After careful consideration I have decided to transfer all hardware review activities to a new domain.  I purchased in 2012 and have been working hard to build a new and improved Ninjalane on that domain.  If you are reading this you have reached one of the archived articles, news, projects and/or reviews that were left behind during the site migration. 

Please update your bookmarks and be sure to visit the new and improved Ninjalane at

  • articles
  • general information
  • The Dark Art of Inflating Traffic
  • The Dark Art of Inflating Traffic


    Cheating the System

    What good are accurate numbers if someone tries to cheat the system in hopes of making their website seem bigger than it really is?  By this, I'm referring to site owners who engage in "traffic pumping" to improve their web statistics.

    The interesting thing about web traffic is that from the perspective of the webserver, every hit is anonymous and stateless.  In fact the only thing the website knows about its visitor is the information given up by the application accessing the website.  A casual web surfer typically gives up stuff like what browser they are using, where they came from, what their IP address is, and any cookie information from previous visits.  You can deduce some details about the user such as where in the world the hit came from and how long they stay on a certain page but you will never know if they are male, female, or made up by a robot or script. 

    This is why spyware is such a problem and why some firewall programs block this information to help and protect the user.  Web trackers like Google Analytics understand the dilemma and many hits are recorded with no demographic data at all.  Click advertisers also realize this and will often include a clause in their agreements forbidding website owners from using programs that simulate clicks or roam the website looking for broken links.
    So why is this bad? And how can you spot the website faker?

    Well it's pretty easy to see why this is bad. 

    Say website B wants to steal away advertisers and is banking on the fact that these advertisers have no real ROI agenda.  All the advertiser is looking to accomplish is making sure their banners are shown to as many people as possible.  The only problem is website B has very low traffic numbers and cannot command a premium on advertising rates, much less attract advertisers to their website.

    To help increase their odds and impersonate larger websites, they start running a script to artificially inflate the traffic numbers.   Over time, these numbers become attractive to potential advertisers, but are done-so under false pretenses.