Almost 40% Of Web Traffic Is From Bots
Do you remember how every video, blog, and beloved internet comedy institution used to have a view counter, but most have been removed -- to the point where even YouTube is now leery of them? There were many reasons for their decline, but chief among them is that as of 2018, 37.9% of internet traffic was coming from bots.
That was further broken down into 17.5% "good" bots -- those that index search engines, archive pages, and scrape travel sites for price trends so you can finally take that trip to Ohio, beautiful Ohio -- and 20.4% bad bots. In addition to using foul language and smoking e-cigarettes, bad bots are responsible for DDoS attacks (bringing a site down by overwhelming it with requests), data manipulation, the endless churn of bullshit news articles, and much more of what you find obnoxious about the web.
Via The Next WebWith this new information about our readership, we've decided to tailor more content to our bot audience. That said:
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One of their favorite targets are ticket sites, as bots will rush to snatch up tickets for re-sellers to offer at inflated prices. Government targets are also common, especially voter registration pages, because why make a strong case for your candidate when you can just fuck over the other guy? And then, of course, there are the fake views.
In November 2018, eight people were accused of bilking advertisers out of $36 million by running "empty websites" for bots. Sellers were made to think that their ads were racking up views on big sites like The Economist, but they were in truth only rattling around server farms. At its peak, the operation was using over a million IP addresses and a grab bag of tricks, like fake mouse movements, to make the ad impressions look human. Schemes like that are one of many reasons the internet economy is a shambling mess, but let's move on to Instagram.
Fake Instagram Followers Are Costing Brands Money, But Helping Celebrities Cash In
Like most of what's made for kids these days, Instagram is mocked as a frivolous pursuit while also powering an industry worth billions of dollars. And so the platform is home to 95-million-and-counting fake accounts, which are often used to pad the follow numbers of everyone from celebrities and influencers to small businesses. You don't necessarily need tons of them to have an impact. The cafe with 2,000 followers is probably better than the one down the street that only has 1,100, right?