JS_Harris - 12:11 am on Aug 4, 2013 (gmt 0)
Problem: my site is receiving sudden spurts of direct traffic every 1-2 days and sometimes more than once per day. This has been going on for 3 weeks now though I only started to dig in to analytics and log files on Thursday. What I found:
- 130 to 390 direct bot visits, all to the index page with a 100% bounce rate within a few seconds of each other
But that's where this gets hard to track, the following is a breakdown of other signals
- 60% mobile, 40% desktop
- 13 to 17 visits in groups from the same city within 4 seconds, 100% bounce
- No more than 3 sightings of the same IP address
- No more than 5 visits from any one browser/OS
- User agents are equally varied
- Visit groupings come from various countries including the U.S., China, Russia, the U.K and Australia
- The same thing happens each time but the IPs are always different, as are user agents on browser/OS and the cities change 80% of the time as well
- Only a handful of referrers have been provided, 14 in total over 3 weeks
Technical site difficulties ruled out
- This has been going on for 3 weeks
- all of the cities/browsers/OS have normal non-bot traffic as well
- Host has confirmed odd traffic pattern, assures site is running optimally on their end.
- A close look at server logs shows that when a page fully renders the visitor reloads the page with a diffent browser/OS but same IP, repeated x3
One of the referrers yesterday tipped me off to look for an image service, namely a thumbnail service and I found what I believe to be the cause. A site is offering to test websites on 160+ different browsers from desktop and mobile devices to provide a detailed compatibility report.
Apparently the owner doesn't realize that the urls his/her site is creating can be followed by others and each time a new set of tests is run on my site. The results are public, anyone visiting the url triggers more testing OR the service is updating their records frequently, or both.
Problem - since I have no real piece of information to lock onto with the visits themselves I am not sure how to block this service. I checked adsense today and waited with the analytics live feature and sure enough even adsense spikes by roughly the same amount of visits.
100% bounce rate, false impressions in adsense, this service has got to stop hitting my site asap. Suggestions of a non-legal nature? If I can shut it out with htaccess that would be ideal... but how?