Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 3.81.28.94

Forum Moderators: Robert Charlton & goodroi

Message Too Old, No Replies

Websites Affected By Zombie Traffic - Observations & Analysis

     
9:52 pm on Jan 28, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Feb 6, 2005
posts:1858
votes: 106


I wish this thread to focus on latest observations and analysis of WebmasterWorld members who do believe that their website(s) are negatively affected by the so called Zombie Traffic.

A friendly remark: If you want to talk about PPC issues please head over to Google Adwords forum [webmasterworld.com...]
If you want to talk about Google business decisions please head over to the Google Business & Finance forum [webmasterworld.com...]
If you want to vent some frustration then head over to Foo [webmasterworld.com...]
5:35 am on Feb 13, 2017 (gmt 0)

New User

joined:Feb 13, 2017
posts: 14
votes: 4


glakes
11:20 pm on Feb 12, 2017 (gmt 0)
@NickMNS

Conversions from Google traffic fell sharply the last week of September of 2015. Then for about a year I would see three or four zombie days a week. These days its more like six or seven zombie days a week. On a good non-zombie day, traffic would convert comparably to Bing / Yahoo and Google's pre-zombie days. Total Google traffic has steadily risen since 9/2015 while their traffic quality has gotten worse. Ranks for buyer keywords have remained steady during this time with no new competition,


==================================
Exactly my experience... Can't get Googs to admit/understand the issue, yet they do know all about it. Alternative ad networks will appear and become popular. B to B old fashioned lists, Mailings in snail mail, and even paper phone books will be back. The casual users are not as aware of the decrease in quality & etc.. but as they say.. bad news travels fast!
Note that personal searches have also markedly decreased in quality & scope. Only a few 'preferred' distributors/sources are allowed, and the rest is gobbldy-gook & endless repetition. Far Far different to 2011 & before.
6:49 am on Feb 13, 2017 (gmt 0)

New User

joined:Feb 13, 2017
posts: 14
votes: 4


Mobile zombies
Google is focusing on mobile phones more, and more people are using them as their main internet access. Add auto correct to the mix, and the fact that mobile usage -decreases- a user's internet literacy, because, like twitter, transmitted/received info is very limited.
Its easy to see how a real person on a smartfone would act like [logs] a zombie. AND cause a zombie plague without knowing.

Here is where i found most of the 'zombies'....
I discovered that AAPL & Android have their own built in search apps/bots, as does F-book. These bots will take an accidental click or possibly an impression and keep searching it endlessly without further user input. Being # 1 on search results could get you on thousands of smartfones, and botted like mad. These search bots will dig up paid ads and click them. I decided to ban my ads showing to mobile traffic, because it is so low in quality & the weird poorly programmed bots they have.
12:09 pm on Feb 13, 2017 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 15, 2004
posts: 593
votes: 106


@jstacat

Mystery is why is real human traffic disappearing for hours if not days when zombies are taking over, who is behind this in reality? I mean webmasters are not stupid even a child can spot this anomaly.
4:18 pm on Feb 13, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 1, 2016
posts: 2662
votes: 794


@jstacat can you please explain are you an Adsense Publisher, or an Adwords Customer and ecommerce site?

@glakes
Here are few quote that I am going to refer to
Gross product sales increased 147.65% in 2016 from 2015 sales. Much of this growth is the result of supplying product to OEMs and also to wholesalers.

I've mentioned it before, but I'm in a very small industry. Most here probably don't even know my industry exists, and if I were running a botnet I certainly would not waste resources on anyone in my industry. The number of competitors I have is so small I can count them on one hand and the market for what I sell is not widely consumed by the average business or consumer.

Most of my sales are the result of B2B transactions and many of these buyers are still using IE or whatever their network admins installed on their workstations. Chrome has a marketshare of 43.07% as reported by stat counter. Why aren't the other 57% of Google users buying or are you also suggesting that the web browser is also being spoofed in addition to the referrer?


First, congratulations, on what appears to have been a great year for you, 148% sales growth pretty good by any standards.

Maybe Google isn't your problem but a symptom of your success and the zombies could be the results of various factors. First, you are giving your customers many channels through which to buy from you. Such as, Direct online, direct offline (I assume), Amazon, OEM agreements and through wholesaler/retailers. With so many options, many users could be using Google to get to your site more for information than purchase, then choosing another channel to buy your product.

