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Websites Affected By Zombie Traffic - Observations & Analysis

     
9:52 pm on Jan 28, 2017 (gmt 0)

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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.

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8:00 am on May 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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So, is the theory that Google have now figured out how to identify all traffic with any monetary value, and are able to direct that traffic to where they make the most money?

If so, surely this is an anti-trust issue and Google needs to be broken up now?
10:11 am on May 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Woah there. Zombie theory is very much a minority pursuit. And even Zombie believers such as myself are not in any way persuaded that Google is doing anything intentional.

But even if more people believed in both Zombies and intent, what mechanism do you propose? In Anti-trust, you can't just go fishing- you have to show a mechanism of bad faith (like bundling a browser with an OS).

And you can't just break companies up for suspicion, you need proven guilt.

Now, I'm all for breaking Google up (and Google is anticipating fights to come by creating the alphabet group structure), but you can't use a theory that even most SEOs think is tin-foil to break up corporations.
10:22 am on May 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I suppose my reading of the Zombie theory is that Zombies are just a mix of the same bots and human traffic that you always get MINUS the good monetisable users. I'm not saying that Google is deliberately sending garbage to a website, just that they have figured out how to identify likely purchasers and somehow got to them with the relevant ads before sending them to your website.
10:37 am on May 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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we will break up before, the politicians are fighting for a muppet spot at AI's augmented reality platform

going forward we need to find the cause ourselves and put it forward, but we do feel that there is a need for transparency especially if quotas are imposed by some sort of adwards managers or other employees or subcontractors reviewing your site
10:46 am on May 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@glitterball

that would be very easy a few preferred adwards accounts enabled with a feature to bid on likely buyers and the rest feed from what is left in case these accounts and amazon do not convert

my feeling is that the traffic is just 15-20% what would be left and never seem to convert but what are the remaining 80%?
1:05 pm on May 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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And you can't just break companies up for suspicion, you need proven guilt.


Yes, and when we can't even figure out the basics of their algo, how could anyone prove anything when it comes to Google?
If anything is intentional, if will never be proven...by design.

I just find it curious that from 1996 to about 2010, many sites saw natural patterns and results. Since 2010, it's bee all downhill. That combined with quarterly profits tells an interesting story.

To be clear, "Zombies" is simply the name of a phenomenon that I first observed years ago when natural patterns started to vary into "clamping" and "traffic shaping" effects that many of us, including the late Tedster recognized and discussed. Some here hate and deny the term, some love it because they have experienced it. The only thing we can all agree on is that it will never be proven...so we live with it and devo into becoming dumb and poor...just like the zombies they want us to be.

Any revolutionary change must be preceded by a passive, affirmative, non-challenging attitude toward change among the mass of our people. They must feel so frustrated, so defeated, so lost, so futureless in the prevailing system that they are willing to let go of the past and chance the future. - Saul Alinsky
6:24 pm on June 4, 2017 (gmt 0)

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"Yes, and when we can't even figure out the basics of their algo, how could anyone prove anything when it comes to Google?
If anything is intentional, if will never be proven...by design.

I just find it curious that from 1996 to about 2010, many sites saw natural patterns and results. Since 2010, it's bee all downhill. That combined with quarterly profits tells an interesting story. "

The Internet community 'made' Google successful.
'Tis now time for the community to humble the proud, rich monopoly.
This will occur, much sooner than any one thinks, because that is the nature of the internet; where a simple piece of good logic will spread like wildfire.
Look into ads with local based -PRINT- publications. Adv ROI is 100x what google is.
Wildfire started! LoL
8:48 pm on June 4, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I have several sites that have dns through cloudflare and "unique visitors" is often 100 times what google analytics shows is this what you mean by zombie traffic? Or do they appear in analytics as well?
12:50 pm on June 17, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Could the zombies actually be Amazon bots that are retrieving data on products so Amazon could come back to its sellers and tell them to lower the price to get more sales. I know I get amazon emails saying get more sales by lowering your price.


Doubtful, Zombies appear in Google Analytics Real Time (GART) as human visitors. We don't expect usually see bots in GART. Zombies typically consist of the following:
1. Poorly targeted traffic, usually originating from Google organic search.
2. Mobile users who visit a single page on you site then leave the browser open until it times out.
3. People that don't know how to use a hamburger menu on mobile, so again, only visit on site.
4. Visitors who have no money or intent to buy, hence zero conversions.
5. Yes, possibly sophisticated bots made to look like human visitors.
6. Visits that don't convert or persist due to speed issues, either temporary or inherent to bad page architecture, slow server or noise that slows the entire web.
7. Add your own theory....maybe Amazon bots.

