Ivorian Fashion Designer Loses Money And Falls Victim To Fake Website Traffic

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Make sure you check out the new items in the FashionGHANA.com Boutique
Make sure you check out the new items in the FashionGHANA.com Boutique

 


This topic is broader than fashion and mainly related to website owners and those that wish to advertise on websites, but we thought we would share it for the few in the fashion industry that fall in this category.

We received a call for an Ivorian designer (anonymous) looking to advertise on FashionGHANA.com. Although she was uncertain as she had previously paid for an advert on entertainment website in another country but received no feed back.

She explained to us that the website owner approached her breaking a deal at an event, then later forwarded an email bragging about the ratings and views, and emailed her two websites to justify their popularity before she went ahead parting with a hefty sum of money. So what I did was open a discussion to make things clearer for her as below.

The general gist of media finances comes from advertisers and or paid articles/features (advertorials), and all clients want to know one thing, that is how much hits do your website receive. Once you are able to prove to clients that you have a high feed of visitation, then bargaining works more on the side of the website owners.

stat4When print was once the prime source of text information, magazine publishers would simply lie about the number of copies they printed. For example if they printed 6000 copies they could claim 15,000. After all, which advertiser ever sat down and counted them magazines out of a box? Now comes the world of blogging, with website like websiteoutlook.com and alexa.com, one can be certain of view counts by using these accredited websites to see how many views their adverts are likely to get. Although, is that really the truth?

 

Here is where the problem occurs, some traffic is orchestrated by tech geniuses and not genuine public visit. I once learnt about this from a young Nigerian lady who managed to win an online competition I held a few years back with an extraordinary number of votes. 2 years later, she confessed in a catch up conversation, I laughed it off on the phone, but all I thought was ‘You Better Have My Money!’

She mentioned as she was seeking help for votes in an internet cafe, she met a computer tech genius who taught her a trick of ip blocking. Your IP (internet protocol) address is the identity you are recognized by online. Where some functions recognise you and even may ban you or limit you activities based on your ip address. Ie. trying logging into facebook too many times with the wrong password, voting online where you are only allowed to vote once with no other data collection. Or the website greetings that says welcome back. All of this is recognized by the ip identification.

Most traffic websites collect and calculate data by the various ip. What if someone was able to mask their IP address every time they visit a website? Then every time they visit the website, it will count as a new visitor. Now, what if someone was able to execute this whilst having an automatic browser refresh function to their website. It’s simple, they could be reaching over 5000 hits a day at their best. This number is all it takes to be among some of the top websites in many countries as well as met many advertisers targets.

In fact, if this is too much, there are online services that will do this for you, just simply google fake website hits. Til today I am not aware of one traffic website that has been able to identify traffic around this tech trick.

Not many entertainment blogs do this or even have the motive to, but there is a small handful of entertainment blogs in Ghana and Nigeria that execute this. There are various ways to spot them out, but you will need to be very internet savvy and analyse the further details provided by the traffic websites to catch unusual records.

For example, if a website is popular to any extent, will at least spill over to other countries. When checking their alexa.com ranking on more details, look out to see if there are hits from alternative countries or if the hits are just simply from one country it is evidence it could mostly be from the cheating source. Check data collection, ie. age groups, sex, etc. A blocked i.p. blocking software will not provide these for alexa.com results. You can also check how well they play on a google search for particular topics they cover.

Genuine Stats of popular Nigerian Entertainment website BellaNaija.com
Genuine Stats of popular Nigerian Entertainment website BellaNaija.com
 
Example of stats with not many views to Generate much data, impossible for a website with lots of viewership.
Example of stats with not many views to Generate much data, impossible for a website with lots of viewership. The result of the said website which apparently is ranked highly in Nigeria with 4500 hits a day.

However, if you are not so internet savvy, then watch out for the following. How well is the blog talked about, how active is it, what is their engagement on the website, or in social networks. Sometimes the developers are clueless and most even display their most popular article showing hit counts, how justified is that number compared to the visitation they sell.

All this helps your final conclusion, however some blogs are popular but will still maintain false traffic to meet clients targets, which might then make it hard to judge by the information just provided.

 
You can never tell unless you are able to analyse the situation and result to a basic conclusion. This is not to discourage anyone from advertising on websites. If chosen well you would hit the right market faster than social networking sites.

One can always question other previous advertisers satisfaction, or simply advertise out of the goodwill of supporting your preferred website/blogger. Sometimes is it best to target websites simply for the fact they touch into your market, as opposed to chasing highly visited sites where viewers are less likely to notice your advert.

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