co When Is A Follower Not A Follower? When It's A Bot |

Have you ever opened a gift that really wasn’t all that great? It was a filler — something that made your pile of presents look bigger than it actually was. This time of year is legendary for gifts being returned because it happens to all of us. The pressure to give what looks like a lot of gifts makes it tempting to give some real junk. (Kids are excluded from this rule by reason of being a child. They can give all the junk they come up with, bless their little hearts.)

That’s Not A Person — It’s An Impersonator!

For site owners, bloggers, and the like there is a similar scenario. For site traffic, the junk-present analogy looks like followers or visitors, but some of those “people” are impersonator bots. In fact, Incapsula’s 2014 Bot Traffic Report says that 56% of all web traffic is bots. Here are some other numbers from the report:

  • for most websites, bots are 63%-80% of the traffic
  • there are good bots (27%) and bad bots (29%)
  • small sites (1,000 visitors/day) get hit the hardest at 80.3% bot traffic
  • medium sites (10,000 visitors/day) see 63.2% bots
  • large sites (100,000 visitors/day) see 56.2% bots
  • no matter what size your site is, about a third of your visitors are bad bots
  • bad bots are impersonators, hacking tools, scrapers, and spammers
  • impersonator bots are the only group to consistently grow in the last three years

What’s So Bad About Impersonator Bots?

Impersonator bots, according to Incapsula, “are the most advanced, malicious non-humans”. On a side note, their infographic makes the impersonator bot look like Darth Vader. The risk to a site is high because these bots are designed to do considerable damage to all websites by data theft, site/server hijacking, downtime, and degradation of service.

Incapsula uses their studies to figure out how to identify whether or not a visitor is a person or a bot by asking “who are you” and “why are you here” evaluation questions. Not all bots are bad, remember. It’s important to know the difference.

Small Business Mavericks has discussed the subject of bots for years because bots are part of the Internet and always will be. It’s good to keep that fact in mind when looking at your visitor numbers for analysis — we have to go past the quantity to the quality of each one.