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.
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: