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referrer spam
minutiae Posted 2003-11-19 00:08:32 by Jim Crawford
I used to get a lot of blatant referrer spam in my “Recent Referrers” box. It was pretty well-targeted advertising, selling website promotion to the kind of person who compulsively checks the referrer field in his or her http logs and also gets few enough to notice these particular ones in all the noise.

Starting a few days ago, I've been getting referrals from a set of apparent blogs, all of which have a “Recent Referrers” list, though it's not always labeled so, and none of which have much else aside from one page's worth of not-remotely-interesting content.

I get about three of these a day. If they haven't stopped since I posted this, chances are you can find some in my “Recent Referrers” box right now. (It's on the right, below “Recent Comments.”) They're probably the only domain-root pages on the list. As I write this, I see and

None of the links on these pages work, except for the ones in the referrer lists. had me laughing out loud at its broken links:


For those of you who have never done web development, that code is like seeing a kid drinking specifically in order to achieve long-term liver damage.

What do you suppose the purpose of all this is? Discounting the possibility that it's art, the only reason I can see for going through all this trouble is that they could be selling traffic to the other sites in the list of links. That doesn't seem like it would work too well, though; I doubt it's very common for someone to actually browse to a link in a recent referrer list, and this scheme requires people to click on two in a row in order to score a single impression. Maybe they're just looking for google rank boostage from the trackback links? Again, this suffers from the indirection.

It's still a clever idea... clever enough to sell to the non-savvy, anyways. Maybe the masterminds behind the scheme are skimping on the competence and passing the savings on to you.

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no subject
Posted by Anonymous (sugigrl) on 2003-11-19 13:01:40
it's so random, those blogs are fake but someone is updating them regularly
adult webcam?
Posted by Anonymous (Craig Timpany) on 2003-11-19 21:21:14
I'm going to go with the google-juice milking theory. I found this at the bottom of the page:

 a href="ht tp://" img src="/adult-webcam.gif" width="78" height="24" border="0" /a

(angle brackets removed)

It's a white gif on a white background and it's the only link on the page that's not a snippet of javascript.
no subject
Posted by Anonymous (Craig Timpany) on 2003-11-19 21:31:30
I wonder if people using google image search for pr0n webcams get the aforementioned blank white gifs all through their results.

This appeals to my sense of irony.
no subject
Posted by Anonymous (~g) on 2003-11-19 21:40:33
Yup. I found that Bongo page from my referrers page as well. I've seen a few other ones too. Luckily I stumbled upon this page or I may have followed more of those links as they wanted me to. I would definitely say that this is some kind of marketing trick to get traffic from the very people who are big on analyzing traffic. What a vicious cycle! Wow, re-inventing the wheel of spam.
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