Why am I getting hits from poker sites?
April 19, 2005 4:26 PM   Subscribe

In the "links from external pages" section of my blog's statistics, I'm getting hits from a lot of different poker websites. They don't seem to actually be linking to me, though. Is this some sort of strange spam thing? What is going on?
posted by buriednexttoyou to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
It's known as "referer spam".
posted by majick at 4:29 PM on April 19, 2005

Yes. It's referrer-log spamming. The scumbags are trying to take advantage of the fact that some people publish "linked-from" data on their blogs and the like, and build some google-juice this way.

Like cockroaches, there is no nook or cranny they won't try to wiggle into.
posted by adamrice at 4:31 PM on April 19, 2005

Response by poster: Ok, so how do I stop/filter them?
posted by buriednexttoyou at 4:35 PM on April 19, 2005

buriednexttoyou writes "Ok, so how do I stop/filter them?"

Well, either don't publish your referrer log, or filter it before you do publish it.

To filter it, just use grep -v:

grep -v "poker.com" your.referer.log.file | grep -v "anothercasino.com" > filtered.log.file

if your log file is "your.referer.log.file", after running this you have a new file called "filtered.log.file" that doesn't contain any line with "poker.com" or "anothercasino.com" in it.
posted by orthogonality at 4:51 PM on April 19, 2005

I used to put a lot of effort into finding referer spam, but ultimately I gave up. They've gotten very smart about spoofing user agents, using multiple IPs, hitting reasonable URLs, etc. The only recourse I see now is actually fetching the referring page and verifying it contains a link to your site. That's too much work. A collaborative solution would probably also do it, but again, too much work.

BTW, the #1 culprit in referal spam is a Windows app called Reffy. Bastard baked my blog's URL into his app that he sells to people, so I get a lot of this junk.
posted by Nelson at 5:33 PM on April 19, 2005

I stop them at the htaccess page. Requests that contain referer spam keywords or known referer spam sites get a 403 (access forbidden) error. It has been very effective, and there are only a few false positives. I'm willing to share my htaccess file. Just contact me.
posted by neuroshred at 6:16 PM on April 19, 2005

After giving up a half a gig a day in bandwidth to this I switched my blog from b2Evolution to WordPress. I was spending entirely too much time adding to my filters. It has made a huge difference.
posted by geekyguy at 8:21 PM on April 19, 2005

How do you make sure you referer log isn't published?

Most hosting packages come with AWSTATS, etc.

What do I need to do to make sure it's not visible?
posted by zymurgy at 1:25 PM on April 20, 2005

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