Web stats spam

It’s been a long time since anyone I know posted a list of the phrases people put into search engines to get to their site. In my case, the most common phrase is simply “indigo jo”, but there are fair amount of searches for things related to Qt (the programming toolkit, not Long Qt Syndrome), various Islamic topics and ME. Interestingly, the third most used phrase is “shaun jenkins”, the former headmaster convicted of murdering his step-daughter Billie-Jo, and subsequently freed on appeal. I’m surprised that when people tapped in “cardiac hill aberystwyth”, my entry A Sentimental Journey from April 2007 was the first one that came up.

However, I am always most keen to see my referrer lists, to see who’s linking to my site, and lately I’ve noticed that these statistics are being filled up with sites which obviously have nothing to do with mine and had no reason to link to it. The past few months I’ve noticed that most of the sites which appear in my referrer lists (i.e. the lists of where people had supposedly found the link to my site and clicked it) are the same kind of sites which commonly appear in email spam, i.e. a lot of sites advertising stuff, and particularly dodgy and sleazy stuff.

I hope the people behind Awstats (the stats program my web host uses) find a way of distinguishing fake referrals from real ones, because my lists are becoming next to useless. My lists are private, but a lot of people make their stats public and I guess that’s the problem: it’s a way for these sites to get free advertising, up their Google ratings and so on. Surely those who develop public stats display software should employ spam filtering or Nofollow, so that there is no motivation to post false referrals.

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