I have been referer log spammed. What is a referer log spam? I shall explain.

Whenever you click a link with a web browser such as Mozilla, IE, Opera or anything, it sends the page you just came from to the server. Web servers then store this information, and can use it to tell the webmaster where his or her visitors are coming from. Mark Pilgrim, for example, has his Further Reading lists (recently Upgraded), which scan referer logs and link back to pages that link to him. Adrian Holovaty has a system that will automatically highlight search terms if people come from Google, they are useful things. And now someone has started spamming referer logs.

So, how do they do that? Well, since the browser is the thing that sends (or doesn’t send, since Junkbuster allows you to set it) your referer field, a company can send out a few thousand http requests with the referer set to whatever URL they are advertising. If it wasn’t so annoying, it’d be a cool idea. The problem with it – from my point of view – is that it squiffs my stats by inserting false information. The other point is, fairly obviously, what is the point? If you are seeing this page, referrer advertising worked with you, says the spammer, but did it? You might also see it as a PR tool for bloggers. Hah. Aha ha ha, no, I see it as spam. Worse, I could see it as slander.

Why slander? Because I’ve been referer spammed eight or so times this month, six by seperate pages of a dildo company (37 hits each, not a penny more, not a penny less), and once each by two additional companies I would also prefer not to have my site associated with.

Finally, It’s pointless. The only person who is going to see my raw referer stats is me. Anything that goes to the public will – at the very *least* – be checked to make sure it’s an honest link, and it’s spamming – at their own admission – 56,000 blogs. That’s 56,000 people, most of who rely on comments and counters to see if anyone is linking to them, and barely any have actual readers for the information.