Referrer spam

Wednesday 13 November 2002

OK, so spam emails are horrible, we all agree about that. There's also been spam in other channels: snail mail, fax, instant messaging. Now comes the latest: referrer spam. This is where spammers visit your website and claim the referring URL is their scuzzy site, so your server logs record their URL as a referrer. Then if you're looking at your referrer logs to see who's linking to you, you look up their site. I've gotten some of these bogus referrers that also set the referrer to a Google search for the spam site, so the site name also appears in the list of search terms that the log reports (such as Analog) show.

What I've never understood is how these people can respect themselves. The email spammers can at least work really hard at deluding themselves into thinking that they are simply telling the world about their product. But how can you set out to write bogus referrers and not see that you are being a sleaze-ball?

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