Thu 11 Mar, 2004 11:18 am
I went onto my statistics page, and it shows someone having been referred to my site from the website of an Escort Service!
I emailed the webmaster of that page, who said, "Oh, someone must have manually typed in your address directly after visiting our site. Happens all the time!" I don't think that's how it works.
I called my server, and he said that was impossible. He said someone must have changed a profile of one of those hookers to list mine as her webpage! That's the only solution that makes sense to me, either.
Is there any way for someone to show up as referred to my site from another site, save a link to my site be on that other site?
Yes, that's not how it works. He is lying to you.
He is most likely practicing what is called referral log spam.
Since you have a public page of referrers they forge a referall header and send fake traffic to you. The referrer string is not accurate and some browsers actually allow the user to set it to whatever URL they want.
So they send hits to your site (not any real visitors) with their URL as the referrer. Your logs then display a link back to them.
This is a good reason not to have public referral logs. People will "spam" you with fake hits to get any site they wish displayed on your site.
You've been found by one, from here on out it will only get worse.
BTW, your host should be better informed than that.
Most places I've looked online say that "referral log spam" is a statistical nuisance and an ethical concern, but not really a problem except to the "honest" "escort services." Is there a problem we're overlooking?
If you don't mind anyone putting links on your site there are no problems.
Expect your referral list to be full of porn sites and you'll be fine.
It works like this, you probably made that page public to encourage people linking to you. Or maybe just to display your stats to your visitors. Or maybe just because you figured out how to display stats (knowing how is a big reason some webmasters do things).
What will happen is that dishonest webmasters (mostly from porn and escort type sites) will fake the referral string and send you automated hits (e.g. computer generated traffic with no real human visits).
Then your site will display their link for them.
The more spammers that figure it out the more of this you'll see in your logs.
Okay, thanks. I'm pretty anti-spam and anti-porn, so I'll find a way...
Got a line on one of those "honest escort services"? I ain't never seen one ... might be interesting.