Attack of the smart bots
Last Update: May 25, 2023
I research some weird things as a past time. Many like to play games, I love to read up on things.
So last night as I was winding my night down to take a nap I was reading on a forum I frequent a lot. On this forum I came across a thread on a certain smart bot that has been operational now for close to 2 years I think.
I'm not going to name the bot program as I don't wish to encourage its usage, and I'll explain why it will hurt you in a moment.
Anyway, I was astounded when I read what this bot could do.
For years I've known of what are called traffic bots. They fake traffic to your sites or accounts in an attempt to create an impression you have lots of visitors.
Many ad networks and places like YouTube regularly come up with ways to unmask these bot networks and have gotten really good at it. Because the old school bots were extremely limited in their functionality.
But get this.
This bot mimics human behavior and will fool even Google.
It starts by locating the posts you identify to it on Google search. Using search it then goes to your site through them.
This is where it gets a little futuristic for me.
It then moves a cursor around the page as it also scrolls the page, to fool heat maps and mimic human behavior.
THEN it will click on links to other pages in your site to feign interest in your content.
Before moving on as to why I believe this is a horrible bot to use, let me now examine the next logical step for this.
If they can program this bot to move around in such a way as to fool heat maps and Google, then it will only be a matter of time before someone connects it with an AI program and starts using it to leave comments on our sites. Might already be happening.
I know one of the recommended ways of getting ones website out there is on comment sections where it allows you to link your website.
Imagine a bot with the above features hitting thousands of sites a day leaving intelligent little comments along with their website links.
I think in the near future these advances are going to be biting those of us doing things correctly in the rear.
Why I advise to stay away from the smart bot.
While this bot can fool Google Analytics due to its human like behavior, it will also likely lead to many lost ad network accounts as they wonder why their ads aren't being productive the way they are on average at similar sites.
These ad networks have statistics down to a science on realistic percentages based on volume of ads served and will notice drastic deviations on folks using bots like this.
It will also likely push you to reach the ceiling on your traffic with your host provider. All host providers (even here at WA) have a ceiling on the traffic per month you can have. Is it worth using that up on fake traffic pretending to be human?
The claim I saw on the thread is it will help one rank in Google when they record all of this interest from their search.
But really, it seems like a waste of time and money to me. And a way to set up handicaps for you in other ways as I mentioned with ad monetization and visitor bandwidth.
I thought I would let you know about this. I can also see this being used as a weapon against competitors who use ad networks.
So if you see a dramatic rise in your visitors in Analytics but nothing else is matching up, you just might have had someone point such a bot on your site. Especially if you have heat map on your site and it seems like these folks are real.
Thanks so much for reading, and hope today is kind and productive for you.
See more comments