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The first everHuh. I did a quick log search because I couldn't remember one way or the other, and found a scattered handful from August-October, with a bit of a leap upward in November, a bigger leap in December, and a still bigger leap in January (twice as many requests as all of 2018 put together).
Does that method work against botnets?Depends on how cleverly the robot is coded. Even in this day and age, a remarkable number of robots don't even send a User-Agent. I do get a few fully humanoid robots every day, and most of them come from all over the map. At any given time, there are certain patterns of requests that are clearly a botnet but there's not a heck of a lot I can do with them. Unfortunately they tend to involve the Contact page--which isn't in an utterly generic location, like /contact.html at the root, so I know that somebody once located it and told all the other robots.