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Strange traffic sources

look suspicious but not sure

     
4:42 pm on Oct 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I have one affiliate whose conversions are really poor but he brings a lot of traffic.

I see almost all the traffic comes from searches pages like *somesite.com/search.php and there is nothing from his own site.

Could someone give me some insight into what is going on here as it is costing us lot of bandwidth. If I need to take an action, I need to have some solid reasons.

[edited by: eljefe3 at 4:01 am (utc) on Oct. 7, 2006]

7:19 pm on Oct 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Are you paying by conversion? If so, you probably don't have TOO much to worry about (besides the costs of bandwidth).

If your paying per visitor, you could have more of a problem.

While it's foolish to jump to conclusions with such little data, the quality of the search pages seems to suggest that he could be using clickbots and/or PTR (pay-to-read) networks to generate the traffic. I find it laughable that some of the search pages don't even seem to work.

If you have a standard line about fraudulent clicks in your affiliate agreement, you might be able to throw him out on that, but I'd do some more digging through your logs to assess the behavior of his referrals.

If they're spending time on the site (say, more than 5 or 6 seconds), he may be referring real live people that just aren't converting. If, however, the visitors are spending only a few seconds on a page (and not browsing around), you may be dealing with something more fishy.

There was a good article in Business Week a few weeks ago regarding this topic if you want to find out more: [businessweek.com...]

EDIT: Forgot to mention that I'd check the country origins too. If you're getting a lot of clicks from outside the US/UK (or wherever you get most of your referrals), it definitely raises a red flag.

[edited by: BriGuy20 at 7:24 pm (utc) on Oct. 6, 2006]