Recently my beloved website traffic tracking company, Web-Stat, announced a new feature: Geo-Targeting. This nifty feature enables your website to automatically detect a visitor’s location and do neat things like showing a particular banner ad or other location-specific content. It also allows website owners to block all kinds of traffic to their websites by country, state, zipcode…and many other things. I thought, hmmm, why would someone want to block traffic? The answer: Spam Prevention!
There are two criteria that you should meet before you think about doing this. First, your business should have a defined region. There may be certain countries that you are 100% sure you don’t have clients in, or maybe don’t want clients in. Secondly, you get lots of spam from those same certain countries.
I meet both of these criteria. The vast majority of my clients are in North America. I’ve got one in Latin America, one in the UAE, had one in France…but in general, they’re in North America. And I routinely get lots of spam from two countries in particular: India and Russia. Spam costs me money because it takes me time to read and delete messages from these folks, and it’s also just plain annoying.
Take this example of an email I got yesterday afternoon from “Abubakar” with an email address of “email@example.com”:
“Hello,I have visited your web site but i found some of drawbacks i.e 1)your website has low Back links. 2)your keyword rankings are very low. If you assist me to introduce our SEO services.Ihope you get more sales for your current website. I will be waiting for your reply… Thanks & Regards, Abu.”
First off, I hate spam. And I detest spam that actually tries to frighten me or actually insults me in order to get my business. I’ve worked very hard on my own website’s search engine rankings, and this particular spam just sent me over the top. When I looked in my Web-Stat account, sure enough, the person who filled out my contact form was from India. And then I remembered seeing the Web-Stat notice that they had a new Geo Targeting feature!
Now, I get spam from India and Russia all the time. In fact, if you look at my website statistics, 3% of my website traffic comes from India. And I get solicitations several times a week asking me to outsource my work to India, join in a back-linking scam, give them SEO work, etc. The only people who call me on the phone, asking me to outsource, are people from India. I confess I’ve been annoyed by this incessant badgering – all from people in one particular country.
Russian folks seem to love to spam my blog. I don’t know why. But they just do. Most of the time Akismet catches the spam, but some get through. They have all these funky Russian characters in the comments. Again, I have to read them, and delete them, wasting my time.
I did a bit of quick research and learned that Russia was the third worst spammer country behind the US and China. Looking at the Click Fraud Index by Click Forensics, Russia also scores quite high, with India being medium. TrendMicro.com has Russia at #2 and India at #7 for worst spamming countries. So my personal experiences aren’t that much out of line with what’s going on out there in spammers and fraud world.
So today, I’ve decided to take Web-Stat up on it’s offer and block my countries of choice: India and Russia. Sure I’ll give up some of my traffic, and also give up the possibility of having a Indian or Russian client, but I think it’ a good trade-off to make to avoid the wasted time and aggravation. I’ll let you know how it goes!Jill
Aldebaran Web Design, Seattle
Jill Olkoski has a BS in Engineering, a BS in Computer Science and an MA in Clinical Psychology. She delights in using her advanced technical and psychological skills to help small business owners develop cost-effective and successful websites.