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.


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{ 149 comments… add one }
  • ryan February 15, 2012, 8:17 pm

    I think it is a shame that people try and destroy a website that you have worked so hard to build all because they cannot compete with you.I would be happy that people are jelous of me and glad you got it sorted.

  • Annette Golphin February 15, 2012, 5:52 pm

    That is truly shocking I never know about this and thanks for the information. Fake Traffic really exist and I never thought about that.

  • DiTesco February 15, 2012, 3:31 pm

    Successful blogs always suffer problems of some sort, although I have to admit that fake traffic is new in my books. The only thing I can think of is a small “DDoS” attack. There are unfortunately available software out there that does this and whoever is doing this may be using it. Anyway, I am glad you sorted that out and to answer your question about having a tool that “pinpoints” fake traffic would definitely be a great addition.

    • Hesham Zebida February 16, 2012, 4:20 am

      Hey DiTesco ,

      It looks like there is a software for almost everything, many for fake traffic, so probably it’s time to release some plugin to take care of that.

      This reminds me with the war against viruses, interesting stuff 🙂

  • Morgan Barnhart February 15, 2012, 3:21 pm

    I hate to say it, but, I don’t monitor my traffic nearly as much as I should. And if I were to see a spike like that, I would just be happy and not do anything about it. So, THANK YOU for not only pointing this out but telling us how to fix it. I can see why this is hugely detrimental.

    • Hesham Zebida February 16, 2012, 4:24 am

      That’s exactly what happened to me in the first days when I got that fake traffic, it was a sweet dream!

      Practically, I didn’t really provide solution in my post, probably because I wanted to make sure that you guys care for getting this issues solved and have your blogs protected!

      Solutions is almost done, and will be shared soon!

      Thanks Morgan, I appreciate your stop by!

  • Steve February 15, 2012, 10:59 am


    great story, although I am sorry it happened. It is a warning to us all that all traffic is not good. My Bounce rate has been higher than i like for a while now too (though key article individually are fine) I think a lot of this is due to automated traffic. In my case, I think spammers looking for free comments. (that they don’t get).

    But you are so right, not only with everything you said, but it is a potential way to get hit by Google Panda too.

    I am glad you were able to fix it and I hope that anyone thinking of intentionally getting this fake traffic will think twice now. Converting traffic matters… fake traffic can just cause you problems

    • Hesham Zebida February 16, 2012, 4:28 am

      It’s OK Steve, I think this was cool, anyways I would never pay attention to fake traffic if it didn’t happen on my blog!

      Let’s see if this will bring some new plugin that can protect our blogs from these types of attacks!

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I appreciate it.

  • Michael February 15, 2012, 8:14 am

    Hi Hesham, I’m pretty sure much of your troubles would had been taken care of by CloudFlare.com

    Don’t you use ’em? if not, I believe you should, but if you have a good reason why, please let me know and I might reconsider the service myself.


    • Michael February 15, 2012, 8:16 am

      … why do my formatting look like O_o

    • Hesham Zebida February 16, 2012, 5:02 am

      Actually using CloudFlare is a good idea, however I am not quite sure how it would perform regarding the attack I was getting!

      I wish I tested this when I was getting the fake traffic, actually the hit ended couple of days ago!

      Thanks for pointing out to this Michael, it never came into my mind!

  • Barnett February 14, 2012, 8:04 pm

    Thanks for the review…

    I was actually thinking of buying some fake traffic to help my ranking, but seems like in the long run its just a waste!


  • Ryan February 14, 2012, 4:23 pm

    You make excellent points, Hasham and certainly show how persons using “false” and “fake” advertising tactics are ultimately hurting themselves. 🙂

  • mrvoltas February 14, 2012, 9:39 am

    The website/blog is awsm.Just thinking that if all could have same type of author or content then internet would be so much better place to live!

  • RebeccaB February 14, 2012, 9:20 am

    Huh? I have never know that there are fake traffic in the web. (Well I’m still new in this business) Last month a man email me and ask me if I want an instant boost of my website in just a day. Well at the back of my mind that it might be illegal and it might lower my credibility in the net. That’s why I refuse plus the amount of money I need to pay them is too big. But after I have read your post I remember my case last month. Thanks for posting this.

