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Faking your website or blog traffic


Written by:
2009/03/09 08:32 AM RssIcon

The internet is a highly competitive arena. Traffic and statistics are the measure of one's worth. To prove that your site is successful and important and popular, you need to have some sort of statistics to back up your claims. Getting traffic the normal, natural way can sometimes prove difficult. So how do you then increase your traffic to your site, with the least amount of work? Well easy, fake your web traffic! Or Should you?

Advertising drives the bulk of the internet revenue today. Many famous bloggers can earn six figure salaries on internet advertising. The only way to do this is to have huge amounts of internet traffic. The more internet traffic the better for your advertising campaign. The more traffic you get, the more money you earn.

How does it work. Well advertisers normally pay on a per impression or per click through basis. The most common is on a CPM or per 1000 impressions. An impression is classed as a single view or display of an add. Depending on the advertiser, this cost can vary. One would also have multiple adverts on any one page, and possible multiple adverts on multiple pages.

Having looked at various advertising campaigns, it is not unreasonable to expect between R30-R50 per thousand impressions. Depending on the advertiser, keyword, and various other factors, one can earn up to R100 per thousand impressions.

So lets do a quick little calculation shall we.  If I set my goal as R30 000 per month then this means that I would need to earn R1000 per day. At R50 per thousand impressions or CPM, I would need to have 20 000 ad impressions. This sounds like of lot impressions. Well it is for one advert on one page. The trick is to have many adverts spread across many pages. I did some calculations, and came up with this. Having  5 adverts spread across 5 pages, brings the impressions per page down. This means that I only have to have 800 page views per day. This will give me my 20 000 ad impressions, at 800 impressions per ad. That means my clients could expect to pay R1200 per month for each add. Not a bad price.

The big question is, can we get to 20 000 impressions per day. Well yes we can. All we need is about 4000 page views per day.

If you have a naturally popular site, this is no problem. But if you do not. How do you garner up 4000 page views per day. Well one way is to fake your traffic.

I state here and now that this method is highly unethical, and probably illegal, as it amounts to advertising fraud or click fraud. Google adsense has been battling this for years now. Why am I talking about this subject then if it is illegal and unethical. Well a friend of mine, asked me my opinion on a website that they presumed was faking their web traffic. My friend asked me if this can be done and how can it be done. Well I took up the challenge and over the period of a week did some investigation and testing. The answer is YES, you can successfully fake your web traffic stats.

What are the methods of faking one stats. Well there are a few, and most times these are all performed in tandom to mask the possibility of faked traffic.

  • Auto Surf Exchange. Autosurfs are traffic exchanges that automatically rotate advertised websites in one's web browser
  • Script or program. Most traffic stats are generated via a small JavaScript inserted into ones website or blog. All one has to do is have a small program that can execute that script multiple times.
  • Auto Refresh or Rotate Campaigns. These are campaigns and applications that refresh a website in a browser thousands of times a day.
  • Buying traffic. Generally you can pay people to surf your site. These normally come from low labour cost countries like India.
  • Large advertising campaigns. Like PPC. This is a legal route.

There are more ways, like forum posts and other pay for traffic generators. Most are fake, but some can be genuine, as mentioned with PPC campaigns.

Does this really work you ask. well the answer is Yes. I tried this this week. By setting up a demo site, downloading one of the free script and auto refresh programs. I was able to generate a lot of traffic within a day. In fact I was able to generate a measly 100 impressions per hour. Bringing me up to 2400 impressions per day. With 5 adverts I could get 12000 impressions a day easily. This is minimal, as these porgrams can generate thousands of impressions per day. This traffic was correctly shown on my Google analytic stats, as well as on a popular blog statistic website.

So then how can you tell if a site has fake traffic. Well if done correctly it can be very difficult. But here are a few pointers.

  • Sharp increase in traffic. Normally traffic increases gradually over time as a natural readership builds up. With sharp peaks now and again, as a result of advertising campaigns or popular posts. But you would normally find a general steady upward increase over time.
  • No significant dips or lags in the stats. Normal users will not always like everything on your site or blog. I generally go through days and perhaps weeks of low traffic. This is normal.  Fake traffic does not generally exhibit this behaviour, unless well driven.
  • Anonymous proxy addresses. Fake traffic tends to have large amounts of anonymous proxy addresses. Although this in and of itself is not conclusive. What happens is that auto refresh, script programs, go through a list of proxy servers to mask that the traffic is coming from a single IP address.
  • Length of visit. Normally scripts just retrieve the page or refresh the page and move on to the next process. Humans on the other hand tend to spend time reading all or part of the page. Very low times, seconds, in  length of visit and if the length of visit is similar in many places, ie always 10 seconds. Then this is an indication that it is a fake.
  • Bounce rates. High bounce rates are an indication of fake traffic. Most scripts do not follow traffic navigation to simulate normal human browsing behaviour. Humans tend to browse other pages. Not always though. Fake traffic will normally exhibit a 95%-100% bounce rate. This means that they enter a page and leave without going anywhere else on the site. Although Gernaraly article and Blog type sites will also exibit high bounce rates. Its the nature of, found what I am looking for, now leave.
  • Dead end or not in use IP addresses.  Ip addresses that are not in use or do not belong to anyone is a clear indication.
  • High ratio of direct or referral traffic over organic traffic. Stats show that most websites get a lot of their traffic through organic searches provided by search engines. A normally high ratio of 10-1 up to and over 100-1 indicate something strange going on. So if you have 20 000 page views per day, but only have 2000 or less organic search traffic, then there is something going on.

