Referral Spam

October 28th, 2002

Wired reports on the new phenomenon of Referral Spam, whereby marketers send a robot to my site that does nothing but inject a referrer into my logs.

Let’s do a use-case scenario, shall we?

Hmmm. Checking the old referrer log here.. Looky here – someone who isn’t actually referring to me but is trying to get my attention by injecting their message into my logs, therefore skewing my logs and causing me grief. BOY, I’M REALLY MOTIVATED TO DO BUSINESS WITH THEM – I THINK I’LL BUY THEIR SHIT!

Yeah right.

Also, whoever wrote the Wired article is way out to lunch if they really think that injecting crap into referrer logs is going to affect someone’s search engine position. The search engines make that determination based on actual links they find on other pages that actually really point to my blog. Referral spam never actually creates a link anywhere, it just injects “to see a real loser dickhead marketing twit click here” links into my logs. Which bloggers did she actually talk to who “ruefully admitted” that this non-issue was an issue to them?

2 comments to “Referral Spam”

  1. Once you’ve found the Referrer-Spammer’s IP address [check your http access logs], it is trivial to add a deny statement to your .htaccess file:

    ErrorDocument 404 “Does not exist.”
    deny from —.—.—.—

    If you only specify a portion of numbers, you will block a whole range.

  2. Your stats page can be accessed and referrals on it are links; in addition, some sites have “top referrers” lists on their main page, and the spammers love to get into those as well. It also should be realized that spammers don’t pay much for these things, it costs them almost nothing, so they have no problem making life hell for others if there’s even a few pennies in it for them.