Fake Traffic

Why Fake Traffic Sucks and How it Hurts Your Business Blog

If there is a currency for the internet, then it should be Web Traffic. Traffic is the blood of any website or blog, without Traffic, there is no use of having a dead page on the internet. Not all traffic are good, there is also bad traffic, and fake traffic.

This post is about the Fake Traffic, what is it, how it could hurt your blog based on a real story started a couple of weeks ago, so please keep reading and pay a full attention, this might be happening to you, and you just don’t know it.

Have you ever thought about generating fake traffic to your blog?

I mean imagine if you could increase your page views and get more people to advertise on your blog, you fake it all by doing the little trick that is called fake traffic.

Read more to know why I actually published this post, there is an interesting thing going, and it’s really driving me crazy!

Let me first explain to you what is fake traffic in plain English.

What is Fake Traffic

Fake traffic is simply a simulation, it’s a black hat technique that allow you to generate traffic to your blog, but this traffic isn’t real! This means it’s generating by a bot or a software, no humans are involved, thus no conversion. The reason is to game the statistics, and show that you are getting a lot of traffic.

What’s the benefit of Fake Traffic?

In one word : Nothing!

It’s just fake! So you earn a few cents today, and lose everything tomorrow.

What happened to me is a good example that Fake Traffic is not good, it’s harmful! And, probably someone can use this technique to hurt someone else’s blog and business reputation. Keep reading to know more about the problem I am having on the blog!

The Clever Thief Never Get Caught

People always try to game the system, some of them may succeed, bit what I don’t understand is how someone promotes these ideas to others, how they could recommend Fake Traffic by saying that “Fake Traffic is really good“, and man I started to hate Fiverr.com, some people sell fake traffic in broad daylight, this really sucks!

Trust me, once you got caught by Google or your advertisers, there is no way back, you won’t be able to maintain your integrity, or get back the trust you’ve lost, no one will ever trust you or your business again!

So, don’t think you can get away with Fake Traffic!

I am getting Fake Traffic! (The problem)

The real problem, and the reason I am writing this post is that I am actually getting fake traffic to my blog!

Yes, someone hate me enough to spend her/his money on sending my blog fake traffic!

Below are a few screenshots of FamousBlogges’ stats that is generated by WordPress.com Stats via Jetpack plugin. These images presents the usual traffic average, and difference in traffic after the fake traffic hit!

Blog Traffic Stats

As you can see in the screenshot above, FamousBloggers is getting a steady traffic. It has an average of 2500 visits a day or so.

blog traffic stats

I notice increase in traffic a couple of weeks ago. To be honest, I got excited, and I never thought it was a fake traffic! It was super cool to see traffic increase to an average of 5,000 visit per day, that’s a 100% increase. I’ve enjoyed this feeling for only one week before I discover the ugly truth about this traffic source.

blog traffic increase

On the 4th of Feb 2012, I got 15,000 visits to my blog, this wake me up from my lovely dream!

I just thought, this doesn’t make sense. So, I started to check my stats and monitor my blog traffic, and quickly realized it was just a fake traffic. How? Simply, because the “time on site” for all these visits wasn’t more than only 10 seconds, all of them are using IE browser, it comes from different IPs, and there is no referrers.

[box type=”important”]I started to think that anyone could receive fake traffic, but because they don’t monitor the traffic sources seriously using services like Get Clicky, they won’t notice it’s actually fake![/box]

I spent the whole day thinking of why this is happening, why someone would pay for sending my blog fake traffic! So, I decided to study the case and discover the impact of this traffic on my blog.

The impact of Fake Traffic

online users

I notice a huge change in all my stats that day, the worst thing is the change in bounce rate and time on site, the bounce rate increased to 90.56% which is really high, time on site was only 21 seconds, which is too low than my blog’s real visits average.

Another thing I notice is that all fake traffic landed on only 4 pages on the blog, three of my high ranked reviews posts and the main page of the blog. This made me think this attack is coming from a competitor who is trying to drop my reviews ranking by sending fake traffic to these specific review posts. The only thing I can think of is that maybe someone got pissed off after I release my Author hReview plugin that adds Google’s rich snippets for reviews and ratings.

