The bot may have well been there a lot longer.
I have only started monitoring things closely after a video/chat site I built for a client became hugely popular and my upstream provider hit me with a big bandwidth bill ;) Turned out a small percentage of users were online 24/7, with multiple connections, etc... While analyzing that traffic, I also saw a huge amount of scraping going on. With the help of WebmasterWorld members I've been cutting down unwanted access ever since. As you can see, bots from ThePlanet were already receiving 403 responses.
In the meantime, some friends and I have developed the "widget" sites. Only a few are actively being worked on, but each of us regularly acquires new widget domains for possible future use. In our vertical, the owners of a comparable property just sold out to a large corporation and another company had a successful IPO. That should explain why I'm really interested in finding out the motivation behind this sudden interest for widgets...
@enigma1: yes, visitors with questionable behavior often live in the same net neighborhoods.
@thetrasher: I'll take a look at the registration data for these domains to see if I can find a pattern - very helpful, thanks!
@wilderness: without a doubt. I have blocks set on various UA's and other header info.
The question still remains, is it time to put a few bottles of bubbly in the fridge or should we retain counsel?