Traffic Bot Services Openly Advertising Competitor Clicks
Marketing | June 09, 2023
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 claim 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 VPNs (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 ad platforms face 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 (PTC) 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.
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 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 through.
Google’s click fraud prevention also blocks traffic based on IP address – meaning that if a device changes its 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 the 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 CHEQ Essentials, stop traffic bots and invalid traffic by using different methods.
- Device fingerprinting – instead of relying on IP addresses. This means that if a device changes its IP address, it can still be identified as fraudulent
- Regularly updated blocklists – For example, CHEQ Essentials 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
CHEQ Essentials 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, we have some of the most comprehensive data on traffic bot services, paid-to-click (PTC) sites, and fraud bots.
If you want to block clicks from traffic bots and vindictive competitors, CHEQ Essentials 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 CHEQ Essentials. Block all malicious traffic bots today with our free trial.