As we attempt to look into the traffic our website is receiving. We are trying to place where our viewers are coming from. In this search, a common question arises when looking at the site’s placement report. More often than not, you find yourself staring at placements from random sites with domains such as “goto-account-wow.live” and wonder, “how is this site sending me so much traffic?”.
Being smart, the next step is to look into the analytics associated with this random traffic. If the users are located in a far-away country that you are not targeting. Then you can reason that it is undeniably a fraud.
But what if you find yourself looking at people who seem to be in your jurisdiction, actually spending a considerable amount of time on your website? Could it be that “goto-account-wow.live” is sending us a major amount of real traffic? It doesn’t seem to make any sense!
Ah, young one. Many of us feel your pain, having pulled out our hair trying to solve that mystery before.
What the answer boils down to is that methods of fraud online are becoming increasingly sophisticated. If you look through your website’s data and your gut tells you that something doesn’t make sense, your gut feeling is probably right. The probability of fraud is higher than you suspect.
A decade ago, those looking to commit fraud went through different measures to accomplish it. They would send traffic to a site through pings that would set off the website’s analytics and warn you with the appropriate headers. Does “Referrer Spam” come to mind?
Today, fraudsters are taking more thorough steps to accomplish their goals, made easier with ever-evolving technology at their hands. Yes, they are becoming smarter with time, but we are getting smarter too!
Currently, there are several sophisticated systems that allow them to commit these frauds. Most notably, they rely on systems that change the IP addresses of where the traffic is coming from. By imitating IP addresses from your jurisdiction—voila, they can easily pass as your target market! They even have the technology to pause and click around the website, to model natural browsing behavior.
Offline, the philosophy is to be liberal with what you accept, but be careful with what you send out. In the world of online marketing, however, doing the opposite often makes sense. Especially when dealing with fraudulent behavior: be careful of what you accept, but more liberal with what you send out.