  • Dean Saliba February 14, 2012, 9:08 am

    I wasn’t aware that fake traffic could be used to hurt a blog either. I’m glad to hear you managed to get it sorted out, I will have to keep an eye out for something like this happening to my blog.

    • Hesham Zebida February 16, 2012, 5:05 am

      Hi Dean,

      Yes, I think it’s really important to monitor traffic sources! Thanks for stopping by.

  • Wong Chendong aka The Bad Blogger February 14, 2012, 1:35 am

    I’m not sure about fake traffic, but I’m very sure if the traffic that comes to my blog is a bot or a software it will eventually come to a page where it had to enter a something in order to enter my blog, this page was from Cloudflare.
    I’m not sure if you are using it, if not, you might want to consider subscribing it. I had been using it for a very long time and had no problem in using it.

    • Hesham Zebida February 16, 2012, 5:10 am

      I am not using Cloudflare or any special cloud service at this time, probably I will get my hands dirty with this soon, also I could make use of Clicky that time!

  • Rheumatoid February 14, 2012, 12:34 am

    Thanks Hasham, you really saved me to put fake traffic on my blog. I am agree with all your points that you should never get fake visitors for a profit of some cents. It may be effecting your business. So, do the organic SEO and get real visitors on your site. Thanks.

  • Ayush Agrawal February 13, 2012, 10:56 pm

    That is a really strange way. I also started getting 50% more visits strangely . But it was not fake traffic because it was showing up as search traffic in Google analytics!

    • Hesham Zebida February 16, 2012, 5:12 am

      If you can see from where the traffic is coming and it has a referrer, then that’s a good traffic!

  • Eren Mckay February 13, 2012, 6:32 pm

    Wow Hesham.. I had no idea that someone could do such a thing. thanks for warning us and letting us know what to do if this happens to one of our blogs. Some people are just awful and try to hurt others in any way they can.
    Great post.. tweeting it right now.
    All the best,

    • Hesham Zebida February 16, 2012, 5:13 am

      Bad boys do a lot of mess 🙂

      Thanks for sharing Eren, I appreciate it.

  • Dennis OBrien February 13, 2012, 3:38 pm

    Hello Hesham
    Found your site via the socialmediaexaminer.com “blogging” group 🙂 Interesting post and now you have me wondering about the visits I get with ‘no referring site’ attached to the stats. Not that I get many nor a lot of traffic just yet but worth noting after reading this. As for you questions:

    Do you monitor your traffic sources often? ~ Yes via statcounter.com
    Do you suspect that your blog is getting fake traffic? ~ At times yes
    What if there is a tool that help you check and get rid of fake traffic? Would you be interested in that? ~ When the time comes then most likely I would. Which I gather is related to “some sort of complicated process and checks” 🙂

    Thanks for a great post

    p.s. Nice blog design you have here. Thesis 1.83 is available and well worth the update. The difference in page load on my site is significant.

    • Hesham Zebida February 16, 2012, 5:21 am

      Hi Dennis,

      Really nice to see you here, and getting a comment from you, I must say that the community over socialmediaexaminer is just amazing, and probably the best!

      Thanks for answering my questions, I am working on a new plugin to release soon to take care of this issue!

      For Thesis 1.8.3, not sure if you know about this, but I actually develop for Thesis, I was somehow quite upgrading my skins at ThesisAwesome.com, I did 11 upgrade so far 🙂 However, I haven’t done it on FamousBloggers.net yet, going to do it soon!

      I really appreciate your visit.

  • Dennis February 13, 2012, 3:28 pm

    Man that sucks!! Can’t believe someone would stoop that low to make some sales online..

    I don’t really monitor my traffic like that simply because I am in the beginning days and only get around 100 hits a day.. No one will get much out of me by doing an attack..

    What really gets me is this fake traffic is so freakin’ cheap. I’ve actually bought fake traffic before but I didn’t know it was. I still don’t know that it was.

    The guy had his service on WarriorForum so I suspect it was legit but i used Statcounter.com to check my stats and all traffic was coming from one source but from all over the country.. If I remember correctly, from different browsers.. The business had been around for some years and they had tons of categories to choose from for your niche.

    Didn’t get any conversions though; thats why i believe it was fake traffic..