I also notice that my Alexa’s rank is going higher, it’s now 7961 at the moment of writing this post.

I got contacted by BuySellAds the other day, they’ve enabled CPM ads model on my blog, I had to reply back and explain this traffic source, I’ve told them that I won’t be selling this traffic, simply because it’s fake and I am trying to find the best way to block it. BSA advised me to find any patterns in my Google Analytics account in this regard and try to block them.

You can take a look at FamousBlogger’s page on BSA and see the impressions estimate.

Sending a fake 15.000 visit to a blog every day isn’t good, and isn’t funny, usually people don’t do it just for fun, this is a serious attack and require a quick respond!

Why Would Someone Send My Blog Fake Traffic?

As I mention above, this could be a serious attack from one of my competitors, of course I wanted to know who is she/he is, but it’s almost impossible to know, so let’s don’t wast time on this and focus on solving the problem. I wanted first to know the reason behind it.

Why would someone send fake traffic to your blog, here is what I’ve found:

As you can see, this is only examples, things I know and I think of. Probably fake traffic can hurt your blog in other ways. You never know how ranking services works, and how their algorithms rank your blog, so they might be considering fake traffic in a way of another.

Get Rid of Fake Traffic

As I mentioned above, all fake traffic comes from different IPs, so the only pattern I could see is all visits are using IE browser and has no referrers, which means there is no information about where they came from. So, at least I know I can block or redirect all IE visits, that’s something I can do, but what about the real people who are visiting my blog using IE browser?

Anyways, I’ve decided to go with this solution and just contain all IE visit and redirect it to an empty static page a way from my blog, so I can study this traffic more.

This helped me to get rid of fake traffic, but along with a few real human visits. At least I could control it till I find a better solution or get some advice from an expert. I decided to call Mohamed and we had a little chat over phone about the best way to prevent this fake traffic. Mo is a network engineer and a security specialist, so I was sure he is the right person to get in touch with in regard to this issue.

So quickly, Mo responded to me and we did a nice plan to identify and contain the fake traffic by doing some sort of complicated process and checks, we wanted to make sure we get rid of the fake traffic “Only”, so now FamousBloggers is 100% free of fake traffic. Yay!

Getting back to normal blog traffic

I am still getting 15,000 – 20,000 fake visits per day, but it doesn’t have any impact on the blog anymore.

I have no idea when this hit will end, but anyways, we are good to go now!

Update: Download the Fake Traffic Blaster plugin from wordpress.org.

Now, a few Questions for You

Do you monitor your traffic sources often?

Do you suspect that your blog is getting fake traffic?

What if there is a tool that help you check and get rid of fake traffic? Would you be interested in that?

I create websites with WordPress, and I develop Thesis Skins. I am a social network lover. I am also the night creature who works hard to keep this project up. Owner and founder of the Famous Blog.


Get our latest articles delivered to your email inbox, plus download our FREE 15 minutes later marketing guide.

We respect your privacy!
{ 149 comments… add one }
  • Asif Khan December 22, 2012, 5:31 am

    Interesting post, I hope your traffic figures are back to normal.
    And thanks for the tip off about the WordPress plugin

  • Carolm December 21, 2012, 3:02 am

    This is useful info, so thanks Hasheem.
    I don’t think I’ve had fake traffic but a few weeks ago I noticed I had hundreds of Hits (Awstats) with no visit or page recorded against them.

    I investigated and found it was most likely someone hotlinking off my images. This is done to save the other person’s bandwidth by hotlinking off mine. Or they might be trying to overload my own bandwidth.

    I tracked the culprit site down and emailed the owner. He maintained he had no knowledge of this, but the hotlinking did stop.

    There is also an option on Hostgator’s Cpanel to block Hotlinking, and I did this as well.
    Hope your readers find this info useful.

  • Raheem Khan October 8, 2012, 5:31 am

    All the traffic is comming from China and they’re using IE. I tried WP and now I’m improving.

