Friday, May 15, 2009

Porn Sites in Your Referers Stats

Porn sites can sometimes show up in your website stats as referrers. The referrers part of your website stats shows you (in theory) who is linking to your website. It works by recording in your web site log files how people have been referred to your site, usually as a result of someone clicking a link to your site on a third party site. The majority of referrers will be search engines, assuming you have written your site in such a way that the search engines can assess and rank your content. So when pawing through your web stats is can be quite alarming to find porn sites listed as being amongst your referrers. How do you know they are porn sites? Well unfortunately for the reader the domain names tend to be quite sexually explicit. If you are running a website that is not related to pornography it can be quite a nasty shock to find evidence that apparently there is a link to your web presence from some quite nasty sounding websites. Finding porn referrers in your stats obviously gets more alarming if you run a family orientated site, just why would these shockingly titled websites want to link to you?

Pornographers use many nasty tricks to get people to visit their sites, we all know about spam already. They spoof or fake links to your site from software running on their servers. This makes it appear that they have links to your site from theirs, this is not the case. They go to the effort of creating this web of deceit so that when upstanding and none porn loving folks like us find these filth sites listed in our stats we are alarmed to the point that we visit their sites in a hunt for that unwanted link to our content. I’ve never really understood this mentality, are they thinking that we might just not like porn because we’ve never been exposed to it?

The sad truth is that like with the spam that these organisations send out they can generate millions of these fake referral links in just a few hours. If just one person out of the millions and millions targeted actually signs up at a pornographic site then the whole exercise has worked well for the perpetrator.

So if you see porn sites in your referral stats then ignore them, DON’T visit the sites as you are only ensuring this practise will continue. Also there is sadly nothing you can do to stop these URLs turning up in your stats.

Let’s ignore porn referrals and hope they go away.