    I paid for 5k hits and it was only like 10 bucks.. It sucks that a competitor could pay 20 bucks and completely ruin something you work hard to maintain..

    Once I get to a nice substantial amount of traffic I’ll monitor it a little more closely.. Thanks for keeping us informed. Great post…

    • Hesham Zebida February 16, 2012, 5:25 am

      Hi Dennis ,

      Fake traffic is cheap, because it’s “Fake”! So, yes, don’t waste you money!

      Also, it’s just a matter of running a software and leave it to do the job, so it’s not a hard work or anything from that!

      Thanks for sharing the story, I appreciate it.

  • Prithvi February 13, 2012, 3:20 pm

    pretty much. I am really concerned about the traffic i am getting. one reason is , i have lost my adsense account twice and i dont want to take any risk now. I experienced a similar situation some days back, I signed up to a guest post sharing website, and just in a few hours, i got hundreds of posts in pending section of my website as it needs a confirmation from me, before anyone can post there.
    And ofcourse, i would be interested if there is a tool of that kind..
    Anyways thanks for sharing this post.. 🙂

    • Hesham Zebida February 16, 2012, 5:26 am

      Hi Prithvi ,

      Thanks for the comment, I am considering a solution for this to share on the blog soon!

  • Thom February 13, 2012, 11:23 am

    This would be a fantastic tool to have! I would definitely pay for something like this because we always seem to have traffic that is not entirely accurate. I really want to get the data so streamlined so I could track;

    Profit Made

    If this was 100% accurate data it would help alot because there seem to be inconsistencies with analytics. Something even more brilliant would be some software that could check my rankings for each keyword hourly, check the search volume for each keyword and work out my organic CTR for each keyword.. I know this would be a very difficult piece of software to create but I’m sure you will all agree that it would be very useful..

  • Janice February 13, 2012, 9:21 am

    Until today I then know there is something called fake traffic :p Think there are more to learn in order for me to stay in this internet business.

  • Jamie Northrup February 13, 2012, 7:55 am

    I hope the person doing this doesn’t see this post and then start adding referrers and other browsers to their arsenal.

    I’ve never had fake traffic spikes, other than SU, but that’s a whole different type of “fake” traffic.

    • Mohamed Osam February 14, 2012, 2:10 pm

      Black hat tools used in such attacks usually use OLEs/OCX objects to enable certain functionality in their tools. In Windows that’s Internet Explorer APIs. The API will make http requests look like as if they were coming from an IE browser. Therefore, if you experience a jump in your traffic, another simple way to check on whether you are subject to such attack is to see if IE hits are significantly higher than usual. Nevertheless, an experienced hacker would use more advanced techniques to disguise him/herself.

  • Sanjeev February 13, 2012, 7:43 am

    Its really amazing what people can do to get ahead..Glad you are able to track it and resolve the issue.

    These things can be really bad for the stats and SEO, it can hurt bounce rate like anything…Looking forward to see what fix you have applied.

    • Hesham Zebida February 16, 2012, 5:27 am

      Sure Sanjeev , I will be sharing a nice plugin soon!

      Stay tuned!

  • Florin February 13, 2012, 6:57 am

    I don’t know a lot about fake traffic, but after reading your post I’m going to check my stats, just to be sure. It’s a really sneaky way of getting your competition in trouble, because most of them are probably to busy celebrating the extra traffic instead of trying to figure out where it’s coming from. Pretty scary stuff…

  • Andreas Pazer February 13, 2012, 6:25 am

    What some new internet marketers fail to realize is that targeted traffic is the key to success. What I mean by targeted traffic does not necessarily come under the normal expectations of normal visitors viewing you website or landing page. Targeted traffic is defined by real human visitors that already have an interest in the niche you are promoting. That is what targeted traffic really is about. That is where the key of success lies.

  • Pritam February 13, 2012, 1:28 am

    One of the excellent and eye opener article. I never thought our competitors can use the fake traffic methods to lower our ranking. I am a fan of fiverr where people can do much bigger task @ $5 only but yes that can perform such jobs as well.

    • Hesham Zebida February 16, 2012, 5:33 am

      Hi Pritam ,

      That was the only conclusion I came up with!