Now not all of these are an indication of fake traffic in and of themselves. For example, anonymous proxy server. Many users do use them. But a good fraudster will use a combination of these methods, and they will spread them out over time, stop and start them sporadically in an effort to fool some.

The problem is that I do not think we have the skills and resources or technology here in South Africa to detect these things. Yes we might get the novice, but the professional will prove to be difficult to trace. Also not many companies will take on the extra expense of doing a complete investigation on stats before they take on a campaign. Especially small to medium sized companies and campaigns. I mean if you're only paying R1500 per month, the cost of investigating the authenticity of a sites stats is very expensive. Bigger companies might do it. But a cleaver fraudster, would rather get 10-50 or more adverts form smaller companies, than try to fool a large expensive corporation.

Have you experienced fake or inflated web traffic? Have you ever been suspicious of another site>


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3 comment(s) so far...


Re: Faking your website or blog traffic

Hi. Yes I'm an SEO, so I know exactly where traffic comes from, about a year ago, I was offered free advertising on a large network of websites, for a month, the site

went on and charged me $50USD per month, even though I asked them several times to stop, before the end of that first month, they just keep taking the money out of my account credit card.... but that's a different story…..

anyway, when I finally rang America and spoke to someone, they gave me a login for my so called add campaign, and told me I was one of their most successful advertisers, but was told how I could "turn it off" but I would be making a grave mistake.

I know very well that the most visitors I would ever have gotten from them was around 20, it actually turned out to be 17 visitors over the 6 month period... I logged into my "Account" and still kick myself today for not taking screenshots as proof, my advert had apparently shown almost 2,500,000 times, and been click on, and had almost 100,000 clickthroughs. Wow, fantastic huh… if it had of been true…..

Long story short, 48 phone calls from New Zealand to Los Angles and the IRS which cost almost $420 in toll bills, I finally got the ad campaign stopped, lousy 1 months refunded. I went on a campaign to find other New Zealand businesses, that were advertising with them, out of the 5 people that replied to my email, offering to check their website statistics against this places statistics,

it was the same story for all of them, there was one group of sites in New Zealand that were paying for 8 different ad’s and had been for over 12 months, and their results were actually worst than mine, they got averaged 28 clicks in the whole year.
I had forgotten all about that until now, I must blog the whole story, and name the site involved. Thanks for your post. Sorry my reply was so long....

Cheers Lynn

By SEObyCanz on  2009/03/10 07:48 AM

Re: Faking your website or blog traffic

One more quick story, I have seen a post for workers on for worker's that would be paid I'm sure it was $2 everytime they clicked each on a list of 250 links, the place advertising, said they would provide workers with an IP Changing program, which after they had clicked on each link in the list, they could do something with this program, the maximum they would pay was $50 a day per person. Payment would be made at the end of the month, $1500 USD if you clicked to the limit each day.

They said they were only wanting 25 people so be in quick..... hows that for bad, i can bet anything you like they would have hired everyone that replied to do it, and probably never paid, anyone, and have gotten... heck, I'm too tired to work out how many clicks a month... someone else do the math....

Cheers again. Lynn Brown

By SEObyCanz on  2009/03/10 07:49 AM

Re: Faking your website or blog traffic

THanks for that horrifying story. I sure hope it proves to be a stern warning to others.
I get tons of these type of things in the mail, spam, promising thousands and millions of traffic, click through's, thousands of leads, etc. They are all scams.
Nothing in this world comes free. It all takes hard work. Success and reward takes blood, sweet, and tears, with a little bit of luck. But it does not happen overnight.
I'm sorry to say, that on your advertising campaign, you probably would have been better going for a Google PPC campaign.

On you pay per click comment. Yes, people in impoverished countries will do anything for a Dollar. Even $50 a month to some is fantastic. You can find these guys a dime a dozen in India. I live in South Africa, Zimbabwe to our north, is a prime candidate for this type of thing. I could write my own programs, and exploit Zim with this kind of thing and make millions. Hey, Zimbabweans would settle for $10 a month.

BTW let me know when you write that article, I would love to read it.

By Robert Bravery on  2009/03/10 07:57 AM
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