Computers are an increasingly vital part of everyday life because they accelerate and facilitate the processing of information -- making lives and labor easier. Technological advancements, however, have also led to the creation of Internet bots.
Some of you may be asking, what is a bot, anyway? These software applications empower their users to quickly and efficiently complete various repetitive online and offline tasks.
The Ultimate Guide to Internet Bots
Similar to other technologies, bots can be used for both beneficial and harmful purposes. In this post, we’ll examine some of the good and the bad bots. Then we will explore a number of measures that performance marketers can take to defend against bad bots that skew campaign results, distort data, and waste ad spend while destroying bottom lines.
1. Search Engine Crawlers
Good internet bots can be extremely beneficial to your brand. Legitimate bots lie behind the success of many search engines, including Google and Yahoo. This is because search engines usually create their rankings based on information collected from bots, also known as crawlers, spiders, or spider bots.
Crawlers allow companies such as Google to collect information on roughly 30 trillion individual web pages. To visualize that, if a web page were represented by an actual page of paper, a stack of those papers would be nearly 2,000 miles tall.
The collected information amounts to about 100 million gigabytes. Collecting this much data over that many pages is something individuals simply could not accomplish given their physical and time limitations, making these bots extremely necessary.
2. Copyright Protection
Another important function of good bots is to identify copyright violations. Bots launched by copyright holders allow them to quickly discover illegal copies of their content. Major brands often utilize the power of bots to detect unlawfully uploaded books, music, videos, images, and other copyrighted materials.
Bots can scan large volumes of data sources and collect specific information based on predefined criteria. For example, bots are able to simultaneously monitor thousands of websites containing information about weather, news, sports, or road traffic.
3. Chat Bots
Bots can automate not only the collection of information and data sourced from web pages but can even engage in customer support. More specifically, chatbots are able to automatically answer customer inquiries. Chatbots usually rely on a predefined database of phrases to reply to messages sent to them.
Some chatbots, like Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri, use artificial intelligence to process increasingly thorough determinations, making their communication with humans more effective and helpful.
Like any good invention, given their effectiveness, bad actors can re-tool bots for malicious purposes in a variety of ways. Here are just a few types of bad internet bots to look out for:
1. Form Bots
Bad bots can fill out forms with the aim to access restricted content and make this content publicly available. This, in turn, may decrease the income generated through brands relying on premium content or subscription models.
2. Spam Bots
Spam bots will collect email addresses from internet sources and send unsolicited spam emails, links, and other kinds of spam. For example, these spam bots can fill out comment forms and flood inboxes.
3. Spy Bots
These bots contain spyware that collects data about a person or computer without permission. Spy bots are primarily used for data collection and surveillance purposes, and can be difficult to detect, hurting user experience and skewing analytics for marketers.
4. Zombie Computers/Botnets
A collection of zombie computers is called a botnet. Zombie computers or botnets are compromised computers that hackers have access to and can control from anywhere in the world. While hackers control these computers, users usually have no idea.
5. Bad Chatbots
Bad chatbots emulate human interaction by engaging in conversation. These chatbots attempt to acquire personal information and often reside on service websites like dating sites, messaging apps, or chat rooms.
6. Click Bots
But a more costly way nefarious individuals can utilize click bots is to generate impressions and/or clicks on advertisements, like digital banners and videos. This forces brands or performance marketers to pay for engagement on advertisements that have never actually been seen by human eyes.
If you’ve used pay-per-click ads, you’ve probably run into click bots. These bots flow through the web, clicking on ads without converting, raking up higher ad spend. A click bot’s only agenda is to click on your ads making their creators money while costing you money.
Protection Against Bad Bots
Identifying malicious internet bots, of course, is only half the battle. How brands and performance marketers actually thwart the bad bots they’ve identified is the difference between a valuable campaign that drives results and leads versus a campaign that spends money with little or no return.
Benefits of using Anura for your Ad Fraud Protection
Anura's techniques work together to provide a comprehensive solution for stopping bad bots. By distinguishing real user engagements from fake ones, Anura ensures that advertisers have reliable campaign metrics and make informed decisions. Anura continuously adapts to evolving fraud techniques, ensuring protection against bad bots and other emerging threats.
The benefits of using Anura include:
Increased website securityAnura can help to protect websites from a variety of bad bot attacks, including click fraud, scraping, and denial-of-service attacks.
Improved website performanceBy blocking bad bots, Anura can free up resources that can be used to serve legitimate visitors. This can improve website performance and reduce the risk of website downtime.
Reduced ad spend
Anura can help to reduce ad spend by blocking click fraud. This can save businesses money and improve their ROI.
In the digital world, bots are everywhere. They can be used for good or bad, and it is important to be able to distinguish between the two. Good bots can help us with tasks such as customer service, and entertainment. Bad bots, on the other hand, can be used for malicious purposes such as click fraud, scraping, and other ad fraud techniques.
Anura's ad fraud solution is a powerful tool that can help businesses to protect their websites from bad bots. Anura can identify and block bad bots with a highest degree of accuracy. This can help to protect websites from a variety of attacks, improve website performance, and reduce ad spend.