A New Blog Parasite?

By Bob Litton

I wish I could play Paul Revere to all WordPress bloggers, but I only can expect to reach 46 of them (my “followers”). Oh well, maybe they will benefit from this warning.

Since the first of this year I have received “visitors” from odd places on the planet. Oh, I have counted “hits” from more than forty nations and dependencies since I started my blog 13 months ago. However, nearly all the dozen or so countries’ flags that have appeared on my stats page thus far this year have not been any of the regulars. The strangers include Thailand, Peru, Venezuela, etc. And the “referrer” that ushered them to my site calls itself “Semalt”.

If you enter that name in a Google “search” box you will find about half a dozen entries where, in some cases at least, the listings are by bloggers who are also curious about what or who Semalt is. None of the inquirers was entirely successful; but, combined, they bring in a sharper picture at least, depending on their level of cyber skills. One of the inquirers whose comments I read presented a very technical method for blocking “Semalt”; however, I am such a novice at computer lingo that I did not dare try it. You might fare better. Check them out.

The upshot is that there is a warning there to stay away from and ignore “Semalt”. The “referrer” asks for your email address and password but does not give you any substantial information about them up front.

What I am suspecting here is the use of “click farms” — places around the world where people, working for pitifully small wages, are “clicking” with their mouses (mice?) to indicate an interest in your site. Such “farms” have gained some notoriety of late for repetitively clicking “like” for various products, services or persons in order to register a false appearance of popularity. Although not exactly the same in purpose, this “Semalt” system seems similar in technique.

Of course, these false clickers can foul up one’s “stats” count, but, in my case I have already done a pretty good job of that. What I really regret losing is an accurate record of flags.

Don’t forget to investigate “Semalt” in your search engine. And ignore them otherwise.


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