      I like Fiverr too, I just don’t like the other face of the coin!

  • CynthiaAnn Leighton February 12, 2012, 5:05 pm

    Hesham, thank you for bringing this to light.

    Amazing that someone with the skill to do this would choose to waste their expertise.

    I mean, applying those considerable talents and expertise in a way that would help people would help themselves too. If only by draw more profit, recognition and all that goes with helping more people in more ways.



    • Hesham Zebida February 16, 2012, 5:36 am

      Hi Cynthia,

      You are right, they should focus on taking their competitors down by growing their business!

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I appreciate it.

  • Michele Price February 12, 2012, 4:11 pm

    Reading this makes me mad as hell, I do not have the resources or the time to figure out BS like this, nor would it have ever occurred to me it was fake traffic.

    This sounds so lame, yet here I go, “great, one more thing we have to learn with all the other hats we wear online.”

    I will go workout then breath deep and ask better questions. Right now I just need to honor my being pissed that folks can’t do their OWN WORK.

    • Hesham Zebida February 16, 2012, 5:41 am

      I hope you feel better now 🙂

      I think problems like theses are a good challenge, what happened is not that bad, it actually inspired me!

      Probably this is a birth of a new WordPress plugin!

  • doug_eike February 12, 2012, 12:05 pm

    Interesting problem, and one that I hope never happens to my blog. If the attackers spent as much time working on improving their blog as they did on attacking yours, they probably would have accomplished more. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  • Louisa February 12, 2012, 11:36 am

    Hi Hesham, this is a really interesting post as I have always wondered how those ‘buy traffic gigs’ worked on fiverr but figured it was not a good idea.

    Just thought I’d add something to do with not fake traffic but low quality traffic. I recently bought a plugin/system that automatically social bookmarks new posts to various social bookmarking accounts I own. This caused an increase in traffic but a Decrease in my conversion clickthru rate on adsense, and I got smart priced! (where click value goes down to things like 5p a click when previously it had been much higher)

    After some research I realised it was probably the plugins so I disabled them, and now about 2 weeks later my cpc has increased dramatically, so a word of warning, don’t overdo socialbookmarking on adsense pages or any other pages where you want a good clickthru rate, since these users do not convert well!


    • Hesham Zebida February 16, 2012, 5:43 am

      Ah, of course, social traffic has a lower conversion rate than organic traffic, also it won’t last for long, that makes search traffic the best!

      Thanks for the advice, I appreciate it.

  • Sherryl Perry February 12, 2012, 10:47 am

    Having to deal with this issue is such a complete waste of your time Hesham. You could be accomplishing so much if you didn’t have to handle fake traffic. Thankfully, you’re savvy enough to recognize what was going on. Thanks so much for sharing your experience with us. I’m bookmarking this just in case either I or someone I know encounters this. Best of luck resolving it.

    • Hesham Zebida February 16, 2012, 5:54 am

      Yes, you are right Sherryl , that was a totally time wasting, but let’s look into the bright side! It maybe bring some nice stuff latter 🙂 Hopefully!

  • Gerald Weber February 12, 2012, 9:37 am

    This sounds like a craziness Hesham.

    It definitely sounds to me like someone is trying to sabotage your rankings or bouncerate or something.

    Some people just can’t take it when others are successful I guess. I’m glad you found a solution to the problem.

    • Hesham Zebida February 16, 2012, 5:57 am

      You are right buddy, the cool thing is it has been takes care, finally the hit ended a couple of days ago!

  • rohit kothari February 12, 2012, 6:54 am

    ohh man i really don’t know about fake traffic thanks for the post to make me aware of it and Famousbloggers is really becoming a brand and when things became brand, automatically enemy and competitors increase those who are doing this have to spend that time on increasing their website traffic not to use black hat traffic that doing simply answered their ability why they are behind. have to check my static regularly now .

    • Hesham Zebida February 16, 2012, 6:32 am

      Thanks Rohit, you are right, and glad you see things this way!

  • Mitz Pantic February 12, 2012, 5:28 am

    Oh no! That sucks! Someone could easily do this..Maybe your new plugin is better or cheaper or free? Maybe they hate the fact that the star ratings show in Google search results.. That is a big one!

