I’m really tired of all the net parasites that visit my website on a daily basis. You might know them as bots or webcrawlers but somehow parasites fits. I’ve mentioned before that the number of bots my site receives far exceeds the number of visitors.  On a typical day my site receives about 10 visitors that will actually read any of my posts. It will also be visited by about 150 bots.

I didn’t want to write this. At best it comes across as a whine and only provides minimal advice to someone starting a website. I only hope that by writing this I will be able to let it go and move on. I know better but it’s what I do.

In case you don’t know what bots are, bots are typically automated webcrawlers that are scanning websites for images or content. Not all bots are bad.  Google uses bots to scan my site frequently. I welcome them because in return they frequently send people to my site. Of those ten people that visit my site, eight were probably sent by Google.

Google only accounts for a small percentage of my automated visitors. I see bots from Bing, MSN, Russia, China and a dozen other regular sites.  With all this scanning, I would expect to see visitors directed to me by those sites. It just doesn’t happen. Less than one percent of the live traffic that comes to my site comes from a search engine other than Google.

So exactly what are the other 140 bots doing? Certainly nothing that benefits my site. At one time I saw nothing wrong with these visitors. They don’t use enough bandwidth to slow down my site and my ultimate goal was to have people read my blog. Then I started looking into this question.

Some of these bots exist only to leave comments promoting other websites. That’s one of the reasons I ask for a name and email address before you can leave a comment.  I was having to delete 10 to 20 comments a day that had nothing to do with my posts.

And the rest? Quoting  one of them “the largest index of live links and the best tool to spy on your competitors’ actual keywords.”  Why in the world would I want them crawling my site? At least these people are being honest about their motives. There are other bot herders that don’t even have a web presence. I have no idea what they intend to do with the information they extract but it does nothing to improve my site or increase my audience.

Finally there are those few bots trying to hack into my website. I’ve mentioned the TimThumb exploit a few times. On a regular basis, I’ll see a number of bots trying to infect my site with the latest version of the TimThumb exploit.  The first time this happened to me, I only had two visitors. Now every time there’s a new version of the exploit I’ll see 20 or 30 different bots trying to infect my site.

Log file showing TimThumb bots

As a matter of pure speculation I have to wonder how this works. There can’t be that many sites still running  TimThumb. They would already be infected. Is it the last man that infects the site takes it over? What would happen to my site if they did manage to infect the site? I know there are a number of abandoned websites out there. Is this their target?

Finally as a last insult, about once a week someone tries to log into my website as “admin”. They run through a dictionary of words until they get kicked off for exceeding the allowed number of bad password attempts.  Somehow  this seems like someone walking down the street and trying every door “just to see if it’s unlocked.”.  There doesn’t seem to be any laws against this kind of behavior on the Internet.  I know what would happen to someone trying everyone’s doors in Texas.  There are websites that I can report this to but since I see reports almost a year old on IP addresses that have just tried to log into my site, I have to assume that such reports are useless.

The amazing part about this technique is that it apparently works. When I started this blog, I knew nothing about running a website, WordPress, or blogging. What I did know was that you never leave an account name as “Admin” and your password should not be something that comes off a list of common passwords.

My current  Audible book is “The 48 Laws of Power” by Robert Greene (thanks for the suggestion Rena). I believe it’s law five that says all attention can be good. Somehow I don’t believe that law applies to Internet parasites.

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