Many website owners have noticed darodar.com and the buttons-for-website.com domains showing up on the Google Analytics reports. They pose as referrers sending a considerable amount of traffic. They do not do much harm to the site, but the number of visits that they present to the website affect the bounce rates and the time spent on the page. The result is that the Google search algorithm will treat it as a quality issue and that people do not find what they look for on the site. Consequently, they lower the search ranking of the website. It may not seem a lot for large organizations, but for a small size business with a website, it could make or break its operations.
Alexander Peresunko, the Customer Success Manager of Semalt, presents here some handy ways on how to overcome this problem.
Both crawlers link back to a site which appears to be legitimate. Darodar seems to offer site analysis for users, while buttons-for-website gives businesses a chance to share their URL through such things as +AddThis. It is where the issue of legitimacy seems to end though since some sources have revealed the nefarious intent of these two sites. Darodar has been around more than the buttons-for-website, and has created a “botnet.” A botnet is a network of virus-infected computers whose intention is to compromise computer security. It provides hackers with the vulnerabilities they need to gain back entry into the system. The one controlling the botnet directs the activities of these networks.
The botnet includes thousands of IP addresses which makes it difficult to block the crawler successfully through IP Exclusion in Analytics. Frequent articles point to the fact that the bot continues to infect websites through one or more programs with an embedded virus. Soundfrost is one popular utility download that contains the said virus.
Using the robots.txt method to block buttons-for-website and darodar, as one would with other crawlers/spiders, would not be as effective since it’s directives rely on voluntary compliance. If the owner currently runs Black Hat strategies, their activities do not comply with the laid down guidelines.
The darodar bot has several uses. One of them is to artificially boost the SEO of a site by directing traffic to the site. Its configuration is in such a way that it does not appear as a crawler. It looks like an actual visitor and the search engines will include it in their reports, thus leading to skewness in the Analytics data. This is known as link spamming, something which has become less efficient due to the recent algorithm updates.
Wikipedia defines referrer spam as a form of spamdexing which involves repeated requests using a fake referrer URL to a site that the spammer wishes to advertise. The sites then inadvertently link back to the spammer’s site which record as traffic for them. It is beneficial to the spammer as the free links help build their search rankings.
Other roles that botnets serve are the denial-of-service attacks, click fraud, spamdexing, theft or personal and financial information, SMTP mail relays for spam, and mining bitcoins. Based on these findings, it would be undesirable to have such traffic on the website.
Buttons For Website has similar functions, only that its delivery is a little different. It offers a handy sharing tool for websites. The moment the owner installs it, it creates a gateway which people can use to hijack the web browser of visitors to their site.
Blocking Buttons For Website and Darodar
The option to block buttons-for-website and darodar by using the IP exclusion to prevent traffic from them will not be as successful. The reason is that they both have many IP addresses driving traffic to the site. An alternative is to edit the .htaccess file of each of these domains and block traffic from there. To do this, one must access the root directory on the web host which makes up the WordPress site. Make sure to use the Apache system which most host providers use. If one has no experience with changing the .htaccess files, request the webmaster to help with it since any slight mistake may lead to the crashing of the entire site.