Can Blog Posts Go Viral with the Help of Bots?
While working on MB, we have discovered many ways in which people are cheating online. Bots are the main tool that many blackhat hackers are employing in their cheat tactics. Bots are a serious problem on the Internet in the recent few years. They create problems for site owners who are analysing their website traffic to convert visitors to paying customers and also play a pivotal role in criminal activities like ad fraud. Aside from all the fraudulent online activities that are on going with bots. The idea of bot usage has got me thinking about the possibility of going viral with the help of bots?
My hypothesis is this: Bot traffic will help drive viral traffic.
I am toying with the idea that bots when used to cheat can help bring an initial blog post to the point of break out into a real viral post. The thinking behind this is that people are curious by nature and anything that suggest any sort of popularity will attract or drive people towards it. The tools we have today to weed out bot traffic are few. Among the available tools, many of them are slow and clumsy to use like static blacklists that need to be constantly updated. Therefore, many blogging platforms have no means to really detect or manage dynamic bot traffic. In fact, the irony is that many blogging platforms will prefer quantity traffic rather than quality traffic. This means that it is very easy to cheat and get your post in front of other more popular posts. This unfair advantage can help determine the difference between virality or mediocrity.
As part of an attempt to prove my hypothesis, I have devised an experiment to see if this can really be achieved. The experiment is to conduct multiple blog posts. Some with bot assistance and others without. Tracking the difference between how people respond to these posts will be interesting.
My guess is that fraudsters have been doing bot traffic for a long time, its just that we never knew about their dirty little secret. So for what its worth, let the bot experiments begin!
Originally published at blog.malleablebyte.org on August 6, 2015.