Buying online traffic is a booming business. Why wait for organic traffic to build up when you can just buy some traffic bot software? Or, if your competitors regularly outrank you in the search results, why not just click them off the top?
And while the ad platforms such as Google are claiming to be clamping down on fake traffic, traffic bot services get more advanced.
Take for instance this new bot traffic software:
The developers are openly advertising that you can hire their bot to click on your competitors ads. And by using VPN’s (proxy servers), it will look like genuine traffic from different locations.
I reached out to ask them some questions about the service.
“This bot runs from your computer using VPS (virtual private server). The source/country is regulated through the IP address, so you can make it appear that your traffic is anywhere in the world. If you buy our tariff plan with connecting to our proxy server then you get 1000 new IP addresses every week”
In short, this is a bot that runs from the user’s device and can hide its location by using proxy servers.
The service also allows users to set the volume of clicks, and the amount of time on site. They even have the option to dodge captchas using their automated service.
And how much does this cost?
Less than €500 for a lifetime licence. And you can click your competitors off the search rankings as much as you like…
But these traffic bot services aren’t just limited to clicking on competitors paid search results.
Another service charges $197 per month to perform a wide variety of bot traffic related services. These include:
- Scraping data from Instagram, Amazon, Facebook and Google
- Boosting organic* traffic (*obviously not real organic traffic)
- Google Ads clicks from mobile devices
This shameless promotion of a tool designed to defraud marketers highlights the challenges faced by the ad platforms, and the growing demand for click fraud prevention software.
Traffic bots vs remote click farms
Beyond traffic bots for hire, there is also a booming industry for paid to click (PTC) services. SerpClix is probably the best known PTC website, where you can hire genuine people to click on whatever you want.
The service is marketed as an SEO boost, as Google analyses clicks within the search result pages and ranks pages higher if they get more clicks.
But it can also be used to boost impressions on web pages containing ads, engagement on social media campaigns, and more.
These paid to click websites operate as proxy click farms. Originally click farms were a central location where people would work with desktop computers to click or engage with sites. But with more people working from home, including click farmers, the growth and demand for paid to click services has been growing.
Do people really use traffic bot services?
In a word, yes.
According to Statista, 25.6% of web traffic was designated as ‘bad bots’, compared to 59.2% human. Yes, 40% of web traffic is not human.
Find more statistics at Statista
Some sources even put the bad bot traffic higher, at around 36% human to 39% bad bot.
As for these traffic bot services, yes people are increasingly turning to them to boost their ad revenue, search rankings and social media engagement.
They remain affordable, effective and easy to find.
So where does that leave marketers and business owners online?
How do the ad platforms block fake traffic
The methods that Google and Facebook use to prevent fake traffic lean towards letting more traffic through. After all, for the ad platforms, more traffic is more paid clicks.
And although their filters do pick up fake traffic including bots, it is often identified after the fact. If you’ve ever noticed that you received a Google Ads refund, that’s Google admitting that they let some bad traffic though.
Google’s click fraud prevention also blocks traffic based on IP address – meaning that if a device changes it’s IP address, it’s free to click again. And seeing as the IP address of a single device can be changed by VPNs or simply by using airplane mode on a phone, this is not the most effective way to identify fraudulent traffic.
Within Google Ads, you can analyse invalid traffic on your campaigns. Although Google blocks invalid traffic, you will need to add the column to your dashboard as it isn’t displayed by default.
How does click fraud prevention stop traffic bots?
Third party click fraud prevention services, such as ClickCease, stop traffic bots and invalid traffic by using different methods.
- Device fingerprinting – instead of relying on IP addresses. Meaning that if a device changes IP address, it can still be identified as fraudulent
- Regularly updated blocklists – For example, ClickCease uses the largest blocklist of known fraud sources, such as click farms and known botnet devices. These clicks are blocked in real-time
- Stricter click thresholds – for example, if a device clicks on the same link multiple times it can be blocked
- VPNs and out-of-geo clicks designated as IVT – Google designates a score to some traffic such as VPNs. But, in our experience, most bot traffic uses VPNS so we block them by default
ClickCease also uses machine learning to analyse traffic across all our campaigns. This means that if a source of bad traffic is spotted on one of our clients, we use the same data to block that traffic on all of our customers sites.
And because we are by far the largest click fraud prevention service, this means that we have some of the most comprehensive data on traffic bot services, paid to click sites and fraud bots.
If you want to block clicks from traffic bots and vindictive competitors, ClickCease is the professionals choice.
Do your ads get clicked by bots or fake traffic services?
The best way to find out is to run a traffic audit with ClickCease.
Our FREE 7 day trial gives you insight into who or what is really clicking your ads. If you’re paying for Google or Facebook Ads, you need to take a look.