How annoying is it when you see that you’ve got a new Twitter follower or a reply (“I bet someone loved that last clever bon mot I sent into the Internetz!”) only to have it turn out to be a bot telling you to click on some link to get new followers? It stinks, and I’m pretty sure no one likes bots. Especially not online advertisers, who reportedly lose around $1.5 billion every year in ad spending because of such software bots.
According to the makers of an online advertising platform, Solve Media, 10% of all online traffic is generated by bots. That is a big bummer for anyone shelling out big money to lure in real, live people and get them to click on their ads. Fake clickers could cause publishers and advertisers to basically lose $1.5 billion with their fake clicks, notes CNET.
Since 2011 there’s been a 400% increase in “aberrant traffic” in a variety of online areas like commenting, voting, or any kind of registration. But with computer programs acting like humans and making up fake users accounts or posting spammy content, that surge in traffic doesn’t mean as much.
No one likes a bot chiming in or getting up in your business, but at least for those of us not in the advertising industry, it’s just an annoyance and not an actual loss, business-wise. That incentive to rid the world of such spammy creatures could help the rest of us — perhaps if advertisers keep hemorrhaging money to bots, someone can come up with a way to get rid of them once and for all. Or they’ll evolve into cylons and we’ll all be in for some trouble.