    I watch my traffic all the time as once I got hit with a flood of traffic from a junk keyword,.. All the traffic was not targeted and I made no real sales from it.. It was truly as bad as fake traffic..

    Also another time I went from 10k visits a day to 14k.. That is impossible as I know how long it took me to get to 10k.. It turned out to be the Linkwithin plugin. Each time someone clicked on the linkwithin pictures it counted as a new visit.

    • Hesham Zebida February 16, 2012, 6:44 am

      Hey Mitz,

      Maybe, everything is possible, however we’ll never know the real thing!

      I see, I know what you mean by getting traffic from junk keyword, this happen to me almost every month once, and I hate it!

      It’s really interesting to discover what could cause an increase in traffic, and it it’s real or not, useful or what!

      Thanks for sharing your experience, I really appreciate it.

  • Kunal February 12, 2012, 3:53 am

    Anyone getting huge traffic would hardly had analyzed the cause. But you did. You recovered in a cunning way to auto hitting spam traffic. Great!
    Fake traffic can give you good alexa ranking but not reputation from Google. One should know this who tries to get paid traffic.

    • Hesham Zebida February 16, 2012, 6:48 am

      I am not getting huge traffic or anything, really!

      mmm… I don’t recommend fake traffic, even this could increase your Alexa’s rank, it’s just worthless!

  • David February 12, 2012, 2:40 am

    Hmm… I must say on some of my sites I see spikes in unexplained traffic but it’s usually Direct or Referrals and also from India or Eastern Europe. As each day moves along the discussion of block IP ranges by geography because more likely and this reduces the chances that this type of Fake Traffic issue will happen to them.

    Optional Issues
    It could also be a bot or crawler that has got stuck in a redirect loop, I would check bot traffic to the site and also the type of traffic it is requesting such as images, pdfs, html.

    There is the obvious strain on your resources, spike up your webhosting costs and impact the conversion rates as your site slows down due to traffic spikes. This is also an issue with affiliate programs where they might also throw you out due to fraudulent clicks, so it’s not just advertisers that might get a little upset with fake traffic.

    • Hesham Zebida February 12, 2012, 3:13 am

      Hi David,

      The spikes you are getting looks like normal traffic, nothing wrong in it if it has a referrer, and you know from where it’s coming, thus you can control it!

      Thanks for the hint, however the traffic I am getting doesn’t do any requests, and I am almost sure how they generate it.

      I appreciate your input.

      • David February 12, 2012, 3:23 am

        I would love to be able to offer some more specific guidance, you could also look at setting up an automated Google Analytics alert if this type of traffic starts flowing in you get notified and can start to react. You might need to use server side web stats to pickup the IP address as GA strips that out.

        Have you tested any of the popular free traffic programs to understand how they work to block them ie “user agent”.

        Could it also be a particular sponsor of affiliate looking to drive more traffic from a particular post?

        • Hesham Zebida February 12, 2012, 3:47 am

          It looks like you know too much 🙂

          I haven’t tested any of those programs, but I watched their video demos and reviews, it’s so clear that this traffic is generated by one of those programs which runs on Windows, and I am pretty sure they are using the IE object to send the traffic, this explains the no referrer. The visit last only 10 seconds on site made me suspect its goal!

          There is no click, no converting, absolutely nothing, that’s why I think no affiliate or sponsor would do that!

          P.S. I think you should write something on how to indicate fake traffic, that would be interesting!

  • Chiranjeev February 12, 2012, 1:37 am

    Great information about bewaring from such a fake traffic statistics. Though I have once caught by these activities.
    Thanks for sharing this information.

  • Kimberly Gauthier February 11, 2012, 11:19 pm

    And… continued….

    I wouldn’t know what to do if this happened to me; blogging gets unnecessarily complicated when people resort to games like this.

  • Kimberly Gauthier February 11, 2012, 11:16 pm

    I love the idea of exposing my blog or Facebook page to a new audience, but learned that I have to be choosy. There’s Fiverr, there’s blog hops, there’s contests/giveaways. But are people liking my pages, because they’re interested in photography, blogging, or dogs?

    It’s hit and miss and something that people sometimes have to learn the hard way, because it seems like such an easy, quick solution; but it’s not always worth risking being penalized for spamming people. So I’m careful about the methods I choose that are outside of organic growth.

