Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Bloggy Weirdness

Not an important post.  Just wondering if anyone has similar experiences.

Spam Comments
Last few weeks I've been getting 4-8 spam comments a day.  They seem to be randomly assigned to posts throughout my blog history to try and escape my notice.  Because I have the option set that I need to approve any comment older than a week I've been able to catch and burn these.  I've had full-free anonymous posting open for, like, months, so it isn't that.  I guess I just ended up on a list somewhere? 

Don't worry about censorship, I'd never delete even a trollish comment, these are an easy species to detect because they usually have innocuous text that could apply to any blog and then a link to some scummy website for fat burning or sex toys.

Ghost Traffic
In the same time period (I wonder if it is related somehow to the spam) I've received a couple big waves of traffic that I have no clue as to the origin.  I've never fooled with Google Analytics or anything, just look at the Stats page in Blogger to see what folks are reading.  That way I know if someone has posted a link to Reddit or StumbleUpon.  In these cases Blogger would tell me I was getting 400 hits in a day on a three-year-old post but not the origin of those hits.  The most recent was for my Beasts of Burden look at encumbrance.

I was wondering if it might be someone sharing a link on G+ and it is hidden in traffic coming from Google (I get a bunch from there already from people looking for silhouettes in image search).  But I don't think even all the links from Google on those days adds up to the traffic it's showing.  Weird.  Either it's telling me I'm getting hits I'm not getting or I'm getting hits and somehow it isn't recording their source.

This isn't a big deal, but knowing who is in your audience and what they are most interested in is useful information.

Can you unlike something?  I've never tried.  I suppose it would make sense in case you accidentally clicked Like on something you didn't. But my last post, which has the most Likes I've ever got, suddenly dropped by 6.  Why would people like something and then change their mind?  Weird.  Oh well, back to making stuff.


  1. Not sure about the rest, but I think someone deleting their G+ profile completely removes any likes they had from counters.

  2. I switched to using Disqus for commenting a couple of years ago, and it has wholly annihilated any and all comment spam. None. Whatsoever. I can't recommend it enough. Also, it solves the anonymity issue that's driven folks trying to handle blog post comments & conversation on G+ without actually breaking the link between the post and the conversation.

    As to phantom traffic: it happens. I don't understand how it's profitable for someone, but I've definitely noticed traffic hitting my Warhammer blog from Russian forums that have URLs that make it clear I shouldn't investigate them. I just try to ignore it.

  3. Not sure about the weird spam, but I am definitely getting the ghost traffic. Using Google Analytics, I tracked it two two spam blogs that had linked to me, one of which was LinkBux, which is/was using a false http:// redirect to make it look like my site was getting the hit when it was actually directing traffic elsewhere.

  4. The ghost traffic comes from sites that are hoping you'll follow the source URL. Many times they are overseas gambling sites, etc. I was dismayed to discover that almost a quarter of the hits to my site were caused by them. There's a good article about them here:

  5. Thanks, all.

    @eldorel: Well I hope my post didn't cause 6 people to leave G+, :) seriously though, that would be horrible.

    @Richard: Thanks for the suggestion. I don't mind pruning out the spam so far and I like leaving posting as simple as possible, even if people want to do it anonymously. I was mostly wondering why the spam started all of a sudden.

    @Zak: I saw that, thank you. Actually, that post would be a good test case, so Blogger shows I've received 622 hits to it in the last week and now I see if I add up all the incoming Google urls that it works out: 344 141 53 45 40 31

    total = ~654

    So, previously it probably was someone posting to G+ (and I'm not in their circles and didn't see the post shared) and I just didn't see the spike in all the spread out Google addresses.

    @mwschmeer: What is the economic incentive to hide traffic? I thought they were all try to build up fake SEO rankings.

    @WQRobb: I think I have that too, though it wasn't the big spikes I was talking about. I ususually get ~30-40 hits a day from some of those scummy, non-sites. But I can see the site in the stats. I thought I was getting unrecorded traffic, but it looks like it might be from G+.