You mention that most purchasers use IE when buying from you. This in and of itself could explain the difference in conversion rate between Google and Bing. If I dive into my stats [in GA go to Acquisition, Source select Organic, then select Google then use secondary dimension select User-> Browser]
What I find is that:
Of user that came to my site using Google only 5.5% were using either IE or Edge. For Bing 66% of users used IE or Edge, and for Yahoo it was 15%. Now my niche is much different from yours, so your stats should look different, but I would guess that the difference may even be bigger.

So what this say to me, is that your buyers prefer Bing over Google due to the nature of the industry. That means that user coming to your site from Google are less likely to be buyers. It may still be people searching for info, and they will possibly return to work the next day and buy via Bing.

Why the change September 2015, that I can't say, but if I had to speculate maybe you had boost in rankings. More people are finding you but not necessarily buying at the time that they find you. But clearly your making the sale.
4:45 pm on Feb 13, 2017 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 15, 2004
posts: 593
votes: 106


I wouldn't see a person using Bing and Google, I would say that a person makes a preference and sticks with it. Bing's conversion rate is almost double and users it sends do not behave like zombies. Some bing's users are accidental simply because the search results are not as good but they do bounce where zombies do not bounce
5:18 pm on Feb 13, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 1, 2016
posts: 2662
votes: 794


I wouldn't see a person using Bing and Google


In principle I agree with you, but the use of Bing in this case is not by choice. In many large corporation, the IT department decides what is installed on the employees work stations, typically it is MS suite that include IE. When an employee is at the office they are using IE, and therefore Bing (because it is the default SE). When the employee leaves the office, so they switch to some other more personalized device, phone, Ipad, home desktop. In that instance the employee uses Google, but in that setting the employee isn't going to make purchase of industrial equipment (Glakes' niche) they may well research it but are unlikely to buy. Only when they return to the office do they make the purchase, arriving at the site via Bing. Google for info, Bing for purchase. Let me be explicit, this is only relevant to the scenario that Glakes describes, I am not claiming to have found an answer to all zombie issues. And even in Glakes' situation it may only explain part of the story.
6:06 pm on Feb 13, 2017 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 15, 2004
posts: 593
votes: 106


@nick

Good points, but I would see there is still similar share of the search market even it is a industrial product.
On the other hand we do not sell an industrial product and bing's conversion rate is still double.
8:24 pm on Feb 13, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 2, 2014
posts:711
votes: 378


@NickMNS

The wholesalers and OEMs I sell to do not serve the consumer retail market and as such my retail sales should have remained about the same or slightly lower. For example, the wholesalers I sell to do not sell to the general public and the OEMs are using my products in their products. There still is a wide market of retail consumers on Google to reach, and I'm not reaching them at least six or seven days a week. One or two days a week I am seeing what I consider as normal sales (reasonable conversion rates) from Google, and also on days where big algorithm changes occur, which is why I think my case is less of a user search engine preference and more about Google diverting traffic elsewhere. Despite getting a lot of IE traffic, Google sends about ten times the traffic as Bing or Yahoo. Today I think it's more like 14 Google users to 1 Bing/Yahoo user. For retail consumers, the products I sell would be considered more of an impulse buy or an immediate necessity for some. While it's true some people just visit my site for information, most people looking for my products need them and won't delay their purchase. If purchases were delayed, I would see that in Bing and Yahoo as well, but I don't. Plus I have years of Google traffic data prior to zombies that points to normal traffic patterns (quantity and quality) and conversions. It all changed overnight in September of 2015 which is why 2016 I made some changes in the direction my company was going and fortunately everything fell into place. Regardless, I still don't want to leave potential retail sales on the table and that's why I still have an interest in this subject. And it's the consumer retail side of my business that suffers most in Google.
8:38 pm on Feb 13, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 29, 2005
posts:10151
votes: 1014


I think the higher conversion rate for Bing is due more to the temperament of the users of that service than anything else. G's shifting serps and being in the news for various reasons NOT related to search may also factor in that regard ... but that is only speculation regarding Bing, not the specific in this thread ... though a lack of zombies from B and Y is a factor in and of itself.
9:27 pm on Feb 13, 2017 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 15, 2004
posts: 593
votes: 106


@tangor

I am with you I think both Bing and Yahoo are free of zombies, I am coming from UX side and after watching thousands of videos I can confirm that poor search results from Bing make users bounce really bad but after all, Bing still has a conversion rate that is double.
2:58 am on Feb 14, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 1, 2016
posts: 2662
votes: 794


@glakes forgive me if I misunderstood regarding sales to consumers but you wrote explicitly:
Most of my sales are the result of B2B transactions and many of these buyers are still using IE

Now as I said, what I proposed may not explain the complete story. But you are more than likely interpreting Zombies as a result of a combination of factors.