  • Ming February 11, 2012, 8:42 pm


    I’m aware of the fake traffic, which are quite popular in Fiverr. However, I never thought about someone can use the fake traffic to hurt the competitor’s sites. This is terrible…Glad to know that you sort out the issue. To me, it does not make sense to revenge after you release the author review plugin…Strange…

    By the way, the plugin works great on my site. Is there any way to change the width of the display of information? Thanks for the great job.


    • Hesham Zebida February 12, 2012, 3:02 am

      Hi Ming,

      I don’t really want to connect this with the reviews plugin, it doesn’t make sense to me as well, but the traffic is targeting 3 of my reviews posts, that’s why I think it’s made by some competitor.

      P.S. Yes, you can change the width. There is a setting page for the plugin, find it under WP settings.

  • Carla Easley February 11, 2012, 5:33 pm

    I think that it’s really sad that someone would be so low to try to get someone’s Adsense banned by sending fake traffic to their competitors. What exactly did you do to resolve your issue? I would like to be prepared if anything like this happens to me.

    • Hesham Zebida February 12, 2012, 3:20 am

      You see, this post is not really about how I did it, however I will share this as soon as I can (not in a comment), and of course if I see that more people are interested to discover whither their blogs are getting fake traffic or not!

  • James February 11, 2012, 5:28 pm

    Great article, I get fake traffic too, and I hate when I see that main source of my traffic is some spammy websites that are connected to affiliate sales.
    I had to stop using awstats in my cpanel because of fake traffic.
    I found the way of blocking some ip addresses but that’s not permanent solution.
    And yes I would be interested in tool that could get rid off fake traffic, of course without hurting real people and loyal visitors.

    • Hesham Zebida February 11, 2012, 5:53 pm

      Hi James,

      The whole idea of blocking bad traffic is to find a pattern so you can deal with it, some attacks are really annoying because they don’t have a clear pattern.

      Thanks for being interested in this, probably I can get some code ready to share soon!

  • Holly Jahangiri February 11, 2012, 3:50 pm

    I hate reading things like this, Hesham. It really leaves me thinking negative thoughts about some of the “people” we share the planet with. But I’m so glad your friend Mo was able to help you sort it out. If only there was a good way to STOP it! I guess these folks study Texas fireants for ideas on how to be annoying, destructive, useless wastes of breath and bandwidth, don’t they? 🙂

    • Hesham Zebida February 11, 2012, 5:49 pm

      Well.. Holly, I hate writing stuff like this 🙂 Maybe because it’s an output of a problem, and I usually suffer when I write this type of posts, but without this type of problem, we won’t know what’s really happening! It’s good motivation, and at least it gives me an idea that could benefit or protect a fellow blogger.

      Mo has been a great help, I wouldn’t do it without his support.

      Nah! Texans are cool people 🙂

      • Holly Jahangiri February 11, 2012, 5:52 pm

        Oh, you thought I was talking about the PEOPLE? Have you managed to avoid the fire ants so far, then? LOL Better get some meat tenderizer and keep on hand, just in case. That wasn’t a joke.

        • Hesham Zebida February 11, 2012, 5:58 pm

          Oh, I got it now!

          Thanks for the reminder, yeah I remember the fire ants from last year, we are prepared though 🙂

  • Mark February 11, 2012, 3:17 pm

    Honestly, i haven’t heard of the concept of fake traffic before. I believe that anyone who lack the lack the intellectual ability to compete will do anything to hurt you. Thanks for clarifying this Hesham. From now on, i should be monitoring my traffic sources more carefully.

    M Mark

  • Mark February 11, 2012, 2:42 pm

    Hey Hesham,

    Actually, this has happened to me before and it is not cool.

    Fortunately for me, all of the traffic was coming from one IP, so I just bounced them to Google and it stopped.

    Just curious, how many IPs are we talking? Have there been any repeats?


    • Hesham Zebida February 11, 2012, 4:58 pm

      Lucky you, in my case we are talking about new IP for every single new visit.

      I am getting the worst attack ever!