Since this is a black box issue, all theories are valid.
2:27 pm on June 17, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Could the zombies actually be Amazon bots that are retrieving data on products so Amazon could come back to its sellers and tell them to lower the price to get more sales. I know I get amazon emails saying get more sales by lowering your price.

Amazon does want sellers to sell their products on Amazon at the same or at a lower price then what they are sold for elsewhere, though I'm not aware of anyone getting suspended for pricing products higher on Amazon. I've never heard of Amazon scanning seller's sites, and even if they did it would not account for the daily volume of unique IP zombies many of us see and most importantly how they arrive at our sites. If Amazon was scanning sites, for price comparisons or any other reason, they would likely arrive directly (from an AWS IP range) and not through a Google search.

A much more likely zombie scenario is a shopper who finds a product on Amazon and wants more information on the product (whether fulfilled by Amazon/FBA or fulfilled by merchant/FBM) so they search for it in Google and bounce around until they find the information they need to either initiate a purchase on Amazon or abandon the idea. Another scenario may include website visitors researching the manufacturer/seller of products on Amazon, which is why I think I see an abnormal amount of traffic dwell on our terms and contact us pages. For the most part, I see zombies/poor traffic and incorrectly labeled mismatched traffic from Google as information seekers. Maybe they are price shopping, want to know more about the products or possibly more about the company producing them and where it is located.

Though Google has lost quite a bit of buyer traffic and is continuing to lose more does not mean savvy shoppers have changed their appetite for information. While Amazon is getting a lot of this buyer traffic before and sometimes in lieu of Google, Amazon severely restricts the content that can be associated with products (limited number of pictures, no video, etc.) whereas individual retail websites are free to do what they want to inform their users. As a shopper I often find product related information on Amazon as thin/incomplete, and additional research is often necessary. Regardless, Amazon's buyer protection policy leads the ecommerce industry and that in itself does give Amazon the edge when it comes to where a purchase is made.
12:23 am on June 18, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Gentlemen please,

Amazon will not need to hack computers to compare competitor prices but the point missed here was that not just amazon is a big brand and if 50% of buyers start their journey at amazon then at least another 30% will start their journey at their favourite brand websites. So I am not a quantum computer scientist but we can see that hungry tech savvy corporations are only left with 20%?

@samwest

I am looking to point 5. on your list and I cannot stop laughing...
11:25 am on June 18, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I am looking to point 5. on your list and I cannot stop laughing...


Yeah, me too...

On to the weekly zombie observation: Last week started out almost normal, but ended with two consecutive zero days on "normal" traffic volumes.
Once the new weekly quota is met, they seem to magically shut off buying traffic. Nothing but zombie tire kickers.

What's really funny is how this seems to affect diverse ecomms in lockstep.
6:46 pm on Aug 6, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Kicking this topic just to report that it's still happening, but evolving slightly. In the very early morning hours on traffic rates of less than unique 1 visit every 15 to 30 minutes, I get conversions. The rest of the day however I couldn't get a conversion if I was giving away brand new Cadillac's. That's Zombie traffic.
1:12 pm on Aug 7, 2017 (gmt 0)

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So! When I was participating in the early zombie observations many things have changed by us in regards of new webdesign, new product releases, more links, more content so on so on...

Fact for us is that we are still in that box we where placed in 2012. I believe that most of the former observes shut down their doors or moved on with something different. We did fight this phenomenon, trying to implement anything possible from the outcome of the observations we made back then. thx to all that did share their observations in the old thread!

"NOTING CHANGED SO FAR" We are still alive because we do not relay so much on G organic traffic to survive, but the FAT days where G organic brought us buyers on mass before we got placed in the box are over tho!

Why I call it "placed in the box" ? Well for ME its obviously! No any effort done from our end did change the situation! And as shared with samwest via private message, the patter of ON/OFF are same as in 2012 with one little change we currently miss 1 day... our major conversations are made in 30 mins - 1 hour on Saturdays/Sundays. 30 - 50 conversation coming in and then we are OFF under the week. And off means few conversations a day, some days 0 then suddenly out of nowhere conversations coming back to make up the 0 days (<<< observed 6 years, 6 years of same patterns)...The funny thing is that when conversations are high on Sat/Sun the traffic is -20% and sometimes even -30%. When 0 conversations happen the traffic is 120% or higher....

