One of my sites has an affiliate link with my unique webmaster ID in it. The site has had affiliate links for years so no problems there. I noticed last week that the stats for that link had shot up, whilst traffic to the website stayed the same.
Literally tens of thousands of clicks a day are going through to this link and though they pass no referrer to the affiliate stats area, one or two have slipped through.
It appears that there is a spam campaign aimed directly at making my link look spammy. There doesn't appear to be any other reason for it. MySpace pages, whole domains and domains with /randomtext/randompage.html have been generated all over the place, all redirecting to that link. I don't think much of it's actually being seen by surfers as there appears to be a lot of references to .jpgs like it's being used as an image source (which also redirects).
I am wondering how intelligent Google is at knowing that I was first to place that link and that my site has a history of decent standing. It seems very sudden, organised and rather black hat - which to me implies experience that these things work.
Anyone experienced anything similar?