone who's ended up with a Venereal Disease or worse, children!" - Bwah hah hah haa!

    2. IDV, I was trying to figure out if I could stop the bot on my own. I usually try to solve problems independently first, then ask for help. In this case, I needed the expert help because I was getting nowhere & was frustrated. Thank goodness for Blogger Help!

      But yeah, I was surprised to learn that going private doesn't stop the bot from messing with Blogger Stats, for the very reason you stated. It's not actually visiting the blog, it's just exploiting a weakness in Blogger Stats!

      And for now, the bot is much more tolerable & welcomed compared to a burning sensation when you pee or being bombarded by the piercing shrieks of tiny, demanding, useless, untrained human spawn!

  4. I used to have Sitemeter on my old Blogger blog, but it died.
    Meanwhile, I used to get paranoid over stats, but I don't anymore.... Wordpress stats are nifty and don't leave me with any crazy illusions about how popular I am :-)
    Thank you for the information - the world needs geeks.

    1. Scarlet, You're welcome! It's amazing how sometimes we let the little things lead us astray & how silly we get sometimes obsessing over the smallest, minor details, completely forgetting the overall picture.

      Every now & then, I get caught up in the small details that I waste time agonizing over the little things, only to realize later that sometimes, the simplest way is the best way to do things.

  5. Thanks, sweetpea! Like Scarlet, I used to have sitemeter on my blog, but when it stopped functioning, I deleted it. Right now, I've given up on looking at my stats because I'm just glad y'all still stop by and leave a word or two! I know the moment when stats stopped being "meaningful" to me and that was when I found myself wondering why some bloggers I followed and commented on weren't doing the same with me. Yeah, I reverted to high school analytics and my own personal pity party! LOL (don't judge, it was momentary) ;) xoxoxo

    1. Savannah, It's always good to hear from you! And I totally get what you mean. I comment on blogs that I like & also out of common courtesy to those who visit.

      And you're right. Focusing on stats keeps you from the important things: Real people & real friends visit & comment because they are genuinely happy to see you & care about you. And I'll gladly take a few genuine people over a mass just following trends any day! For me, blogging is about expression & connections, not a popularity contest. I'm here for the wonderful company & amazing community.