Based on what you described above, your business traffic is more likely to arrive using Bing or Yahoo. Assume then that consumers are coming from Google, you may be missing the mark with the consumer market. Have you segregated you conversion rate between business and consumer for Google, Bing and Yahoo. For each source, do you see similar CRs for both consumer and business?

It all changed overnight in September of 2015

All it takes is for the link juice from few high quality links to kick-in and you could be moved up significantly in the rankings. And you said your business is in small niche. I would assume that most customers, especially business customers, already know your product. The boost in rankings may have introduced your products to a whole new set of buyers that don't know you. Converting buyer that don't know you is not the same game as repeat customers.

I still don't want to leave potential retail sales on the table and that's why I still have an interest in this subject.

I totally agree, we work hard to get traffic to come to our sites, it would be a real waste to not be able to monetize all that hard work.
2:58 am on Feb 14, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 1, 2016
posts: 2662
votes: 794


@mosxu are you b2b or b2c?
9:52 am on Feb 14, 2017 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 15, 2004
posts: 593
votes: 106


@nick 80% b2c
3:50 pm on Feb 14, 2017 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Sept 12, 2014
posts:384
votes: 68


Could it be goigle search? When i use google on my android tablet a fairly good portion of my searches die with a message from g that the page might be down or a secure connection could not be established. This does not happen with bing.

Do the zombies affect non https sites or do they affect http sites or both?
7:11 pm on Feb 14, 2017 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

joined:Oct 24, 2015
posts:41
votes: 14


I dont believe in the bot theory. If they were bots, you would expect a LOT more traffic on your site, unless Google had some kind of traffic quota for each site, which sounds conspiratorial aF.

It looks like a mismatch of intent to me. For example Google sending people that are looking for "free X" to a site offering paid X or vice versa.

So if you have a product that is either free or paid, make it clear what it is going to cost on each page you are ranking for.

So if google thinks you offer "free X", then they are going to send people to you that wont buy and wont make you much money from ads either, because they are poor.

It would explain all the symptoms I saw with my own sites.
9:25 pm on Feb 15, 2017 (gmt 0)

New User

joined:Feb 13, 2017
posts: 14
votes: 4


mosxu + send member a local msg
12:09 pm on Feb 13, 2017 (gmt 0)
Junior Member
@jstacat

Mystery is why is real human traffic disappearing for hours if not days when zombies are taking over, who is behind this in reality? I mean webmasters are not stupid even a child can spot this anomaly.
===================
i think organic search for businesses is highly throttled so that no matter who/what sees the site[impressions] , it 'disappears' until quota is avail. It is an aggressive policy and will cost google in the long run.
i blame dblClk corp0rate methods polluting google, and making it a far less useful resource.

I make sure no bots/scrapers can locate my website [HTAccess], they eventually give up searching and real customers have a chance at organic or ads based impressions. The trouble with CMS or scripts on the web landing page is that the website is seen as live, and accessible, and bots keep coming. HTA can tell bots it is GONE. There is no contact with the website, only a server error msg.
Soon, i aim to entirely replace google and get seen in other ways; There are millions of other adwords folks who are of the same mind.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

NickMNS + send member a local msg
4:18 pm on Feb 13, 2017 (gmt 0)

@jstacat can you please explain are you an Adsense Publisher, or an Adwords Customer and ecommerce site?
===============================
Adwords customer, i also use bing, but they have some learning to do.
I thought of using adsense, but its a real headache for the small ROI, also, the domain names used would be ruined for a couple years using it for that.
That said, i have a deep commitment to get googl replaced & out of the monopoly. Googs have killed a lot of small business in a most underhanded way.
I haven't a lot of money & time, but i can project ideas, which will self propagate. 10 people tell 10 each & etc, Get Free of Googl ! [GFoG]
9:29 pm on Feb 15, 2017 (gmt 0)

New User

joined:Feb 13, 2017
posts: 14
votes: 4


mosxu + send member a local msg
12:09 pm on Feb 13, 2017 (gmt 0)
Junior Member
@jstacat

Mystery is why is real human traffic disappearing for hours if not days when zombies are taking over, who is behind this in reality? I mean webmasters are not stupid even a child can spot this anomaly.
===================
i think organic search for businesses is highly throttled so that no matter who/what sees the site[impressions] , it 'disappears' until quota is avail. It is an aggressive policy and will cost google in the long run.
i blame dblClk corp0rate methods polluting google, and making it a far less useful resource.

