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  • The Dark Art of Inflating Traffic
  • The Dark Art of Inflating Traffic



    Traffic robots are rather sophisticated and need to do several things to accurately mirror a real websurfer.  First the robot needs to be able to run from a navigation script.  More advanced robots will randomly choose different scripts to better hide their presence.  Next the robot needs to be able to read and execute JavaScript, Quantcast and Google Analytics both use JavaScript functions to collect data.  Lastly, the robot needs to be able to change its IP address so that it will register a unique hit with the traffic trackers. 

    A good traffic robot will spread out its activity over a 30 day period to ease the burden on the webserver and blend in better with the normal website traffic.  The downside to this is poorly written ones will actually loiter around too long and create some strange numbers in the site stats.

    Speaking of site stats the average time on site metric should be averaging "all" of the traffic that is accessing the website and if it is a true average you should be getting rather accurate results.  In the case of sites with a meta refresh tag I have noticed their average time on site numbers to be higher than most.  This would indicate they are using a traffic robot to pump up the numbers, or have a bunch of users accessing the site for hours and just let the browser refresh itself.

    Both of those scenarios are questionable when it comes to selling traffic numbers to advertisers, especially considering that there is no guarantee that real people are actually going to view the banner.

    I'd be interested to hear what your thoughts are on this so please drop by the forums and let me know what you think.