Blood Rants

Ok, these are rants. Usually something goes here because I'm pissed off. I seriously try to make it more constructive than whining, but with mixed success. There's no reason you have to read this stuff, mostly it's me blowing off steam, but on the other hand, if you're pissed off too, then I thank you in advance for your support.

Zombie Bots Part Deux – They’re Back

Zombie Bots - They're back!Way back last year, I wrote about how one of my sites was under attack by some kind of zombie robot traffic – all without referrers, all reporting IE browsers, from all over the world, just coming and coming and coming, until almost two months later on the nose, the attack stopped, as mysteriously as it started.

Well guess what, boys and girls – THEY'RE BAAAAACK!

On November 12, 2013, the same site that was hit before started showing a huge increase in direct traffic.  It was, on the one hand, very similar to the previous attack, and on the other hand, there were some important differences this time around.

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Shopping Carts for WordPress Suck

WordPress Shopping Carts SuckIt's almost 2013. Why oh why can't I find a professional, full featured shopping cart plugin for WordPress?

I have clients on old ecommerce platforms such as OSCommerce and ZenCart that I would LOVE to move over to WordPress (have you tried to SEO an OSCommerce or ZenCart site? It can be done but it's like three pains in each ass cheek.)

I have a full developers license for Cart66, which I can use for a couple of personal projects, but it doesn't support tiered pricing. This is a basic requirement of ecommerce, and it's positively ridiculous that they don't support it. Moreover, you can't find out they don't support it until after you buy it – the support forums for Cart66 are full of people who have been begging desperately for this feature for over two years – but the forums are only open to people who've bought the product. Megafail.

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Zombie Robots Are Eating My Site

December 13, 2013 I've posted an update about the zombie bot issue – the short version is – it went away for a year and a half, and now it's back. Check it out.

One of my sites has been under mass attack by bots for a month now, without cease.  It's cost me (and my developer partner) time, money, and an undue amount of stress.  It's undermined my analytics and stats.

When Bots Attack

It Just. Keeps. Coming.

And while there are a couple things we've been able to do to minimize the damage, essentially there's no way to stop it. It just. keeps. coming. And frankly, if it continues, and spreads, there could be big repercussions across the web on ad revenue and analytics.

What I Know

The attack started on February 21, 2012, around noon.  I keep an OCD-level eye on my traffic, and I noticed a big jump in direct traffic.  This is unusual, because this particular site is less than a year old, and has not had a chance to develop a lot of branding yet.  It's pretty well situated in the search engines for its niche, but not that many people know it by name.  Anything more than twenty or thirty percent direct traffic would definitely be odd.  And then I started noticing some other strange behaviors:

  • All the traffic was reported as Internet Explorer (versions 6 through 9)
  • All the traffic was reported as Windows (XP through Win 7)
  • The traffic was coming from all over the world (and the site is focused on ONE state in the US) and from thousands of IP numbers & ISPs.
  • It was all hitting the home page and leaving immediately.  My bounce rate quickly soared to about 99%
  • There was nothing – no one thing – that I could pinpoint to block this traffic from coming in. No commonality.
  • It was executing javascript – because it showed up in Google Analytics, Statcounter & Woopra.

Strangest of all, the traffic was *slow* – drip drip drip.  Never so much to come anywhere near a DDOS, or have an effect on the server, but at any given point, there would be six to ten “visitors” on the site at a time.  While it looked very much like actual human browser traffic, it wasn't difficult to conclude that this was something automated.

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Dear GoDaddy – Why I’m Moving Out

Dear GoDaddy –

I don't know if you noticed, but I've started moving my 1400+ domain names (spread across four accounts) to other registrars; mostly Namecheap (if you want to move your domains, use SWITCH2NC in the promo code field and you get I think up to a dollar off per domain, if it still works).

If you have noticed, you've probably attributed it to the brouhaha over SOPA, and it's true, GoDaddy's situational ethics were the last straw for me.

But I don't want you thinking this is the only reason I'm leaving.  It's just the most recent one.  Because once I started adding it up, I should have moved out LONG ago.

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