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Bot blacklist

Estimated reading: 4 minutes

Definition of a “Bot”

In terms of affiliate marketing, a bot is some automatic user (not a real visitor) that generates the traffic. There are 2 types of bots:

  • good bots (like those from Google or Facebook) which simply check your campaign whether it is up to the rules or not. For good bots RedTrack has soft filters – those bots are still able to go through your campaign but you do not see them in your statistics.
  • bad bots which can cause a lot of problems for affiliates as this traffic never converts but spends your traffic source and tracker budget. For bad bots RedTrack introduced a bot blacklist feature.

Important!

Remember that the bot blacklist feature works with a REDIRECT tracking option only:

Ways of spotting a bot

There are 2 ways (methods) to spot a bot with RedTrack: via a Bot trap and IP.

Bot trap

There are almost no traffic sources that are free of bot traffic. But it becomes a serious problem when the % of fake traffic reaches a high level, as a result, campaign optimization is very complicated. Bot trap is not a 100% reliable method of detection, some advanced bots can pass, but the majority have a very primitive structure.

Since RedTrack allows you to track multi-offer landing pages, you can add an offer for bots in your campaign, so the bot traffic could be filtered after.

For your information:

This method works best with landing page campaigns. In general, you will need to have the access to the page code.

To implement this method act as follows:

1. Create 2 offers: a blank offer for bots and your real offer for your product (or several offers).
2. Create a Campaign following this guide.
3. Put an “invisible” clickable link on your landing page.

Important!

The link:

  • should contain https://your.domain.com/click/1 – it sends the bot click to the offer 1 (the bot detection offer);
  • can be 1×1 pixel image, the text of the same (or very similar) colour as the background;
  • should be placed very low on the page.

This link is not visible to real visitors, but almost every type of Bot can click on it. So whenever you see clicks to our offer 1, you know that visitors are not real, it’s from bots.

4. Add other multi-offer links to your landing page. For example, in our case, it is https://your.domain.com/click/2 – it sends real visitors to the offer 2 (a real offer).
5. After that, you can check your campaign reports and see what IPs (or UAs) have clicked on the trap offer and block them.

Check out the article Tracking listicles (multi-offer landing page) for more information on the correct landing page setup

IPs

This method does not require programming skills. You need to analyze your click logs and reports. Since in real conditions the same visitor cannot click on the same offer too many times, this method can be considered quite reliable.

To apply this method act as follows:

1. Go to your Campaign report:

2. Filter the grouping by IP or Ua and press Apply / Refresh:

For your information:

This may take some time as this kind of report is taken directly from the backend and usually contains a lot of unique parameters.

3. The clicks are grouped by the set parameter. On the screen below you see that one IP has got a lot of clicks, which is pretty unusual, as, in real conditions, the live unique visitor will not click on the same campaign link that many times (it depends on your ad of course but in general they won’t). Now you can identify bad IPs (IP ranges) and then block them.

You will need to block an IP range for the cases when the suspicious IP in your report ends with 0. That means this IP was hidden due to privacy policy. But the IP range can still be blocked. This will be something like: 69.208.0.0-69.208.0.255. The first ends with 0, the last one with 255.

Take the IP from the report you want to block: 46.216.64.0. The range for this IP will be: 46.216.64.0-46.216.64.255

How a “Bot blacklist” rule works

Once enabled, traffic that is sent to your campaigns will be filtered based on the bot rules: bots will be excluded from the campaign report. Blocked traffic will not be counted towards your RedTrack events limit.

To add a bot rule to RedTrack, act as follows:

1. On the main RedTrack menu navigate to Tools and select Bot blacklist from the drop-down menu:

3. Press New to create a new rule -> set the following values in the fields of the pop-up window:

  • name of your rule in the Title field;
  • add values to either IP addresses/IP ranges or User agent field;
  • the Description field is not mandatory.