  • Sabrina September 21, 2012, 2:11 pm

    Thank you for sharing this and for the plug-in! I\’ve been receiving fake traffic from a girlfriend\’s site that I used to comment on. I don\’t think she realized she meant harm, but I\’m pretty sure she enlisted one of those \”fake traffic\” companies to boost her traffic. Of course now I\’m STILL getting fake traffic months later simply because I was supporting her blog and leaving comments on her posts.My question is this: How does the plug-in work? Is it sophisticated enough to seek out only traffic from that domain (as it is clear who the referrer is)?As my site and practice are just now building I certainly don\’t want to turn away any authentic leads.Thank you!Sabrina

    • Hesham Zebida September 21, 2012, 5:36 pm

      Simply, the plugin set a cookie in the visitor’s browser then try to read it, if it wasn’t there then it prevent access. This happen with IE users only (not all browsers).

      FYI. I got a few complains from people who can’t view the blog, I really can’t do anything to help them if they still using IE!

  • Umer Rock September 8, 2012, 4:57 am

    But What is solution Plz Share i am tired to search many of enemies send fake Chinese traffic 🙁

  • Heather Novak August 14, 2012, 4:54 pm

    OK, so what if a site I visit and comment on then seems to refer A LOT of traffic to me every day, but no extra comments, high bounce etc. As a newbie blogger, I tended to go back and comment often to get more traffic…but it cannot be real, can it?

    • Hesham Zebida August 14, 2012, 5:10 pm

      I don’t think you have a problem, also the high bounce rate happen for several reasons, however I suggest you investigate this source of traffic to make sure it’s coming from your comment!

      This bring me to the idea of the “traffic that converts”, and how useful it is!

  • Greg Jr August 9, 2012, 8:57 pm

    Hesham – Thank you so much for digging into this issue and publishing your information. I have 4 websites that have been getting hit hard with hundreds, sometimes thousands of similar visits per day (average 3-10 visitors per normal day.) Since all of my websites are through the same Google ID, I often receive no to very little income on these days even though I am receiving multiple clicks a day on the days my websites are not spammed with traffic. It has been driving me buts since May and I am so happy I found your website as the adsense forums provided no help whatsoever. Thank you again and I will let you know how the plugin works in a few weeks!


  • Labud August 5, 2012, 8:16 pm

    Hi Hesham. I was carefully reading your post and mostly comments. You are telling that traffic comes from diferent IP but same OSystem and no other evidence. So.. what if you get overnight fake traffic for few similar keywords (even some are funny) and just for one article?
    All stats are showing as normal visitors different OS Countries mostly USA Canada as usual and even bounce rate is similar.. Im tracking visits with: Jetpacks Statshow, Vho is Online plugin, StatCounter and Google Analysts.
    So how I know that is fake?
    Keyword phrases are for keywords not usually searched, all keywords are combination of one sentence, In analytics on traffic flow I found that the major of the visits goes page on next page, next next…
    So what is your meaning about this case?

  • wantei August 2, 2012, 11:21 am

    My blog is also being spammed with fake traffic and it really hurts me a lot. I’ve been looking for someone to consult this issue with.

  • Good Enough June 21, 2012, 9:42 pm

    Thanks for this helpful post. I use Squarespace and contacted them when my traffic increased from what is normally about 12 page views/day to 1000 yesterday. They didn’t seem concerned. But it just doesn’t make sense to not have any referrers or search queries. Does this mean that I’m now blacklisted by google? Thankfully, I only blog for the hell of it. And to think…I actually thought there were people reading! 🙂

    • Hesham Zebida June 21, 2012, 9:53 pm

      From 12 to 1000, this is a huge change over night, however it could happen, maybe someone shared one of the images on your blog!

      Getting fake traffic doesn’t always mean you will be blacklisted by Google, but in most cases if you are having AdSense on your blog, this is enough reason for Google to block your account!

      I suggest you check your analytics, I hope you are using one, for example Google analytics!

