The traffic rates displayed on various sites do not always mean that the website is very effective or that it is popular with many customers. Most of the traffic displayed by these sites are not really made by human audiences all the time, a huge percentage of them were generated by bots in ghost sites managed by publishers according to Adweek.
The tech news site revealed that publishers have put ghost sites to use them as venues for generating millions of fake hits. So far, this kind of technique works because publishers get up to billions of hits from them which is more than major sites like Yahoo!, Facebook and Google are capable of. These are actually provided by bots instead of actual human visitors reported the source. The purpose of the hits is to attract big companies into posting ads on their sites in exchange of serious cash.
So far, Adweek has identified six publishers who were suspected of performing auto-generation of false impressions. This was judging from the overwhelming traffic they usually get that can even top the major sites which were mentioned earlier. The six publishers are Precision Media, ALLABC.com, Alphabird, Woohoo Media, DigiMogul and Audience Ampllfy. All these sites somehow share a common pattern.
These publishers actually get millions up to billions of hits on a regular basis said Adweek. No matter how boring or how lame the postings in their associated sites seem to be, they still appear to attract a massive number of visitors. Every publisher also has few full-time employees which range from around two up to thirteen people only, though some of them claim that they engage in outsourcing.
The next common pattern observed by the news source is that some of them have uniform number of traffic in their linked sites. A bunch of sites they are running actually share the same number of hits most of the time. It is likely that their bots are only hopping in circles in the websites linked to them.
Another shared pattern is that a number of these sites do not actually have their ads strategically placed making real humans easy to miss them when visiting the site. Despite that, the number of clicks on the ads is still great with enormous figures that go with them.
Of course almost all of them had a good justification for their colossal number of hits during their interview with Adweek. So, it is really hard to confirm if the article is 100% accurate in its allegations.
So what are ghost publishers really?
Basically, ghost publishers are hard to identify because their tactics vary and evolve from time to time in order to avoid detection or suspicion from the companies they are dealing with. But their common modus operandi involve using bots to make false impressions on their websites in the form of hits. Then, the hits are sold to advertisers for the publisher to gain profit. Clicks can even be mimicked by these bots, although actual conversions are hard to copy.