Saturday, 12 October 2013

Refusing to Give in to the Spam

In my first few months of blogging, I was feeling optimistic. The traffic to my site had been steadily growing and far exceeded my expectations at the outset. Then I began to notice something rather peculiar in the stats of my blog. On the slower days between posts, the total number of hits did not match with the total of my individual pageviews. At first, I thought nothing of it, but then the gap started to increase. It got to the point where my stats would be showing 40-50 visitors to my blog, yet my pageviews only totalled a dozen or so. Clearly something was amiss.

After posing the topic to several message boards and forums, I finally got the answer. I had been the recipient of something known as 'Referrer Spam'. Without getting too technical (I don't actually fully understand how it all works), basically the spammers send a load of links to my blog (usually to porn sites) and if I click on them (I never will) they receive a fee, just like pay per click advertising. By far the majority of this unwanted trash comes from Russia and the Ukraine (the links show as .ru) and as far as I know there is no way to stop it. All that I can do is ignore it and hope that it goes away.

If you have a blog and are experiencing the same - Do Not Click on any of the suspect links. This will only encourage the spammers. Our best means to fight them is to spread the word and try to get as many people as possible to stop clicking on these links as that is how the spammers make their money. As writers, we are curious as to were our blog traffic comes from, but in this case, curiosity will only increase the spam. I repeat - Do Not Click on any unknown links to your blog (particularly any with a .ru domain name).

Suffice to say, the early optimism that I felt about blogging has sagged. That is not to say that I have lost it completely. I am determined to fight back. Okay, not literally fight back. I have already discovered that I cannot do anything against these spammers, but I can try and boost the number of genuine visits to my blog by giving it greater visibility to my potential readers.

I have joined a site named 'Networked blogs', which always me to syndicate my blog feed with my FaceBook Fan Page and allow readers to access them directly from there. I have also connected my blog to my Goodreads Author Page and my Amazon Author Page. And most importantly, I am going to continue to blog regardless of whether my website traffic is made up of genuine readers or shameless spammers. With luck, I will in time, attract more of the former and a lot less of the latter.

If you found this post interesting, why not sign up to join my blog using one of the tools on the sidebar to the right. You can also check out my two self published novels The Outback and Stealing Asia. Both are available as ebooks and paperbacks.

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