I make sure no bots/scrapers can locate my website [HTAccess], they eventually give up searching and real customers have a chance at organic or ads based impressions. The trouble with CMS or scripts on the web landing page is that the website is seen as live, and accessible, and bots keep coming. HTA can tell bots it is GONE. There is no contact with the website, only a server error msg.
Soon, i aim to entirely replace google and get seen in other ways; There are millions of other adwords folks who are of the same mind.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

NickMNS + send member a local msg
4:18 pm on Feb 13, 2017 (gmt 0)

@jstacat can you please explain are you an Adsense Publisher, or an Adwords Customer and ecommerce site?
===============================
Adwords customer, i also use bing, but they have some learning to do.
I thought of using adsense, but its a real headache for the small ROI, also, the domain names used would be ruined for a couple years using it for that.
That said, i have a deep commitment to get googl replaced & out of the monopoly. Googs have killed a lot of small business in a most underhanded way.
I haven't a lot of money & time, but i can project ideas, which will self propagate. 10 people tell 10 each & etc, Get Free of Googl ! [GFoG]
11:42 pm on Feb 15, 2017 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 15, 2004
posts: 593
votes: 106


@jstacat

Are you suggesting that after quota is finished we are getting bots? I mean there is still traffic on the website, what is the quota on?
1:04 am on Feb 16, 2017 (gmt 0)

New User

joined:Feb 13, 2017
posts: 14
votes: 4


mosxu + send member a local msg
11:42 pm on Feb 15, 2017 (gmt 0)
Junior Member

@jstacat

Are you suggesting that after quota is finished we are getting bots? I mean there is still traffic on the website, what is the quota on?
=========================
No, the Bots + customers are all allowed as it was before quotas, then, when quota is reached for the day, Bots + customers are throttled.

Some of the zombie - bots are actually the major PPC search engines masquerading, using local ISP accts & etc to check content. This activity can click ads & charge the acct, also counts towards quota.

Google can easily detect these bots, but makes more money if they can induce panic in businesses prompting wasteful over spending on PPC. Goog no longer allows contest of bad clicks, and their invalid click detection is not working at all.

Bottom line.. if your site even looks like it makes money or could somehow lead to money, it will be pursued & throttled.
This is straight DblClk corporate tactics and that will lead to the demise of googs.
Bing does far better and does not throttle organic searches as aggressively.

Its time to look seriously at other tech & search engines for ads. The general public has no time to ferret out the details, but they will respond to better and more complete search results when they shop.

How about a shopping channel on the internet, if you want the comprehensive listing of everything without PPC bias, like a phonebook yellow pages.... listed in major browsers in the search choice menu.
There, now i made the image; it will happen.
7:07 am on Feb 16, 2017 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 15, 2004
posts: 593
votes: 106


@jstacat

Interesting points:

Taking the gravity of the matter, ISPs creating fake traffic for google is obviously something that has not been discussed here before but it is happening to all countries? cause we seeing zombies in many of the countries we operate.

When the supposed quota is finished we do not see any reduction in traffic just that users do not look real that much for instance get from one page to another in the site without clicking on a link and many more signs that they are not real users but they do not bounce and pretend to know the site well.
11:21 am on Feb 16, 2017 (gmt 0)

New User

joined:Feb 16, 2017
posts:1
votes: 0


Same problems in germany. Conversionsrate for hours very low. Traffic normal.
10:44 am on Feb 17, 2017 (gmt 0)