      P.S. I appreciate if you use your name instead of your blog name when you comment on the blog!

  • Quest June 21, 2012, 6:40 am

    well great post, i dont think we can do much about fake traffic, ive been running a forum which has 200k members and millions of post, we receive millions of hits and traffic per month from all over the world. China Eastern Europeans US UK and there is nothing we can do about traffic controlling.

    The only thing i could think of is blocking those IP’s you think its fake. But beware of blocking the wrong IP’s, my suggestion is to just leave it as it is. But keep an eye on your advertisement hits. You might be in trouble if its hits by your competitor 🙂 my 2 cents opinion 🙂

    • Hesham Zebida June 21, 2012, 10:03 pm

      Some people block IPs or a range or IPs, I just don’t want to do this, as you said, I could be blocking the wrong person!

      However, in my case the IPs are always changing, so it won’t work for me!

  • Sabrina Sabino June 8, 2012, 4:47 pm

    This is a great post! It’s only very recent that I have taken my visitor stats seriously. I really enjoy analyzing traffic sources. I’ve seen a lot of those traffic gigs on Fiverr and I’ve even contacted these sellers and they are all reassuring me that they only provide “real” traffic. But come on, I’m sure we all know there’s no such thing as genuine traffic for $5. If that was the case, there would be no need to perform optimization on sites, or any other kind of promotion.

  • dalveer May 27, 2012, 7:35 am

    sir i am facing the problem of fake traffic. when ever i check my blog traffic it shows that i have user from India,USA and Germany. but i think there is hardly anyone read my blog out of India. i don’t use ad sense but i want to stay safe from fake traffic. fake traffic is from www3.bestxcleaner………..is there any way to stop or at least stay safe from this problem. i found on internet that there is a script used in wordpress blogs which allow blogger to stay safe from fake traffic. hope you help me on this topic and can it is possible to use wordpress script on blogger to stay safe from fake traffic. thanks in advance.

  • Purnima May 19, 2012, 12:03 pm

    Hi Hesham . I genuinely thank you for bringing the existence of fake traffic in light. I was completely unaware of its existence. Can understand how difficult is it to deal with it. Letting us know how is it generated , how to identify it and how to confront it , is of immense help. Thanks for making me aware of such an unidentified problem .

  • Mandy Allen May 14, 2012, 4:18 pm

    I just checked mine having been sent over here from a Facebook link, and yes, I have a ‘spike’ this month. Very dramatic increase and all from ‘robots’. Drat! So yes, I would certainly be interested in a tool to prevent this happening.

    Enjoy the journey.


  • Adrienne May 14, 2012, 10:54 am

    Wow Hesham! I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve had to deal with this issue. Man, that’s got to really reek!

    I just checked my traffic stats yesterday and everything is fine. I’ve never seen any spike in my traffic like this before, it’s just been a slow progression over the past year which is a good thing. I wouldn’t have a clue what to do about it so at least now I have a reference should anything like this occur. I’ll keep my fingers crossed though that no one cares enough about my blog.

    Thank you for sharing this with us. I had no idea there was such a thing as fake traffic. Duh! I learn something new every day.


    • Hesham Zebida May 14, 2012, 11:15 am

      Hi Adrienne, glad to hear that your blog is safe, it’s good to check your states from time to another!

  • Richa May 13, 2012, 9:53 am

    Hey Hesham

    Thanks for the post. I had no clue about fake traffic. Your post has made me understand the concept in a better manner.

  • Terence May 11, 2012, 12:48 am

    Thank you for this post mate. May the negative seo just stop already.

  • Pham Hung April 18, 2012, 11:04 pm

    If I am correctly, your script checks cookie for each access. If cookie is not existed, it tries to create one and get value? However, it seems cookie value can be retrieve only when a visitor comes back, or refresh his browser? So, at the first time, 100% visitors will be directed to fake_landing page.

    Please correct me if I am wrong

  • Daniel March 28, 2012, 8:20 am

    This plugin protect my website too, when somone attack by website with DDOS?

