Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Weird traffic from Taiwan

I didn't want to say anything while it was going on, for fear that it would cause more strangeness, but, now that it's stopped, I'm wondering if anyone can figure out what the hell was going on.

For several days in a row I was getting comparatively massive traffic (remember that this is a small time blog so massive for me is within the margin of error for other people) from mostly Taiwan to mostly two posts.  The two posts in question were not, on the whole, interesting ones.

The one that got the most traffic was "The end of an Era (image post)" in which I said that, with the world not ended, we could probably expect my posts on the Mayan Calendar to stop being searched for, linked to those posts, and then used the occasion as an excuse to post pictures of sunrise and sunset.

Nine photos I took of sunset, eight photos I took of sunrise.  Two photos of cloudy skies during other times of day.  Two photos of night.  One of my dog and cat laying together.  They're not actually sleeping (if you look their eyes are open), and certainly not doing what people use "sleeping" as a euphemism for, but clearly a sign of the end times none the less.

There's no ... there there.  There's nothing to look at -correction, there is stuff to look at (22 photos)- but nothing to read.

And whoever was visiting the page was not a spammer.  There is literally no spam on the post.  Which is actually kind of rare, usually I get at least some spam on everything, thankfully the auto-spamtrapper handles most of it.  Nor was it referral spam (when someone comes to your site supposedly from a link on their site in hopes you'll go to their site to see who is linking to you) because they didn't show up as coming from anywhere.

Yet it also can't be explained via the references to the Mayan Calendar in it because if people were interested in that the post started with six links to posts about the Mayan Calendar and none of those posts saw heavy traffic.

It's just seemingly random high volume traffic to my site.

The second post, is even more weird because it contains nothing in the way of content it got more than eight and a half times the hits of the nearest legitimate post in the past week, but there's nothing there.  That post is "New post up at the Slacktiverse" which, as the title suggests, was just pointing out that I made had made a new post at The Slacktiverse, specifically Coping with Depression.  There's no real content there other than a link to another post.  It cannot be explained by people actually wanting information on coping with depression because there was not a similar spike in views of that post at the Slacktiverse.

It cannot be explained as referrer spam because there was no referrer (all those views apparently came from a bare link because nothing showed up in my traffic sources.)  It cannot be explained as regular spam because there isn't any.  At least not in that period.  There is one piece of spam associated with that post, but it came from last year, well before the (relatively) massive traffic mostly from Taiwan.

So I'm left at a loss.  I got what was, for me, giant amounts of traffic to two posts with almost nothing in the way of content, and it cannot be explained away as spam.

Anyone have an explanation?


  1. Do you get full query data, or just the number of page requests from which IPs? Because it might be randomly trying exploits to get access to the server.

    1. I just get blogger's built in stuff, which is even less then your "just".

      So for stats I can look at all time, the past month, the past week, the past day, or the past two hours.

      Within each of those time-windows I have four things I can get. All are based on pageviews. Not unique viewers: pageviews. One person views the same page twice and it looks the same to me as two people viewing it once. Same if you replace "twice" and "two" with equivalent terms based on an arbitrarily large number.

      One is sort of a timeline of pageviews for the whole blog. For two hours it's broken down by minute, for day and week it's broken down by hour, for month it's broken down by day, and for all time it's broken down by month.

      This is completely disconnected from the other information, all of which is completely disconnected from each other piece of information.

      The second thing is that I can at which posts got the most pageviews in the unit of time in question. I'll be shown the top ten along with how many pageviews each got.

      The third thing is, "Traffic Sources", which will show me where pageviews came from provided they came in such a way that gives that information. Again it's top ten, but this time it's three top tens. The first is top ten full URLs, the second is top ten sites (so it combines thingy.com/place1 and thingy.com/place2 into page views referred from thingy.com.) The third is the top ten search terms.

      The fourth thing I can get is called, "Audience". It likewise has three top tens. Top ten countries by pageview, top ten browsers by pageview, top ten operating systems by pageview.

      But none of this information is connected to any of the other information. I have to infer that the giant spikes in pageviews of the two posts in question are connected to the giant spike in pageviews from Taiwan. As for ip-address. I don't get that. Not even close.

      That's part of why The Slactiverse left Blogger. There was a need for IP bans on a small handful of trolls (maybe it was only one, I don't remember) and blogger doesn't even let you know the IP addresses, much less let you ban them.

    2. Huh.

      So they certainly wouldn't be telling you about weird query parameters or POST parameters, which is where some of the exploits live these days.

      Back in my day, young feller, we wouldn't accept free hosting unless they gave us the raw log file! And the log file was so big it filled all our space! And we liked it that way!

    3. Well... blogger is google and google is evil, back in your day you probably didn't accept free stuff from evil people.

    4. This was long enough ago that Google wasn't entirely evil, and some people preferred Yahoo for web searching.