  • jimmy February 11, 2012, 2:11 pm

    It tried a similar thing last year, where my traffic rose from about 2.5k hits to 16k hits overnight.
    After some digging I found the problem, it was the facebook plugin that did it somehow created a false landingpage that was the source for all the traffic.
    The page had this in the url field “fb_xd_fragment=”.

    After deleting the plugin for few days, the problem was gone. To this day I haven’t figured out what the he.. happen’t

    Regarding your questions then

    1: Yes every day
    2: No not really, maybe, don’t know :s
    3: Just say where I can get it.!

    • Hesham Zebida February 11, 2012, 5:44 pm

      Thanks for your input Jimmy, glad to know you care for your blog traffic, and trying to keep it fake traffic free!

      It will be interesting to do a test on your blog to see if you are getting any type of fake traffic. Will let you know if I can come up with some code for you to do the test.

      • jimmy February 12, 2012, 10:47 am

        I look forward to it.!

        And I hope you find the person or persons that are sending the fake traffic to the blog. There is nothing worse than ppl you for some reason think it’s funny to hack, send fake traffic and so on.! 🙁

        Btw have to tried to contact fiverr, to get them to check if there has been any deals on sending traffic to blog.?

        • Hesham Zebida February 16, 2012, 6:52 am

          mmm.. No, I never thought about contacting them, simply because I am not sure whither it was a gig on their site or not, so I don’t really want to bother them with that!

          However, they are cool, they responded nicely to my request the other day when hunted someone who was offering some of my designs on their site.

  • Saket Jajodia February 11, 2012, 1:22 pm

    Thanks a lot for this info.. one of my friend did on my blog just to show he can bring traffic on my blog and I actually got most PV ever that day but I didn’t knew that its fake traffic and it can be such..!! Really Thanks a lot Hesham..!! 🙂

    • Hesham Zebida February 11, 2012, 5:38 pm

      Hi Saket.

      You really don’t need this type of traffic, I hope you got it now!

      • Saket Jajodia February 12, 2012, 2:14 am

        Yes, totally, I am never again will ask also anyone to give me such traffic..!! Thanks once again..!! 🙂

  • techtikus February 11, 2012, 11:16 am

    That’s just plain wrong. It seems people will go to great lengths up to even shelling out money to buy fake traffic to bring down another person’s blog. I sincerely wish that the fake bot visits don’t last too long.

  • Dave Lucas February 11, 2012, 10:20 am

    Hi Hesham!

    There is a bot out there that hit my blog last week. I also got notified that someone had been trying to log into my google and facebook accounts. I’ve also seen a tenfold increase in junk spam comments, but I can nip those in the bud so they never see light of day on my blog.

    This all could be part of an organized attack by the bot community – who now know that some powerbloggers (like me and Ana) have gotten wind of their black hat techniques

    Here’s a tip to get some genuine traffic ::: find between 5 and 10 great blogs that YOU really enjoy reading and interacting with. MAKE THOSE BLOGS YOUR BLOGROLL.

    With the new tools available via blogger (and I think WordPress has some too)_ you will be able to check right from your blog when you’re favorites have updated. You’ll be able to go there and comment, and they may even return the favor! (Especially if they get a little bump of real human traffic from your site!)

    Blog ON – and let us bloggers stick together through this!

  • Ryan Biddulph February 11, 2012, 10:14 am

    Hi Hesham,

    People who intentionally do this to you do not realize karma is a real problem. What you dish out comes back to you in some way, shape or form.

    Thanks for sharing with us.


    • Hesham Zebida February 11, 2012, 5:15 pm

      Hey Ryan,

      Some people just don’t like to play fair because they simply can’t 🙂

  • Natalie February 11, 2012, 9:24 am

    OMG – so glad I read this post. This was happening to me last month but by a company called Easy Hits. My bounce rate was going through the roof. Someone had signed up to there with my site. I had to prove to Easy Hits that I was the owner of my own site to get them to disable the account. Funny how it happened just after I installed Google ads.

    • Hesham Zebida February 11, 2012, 5:12 pm

      Hi Natalie,

      It seems that this person really like your blog 🙂

      By the way, I read somewhere that we do signup to websites, and just forgot we did, fox example when we test stuff, so there is a possibility that I’ve registered to a few sites a year ago, and I forgot I did. We also have to pay attention to that.

      The internet never been a safe place!

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your story.

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