  • Kyle Kam March 26, 2012, 4:59 am

    This is the reason why I totally disagree with black hat. It has a promising start but a disappointing ending for your site. This really proves that black hat won’t take you anywhere. If you want true optimization, just use white hat. It has a real promise of “slowly but surely” results.

  • Derek February 24, 2012, 10:55 am

    Why am i still unable to view the blog homepage in IE9?

    Is your traffic going down to the homepage for IE users? Could be that the non spammers can’t view famousbloggers homepage in IE9 still. Been awhile since the last time i suggested this. Perhaps i’ll subscribe to this blog again sometime in the future.

    I refuse to download another browser just to be able to read blog posts on here. I had to do a google search for this blog post because i can’t get to the homepage without being redirected.

  • wawakyoko February 22, 2012, 12:07 pm

    Hye need ur help..im a new blogger could u please to advise me the best software to up traffic in my blog..thnxs

  • Jawad February 21, 2012, 2:40 pm

    I am facing same problem as well. I have tried to block the ip addresses sending fake traffic but its getting really out of control.

  • Salman February 21, 2012, 11:33 am

    Thank God … I haven’t experienced this !! But this post made me cautious, thanks for sharing the tips on blocking fake traffic

    Agree with you on the point that if we block/redirect all IE visits then we may lose our loyal readers too

  • Kostas February 21, 2012, 11:23 am

    Hi Hesham,
    Actually these days I have a similar problem but not with traffic, instead a post on my blog which is a few months old is getting hundreds of facebook likes and +1, it’s certainly not natural since this start happening a few days ago and everyday it gets around 100 likes and 50 +1. What you would advice me to make this stop?

    Thanks Kostas

    • Hesham Zebida February 21, 2012, 11:36 am

      Wow! Kostas,

      This is really new, and I don’t see a reason why someone will do that on your blog!

      Maybe it’s a glitch, or maybe someone is experimenting on your url! I really don’t know, and I wish I could help! Anyways, I will update you if I got any clue!

      P.S. we’ve just released the Fake Traffic Blasted plugin at wordpress.org that has the same code I am using here on the blog to send the fake traffic away!

      • Kostas February 21, 2012, 1:27 pm

        Thanks for your interest Hesham, I hope this doesn’t have any negative effect to my rankings but there are some weird stats on my webmaster tools +1 metrics since from 15-18 February it showed that the total number of unique users who have +1’d my pages (historical data not just for these days) dropped from a few hundreds to 0 and then from yesterday it start showing the real numbers…

  • Kenneth Thomas February 20, 2012, 5:06 am

    nice post …
    And inspired a lot for how to prevent the site from fake visitors….

  • Becky Christiansen February 20, 2012, 1:40 am

    Thanks for this blog. We saw the same thing happen to us yesterday and today with about a 300% increase in our direct “visitors” to our home page. We use google analytics for our tracking and have years of data to compare – so we knew something was whacked out.

    We took your advice and redirected all the IE traffic to a static duplicate of our home page, with no advertising and no tracking code on it (google analytics, quantcast, comscore, etc). We also used the robot noindex metatag so Google can’t find this dummy page. At least the “real” people can navigate through and find what they are looking for. I’d rather have a small percentage of our traffic not counted than manage this fake stuff and screw up our advertising potential.

    Thanks again!

  • Michael Aulia February 19, 2012, 6:59 pm

    Sigh.. hate this society where everyone gets jealous with one another. Instead, everyone should read at other people’s success and then work hard to follow

    Wish you can find out who that is

    • Hesham Zebida February 19, 2012, 8:03 pm

      Haha.. that would be really interesting! But well there is no chance to know!

      Life goes on my friend!

  • Becky February 19, 2012, 1:51 pm

    Thanks for this article. We are experiencing the same thing. I’m subscribing to the comments to try and figure put more.

  • neojit February 18, 2012, 11:12 am

    You are absolutely right! Fake traffics may affect adsense and ranking. I think you made some enemies automatically 🙂 , because of your monthly earnings and hard works. Did you block their IPthrough Cpanel?