New User

joined:Feb 13, 2017
posts: 14
votes: 4


What i mean is that ISPs are being abused by bots & scrapers.
It is very popular these days to block all but the useful bots, most websites that are busy must do this or lose too much bandwidth.
The rejected bot operators, including China Bots are desperate to scrape all the content they can, so they figure out new methods to get your page[s] I have seen bots do googl search & click my ads. Some ISP will close the bogus accts when you complain, and some have filters to catch bogus accts. others, like frontier seem to permit it.
Something googl could help to stop, but they are making money from it.
The bots 'know their way around' because they may have seen your site before being blocked. Sometimes their operators take it personally, and spend much time trying to get the pages LoL.
anyway, since i block them all, i get no spam...all my visitors that get content are real customers.
ISPs are not working to help googl, they are being abused, as is google.
No one, ISP, google, bing, webmasters wants these stupid bots, and we eventually will freeze them out.


=================================
mosxu + send member a local msg
7:07 am on Feb 16, 2017 (gmt 0)
@jstacat

Interesting points:

Taking the gravity of the matter, ISPs creating fake traffic for google is obviously something that has not been discussed here before but it is happening to all countries? cause we seeing zombies in many of the countries we operate.

When the supposed quota is finished we do not see any reduction in traffic just that users do not look real that much for instance get from one page to another in the site without clicking on a link and many more signs that they are not real users but they do not bounce and pretend to know the site well.
10:55 am on Feb 17, 2017 (gmt 0)

New User

joined:Feb 13, 2017
posts: 14
votes: 4


mosxu +
Also, bots now are more sophisticated, act more human, but they cant hide their patterns day after day. You can shop/browse for bot programs and see what features are offered.
In PPC display you can limit impressions to same visitors to once per day or week or month. Even then they have to pass an error page captcha to see the site. That is, the captcha is not served from my root, but the server itself. No hacking is possible.

zombies are real, mislabeled bots actually.
2:17 pm on Feb 17, 2017 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 15, 2004
posts: 593
votes: 106


Jstacat

We do not limit budgets so it is not like bots could ever eat the budgets so any bot activity would be extra to the real traffic.

However when bots (zombies) take over real traffic disappears. We have also tried to bombard the site with a lot of bot traffic ourselves and did not change a thing.

So I think that somebody else is behind the zombie game.
6:18 pm on Feb 17, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 2, 2014
posts:711
votes: 378


So I think that somebody else is behind the zombie game.

If bots were to blame then there would be an overlap of IP addresses when multiple zombie affected website's traffic logs are compared and there are not (outside of typical scrapers many coming from IP addresses owned by hosts). As I've said before, all sites are unique and some may have problems with bots that their owners categorize as zombies. However, with a high degree of confidence, I have excluded bots as being the source of zombies on my website. Those of you still fighting the zombie game need to get together of this forum and compare notes. Doing so will allow each and every one of you to start dismissing possibilities through a process of elimination. And my guess is that most of you with zombies will find out that bots (whether from infected PCs as part of a botnet or scrapers from hosts) are not to blame. Zombie traffic and a lack of buying traffic all go back to Google, so yes somebody else is behind the game and it sure is not bots for me anyway.
10:24 am on Feb 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 15, 2004
posts: 593
votes: 106


after I login in adwards account and I do not raise any bids at all it seems that zombies follow me for 1-2 days... anyone seeing same effect?
8:41 am on Mar 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

New User

joined:Feb 13, 2017
posts: 14
votes: 4


For those who want more insight into zombie traffic, check out spider . IO
[a UK white hat research co.]
They were bought by googs.. but nav to their blog. Maybe you can find the site on archive . org if googs shuts down the husk of the site.
They actually uncovered quite a motherlode of info, and maybe googs bought them out to silence them.
Some one starts another company that takes up where spider left off & maybe goog$ buy out that one too.
LOL
2:46 pm on Mar 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 15, 2004
posts: 593
votes: 106


@jstacat

interesting point, wonder what do you make of NoobOperator theory?
10:49 pm on Mar 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member aristotle is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Aug 4, 2008
posts:3635
votes: 365


They actually uncovered quite a motherlode of info, and maybe googs bought them out to silence them.

Why don't you provide us with some of that motherlode of info that they actually uncovered?
11:12 pm on Mar 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 15, 2004
posts: 593
votes: 106


was spider.io worth 1 billion?
This 171 message thread spans 6 pages: 171
 

Join The Conversation

Moderators and Top Contributors

Hot Threads This Week

Featured Threads

Free SEO Tools

Hire Expert Members