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2014: The Age of the Bots

Traffic company Incapsula, Inc, analyzes bots onlines and its effect on internet traffic. One thing is sure advertisers don't want them.

Traffic company Incapsula, Inc, analyzes bots onlines and its effect on internet traffic. One thing is sure advertisers don’t want them.

According to a recent estimate by online traffic tracking company, Incapsula, upwards of 61% of the total website traffic on the planet is fake. That’s right. Fake. Fraudulent. Bogus. Thanks to a wide network of zombie computers, botnets and compromised websites. It has become increasingly difficult to tell real traffic from fake traffic.

Of course, at the end of the day, it’s very easy to tell whether a traffic was fake or not. Fake traffic don’t have credit cards. Fake bots don’t buy stuff. They click on ads, they mirror online activity, they even mirror social sharing and social media activity but, at the end of the day, they don’t whip out a credit card and put money in your pocket. Only real people can do that and that’s why, the fact that over 61% of all web traffic is fake should be alarming to any serious online entrepreneur. What account for this fake traffic? One way to read this high percentage is to read it as innocuous. Incapsula’s data tracks all bot activity. In other words, it looks at the totality of all situations where software is used and generates traffic because of such a broad definition of broad traffic. Incapsula admits that 30% of this volume “fake traffic” is actually from good bots. In other words, Incapsula counted the bot traffic created when Facebook, Google and other search engines or social media sites crawl other websites. If you take that out of the equation, you could see that the total web traffic from nefarious sources like scrapers, hacking tools, spammers, impersonators, actually form the minority of web traffic. Be that as it may, its still a large chunk because a big portion of this traffic is dubbed “other impersonators,” its share is 20.5% which indicates 8% rise from the previous year. Other impersonators includes bots with hostile intentions.

So all told, this should be quite alarming for anyone running advertising campaigns. If they should focus on getting maximum ROI, instead of getting blindsided by traffic surges or ad clicks, they should focus on one thing and one thing alone, return on investment.

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