    • Hesham Zebida February 18, 2012, 11:28 pm

      If you read my post you will know that traffic comes from different IPs, no chance to block it by IP!

  • Arwin Adriano February 18, 2012, 8:00 am

    Glad you found it right away and it does not affect your blog. Sending fake traffics to your competitor is a bad tactic, why don’t they taught of having a healthy competition to have their spot in the blogosphere.

  • Derek February 17, 2012, 7:51 pm

    Now i know why i still can’t view your blog in IE9. lol

    Yea, fake traffic stinks and can’t do a lot of harm. I’m on shared hosting and know that my host would shut me down in a heart beat. Thinking i’ll take your advice and figure out how i’ll handle things.

    I read a blog post on one of the Google blogs about “how to prepare for a traffic spike” A good article that makes you think a little. Ok, i think there are about a dozen beer’s with my name on them.

    • Hesham Zebida February 17, 2012, 11:54 pm

      Hey Derek,

      I think you are not enabling cookies on your browser or something!

      The plugin focus is to prevent fake traffic from IE agent, and FYI, I don’t support IE, I don’t design for IE, I just don’t stand IE!

  • Judy February 17, 2012, 6:34 am

    Hesham, that’s terrible! Glad you managed to get rid of the fake traffic. Can you explain what you actually mean by “hijacking your blogs ranking”?

    • Hesham Zebida February 17, 2012, 11:56 pm

      It’s like when someone wants to take your ranking down by driving fake traffic to your post, which leads to a drop in search engine result after some time!

  • Spatch Merlin February 17, 2012, 12:33 am

    Thanks for the heads up. There are people who just can’t do things right. Black hat technique is a big NO for me. Once Google smells something bad, these people would regret of using these unethical techniques.

  • Allie February 16, 2012, 8:33 pm


    Thanks for the heads up. And it is so sad that this would happen to you. You are a great blogger and guy. I hate haters, lol. It is great that you had Mo to help you.

    The closest thing I had to fake traffic was back in December 2010 when I posted a picture of Rosie the Robot from the Jetsons on my blog. I didn’t know about changing her name, the title or keywords at the time so I received 1000’s of new hits to my blog over a couple of days. As a new blogger I was excited but quickly looking into revealed what people were searching for. I had to laugh. But I’m sure they felt mislead, oops!

    I hope your issue clears up soon.


    • Hesham Zebida February 16, 2012, 8:51 pm

      Hey Allie,

      Haha. it’s funny how thins works sometimes, it happen to me sometimes too, especially with images 🙂 But you know, that’s not really fake traffic as real people are searching so some how they land on your blog!

      Mo has been a great help, and my issue is cleared now, the dark could has gone!

      Thanks for sharing, I appreciate it!

  • Tuan February 16, 2012, 8:19 pm

    Oh that’s great. I am wondering how you and Mohamed implemented the process to prevent fake traffic. I have many visits with low page on time but I’m not sure if those are fake traffic or not.

    • Hesham Zebida February 16, 2012, 8:35 pm

      We are working on a new plugin that will solve it!

      So, keep yourself around Tuan , we will release it soon!

  • Rhys February 16, 2012, 4:13 pm

    It happened to me this on my site (I use Google Analytics), and it was a spike. I’d have left it a day and see if you still had the spike.

    Like annoying people, they go away if you ignore them 🙂

    • Hesham Zebida February 16, 2012, 8:34 pm

      Haha.. that’s could be a solution, but ignoring a three weeks of fake traffic is not good practice!

  • Michal February 16, 2012, 8:44 am

    Well, even if you get traffic from real people that show up only once it can be in it’s own sense fake. It can help the ads to generate money but only costs will be associated with selling a product (let’s say an ebook).

    • Hesham Zebida February 16, 2012, 9:08 am

      Sorry, I don’t agree with what you said!

      Real people do real visits, conversion and targeting is something else, let’s say you are selling a crappy ebook, or maybe insurance for kids, or water near to the beach… What do you expect?!

Leave a Comment