Friday, December 14, 2012

Robo "Readers"

I just learned something new and it really has me depressed.  I learned about referrer spam (often spelled as “referrer spam” with only a single “r” in the middle of referrer.)

Google gives me stats about page views. One of the states I get is information about where someone clicked to land on my page. For instance: google, bing, facebook, etc. 

Yesterday I noticed as a referrer site. Ad Sense is the name of Google’s program that puts the ads on my blog pages. It’s how I can earn a few cents. “Watch dog?”  I was concerned—did I inadvertently do something that might cause me to lose my ad privileges.  Naturally, I clicked on the link to see where it would take me.

Exactly what the spammers wanted me to do!  Later I googled “What is adsensewatchdog?” And that is how I learned about referrer spam.  Spammers do this to trick bloggers into going to their websites. These are often porn sites. The spammers do this to get traffic to their sites and to raise their rankings on google. (The more hits, the higher the ranking for a site.)

Often the link has some innocent sounding name.  When I see the link, I wonder why that website has linked to my blog, so I click on the link. I’m lucky all I got was a bit of spam.  Sometimes, people get very malicious viruses that can’t be blocked by anti-virus software and that could have destroyed my computer.

Some of the innocent sounding robo-spammers that I have encountered are ontimemarketing, escapefrommassachusetts, videoshub, topblogstories, kallery; ourmeets some robo-spammers with names that give them away are are vampirestat, zombiestat, villianstat. Do not click on these referers!
But what really got me depressed was not my computer’s close brush with death, but learning that some of my page views were not real live readers, but robot-generated views.  No human eyes on my precious prose and poetry!

I studied my stats.  I now knew the names of the most widely used robo-spammers.  Maybe 10% to 20% of my views came from this spam.

Now I have precious few readers as it is.  I thought I’d have way more followers and page views after a year of blogging. Learning that I had even fewer viewers than I thought really hurt.

I work very hard to provide good content on my blogs News Print Poetry 2012 and Premium Cable Reviews.  It’s practically my full time job. It hurts to know that hardly anyone wants to read them.

I practically beg readers and friends—I take that back—not practically, I actually beg readers and friends to read, share, and leave a comment. Virtually no one does.  Now I know one reason for the low rate of comments is that my readers are not humans, but robots. However, the 80% who are humans are doing very little reading, sharing, and commenting.

When I add the spam to whatever percentage of people that land on my web page while searching for something else, it’s very depressing.

I’m going to finish out the year because when I make a commitment, I follow through.  Next year?  I don’t know.  I think my ‘career” as a blogger may be over.

I very much enjoyed blogging, but it kind of takes the fun out of it to know that I have so few real readers.

I think I need to work really hard on trying to re-establish my market research business that fell off a cliff because of the recession.  That job pays me real money, and I need some real money.
On the plus side, the blogs “forced” me to do a lot of writing. All this writing has made me a better writer. A paid published writer in books published by real publishers.