I understand that some do not believe in all the story and I could write done many observations <<< facts... but they are our facts and do not necessarily apply to others.

However after 6 years I believe that I collected enough facts and stats to say:

- It is here
- It cannot be explained in short
- The "thing" affects some of us some not
- We cannot track why its happening
- It is totally not controllable by us and it seems there is no escape from it ( that said after 6 years, tho)
- I would even suggest it not to call zombie traffic anymore, that was OK in Tedsters times. ZT is a confusing term for further discussions.

I would call it:

- Google Control Box (GCB)
- NO ESCAPE BOX (ECB)
- Google Memory Box (GMB)

I can tell you guys we made many new sites since 2012 and sites with 0 links and 0 authority doing better and are not in that box! So its a memory effect I suggest. What exactly it does memorize? I donīt know. I think it might me some of the animals, but that's just a thought.
6:51 pm on Aug 8, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Now going on three days of zero conversions on basically normal traffic levels. What knob did they turn THIS time? Super Zombie user behavior. Every user that hits the buy page, sits there for 5 minutes then leaves. Even desktop. Tried testing it on every device with no problems. Users just sit on pages, no clicking on any internal links. First we have fake news, now we have fake traffic, probably from the same root sources. If I pull the same total numbers as last week with this nill start, I will laugh my pants off.

@ SE Checker - you mention "conversations" do you mean "conversions"?
2:03 pm on Aug 10, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@samwest, seeing the same thing for exactly the last 48 hours. The day before was booming, conversions every hour, and before that, some "okay" level traffic that converted at least a few subscribers and a handful of sales. Today is 100% zombie traffic even though my traffic numbers are increasing and I seem to be doing quite well for a number of high traffic keywords.

Completely unaccaptable. I also know its once again time to drop off my adwords budget into the sub $5 mark even though Google doesn't deserve a dime.
7:34 pm on Aug 17, 2017 (gmt 0)

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August 17th observation: It seems conversions are improving slightly and along with it, the volume of spam mail. It's funny how the two seem to go hand in hand. This is not just my observation. Another former WebmasterWorld member is also reporting the same thing from way over across the pond in the UK. It's episodes like this that point the finger away from Google and more towards an overall network issue...maybe an injected slowdown. Why? I think you can figure that out on your own.
9:36 am on Aug 18, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@samwest, I assume you are talking about ohno? You, MJ and ohno should compare (offline) common factors to see if there are any external commonalities. It is extremely rare to have so many co-occurring events that are consistently confined to a tiny, tiny subset of users.

The are widespread co-occurring events, obviously. But for a small number of people across wide geographies and disparate niches moving in lockstep over a long timeframe is very odd.
10:10 am on Aug 18, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I was emailed a couple days ago about a new program that will "send your competitors crazy". It mimics human activity and clicks competitors ads, search results or anything else you want it to.
3:31 pm on Aug 27, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@shaddows...yes, you are correct. There are others who have joined in with nearly exact observations. Once thing I (and Ohno) notice is that during times of ON conversion activity, SPAM email seems to ramp up. It's highly repeatable. Not sure wait significance this has, but one would think that this is some type of overall traffic throttle that is independent of what's happening in the SERPS. It almost seems like there are bottlenecks in traffic possibly caused by DDoS attacks or other latency issues, some strange AI filtering or global user "swarm" behavior, which would be very odd indeed, especially when affecting varied collection of sites (Ohno's site is in the UK and TOTALLY different than mine). This may be the cause of crazy variations in bounce rate. I don't want to say this is being done intentionally, but it's hard to think of it happening naturally unless the system is broken in some way.

Last week total conversions once again fell exactly on target as the prior week. Traffic trended down from prior week yet G insights were all in the positive. This balancing act is incredibly unnatural as compare to patterns exhibited years ago. Lots has changed, that's for sure.
5:53 pm on Sept 29, 2017 (gmt 0)

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3 consecutive days of full on zombie traffic sept 27, 28 and 29 - no apparent serp changes, just very poorly targeted traffic..I guess.
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