Spamming Referer Logs

By Deane Barker on January 4, 2004

Spammers have sunk to a new low: spamming HTTP referer logs. Now that a lot of bloggers display referer hits, and a lot of bloggers monitor them to see where they’re getting links from, spammers have started sending HTTP requests with their site as the referer, just to get people to follow the links out of curiosity.

Doc Searls noted this phenomenon with Joe Leiberman’s campaign site. The URL “” appeared in his referer logs. Since Doc has no link from Leiberman’s campaign site, and the lone querystring argument indicates that someone is trying to track a clickthrough, it seems that this was inserted there just so a webmaster would follow the link. Looking through my logs, I have this referer too.

Also, just like Doc, I have a referer in my logs to a blog solely about the Paris Hilton sex video. Needless to say, there is no link on that site to Gadgetopia. And here’s one to a porn site in Germany. And, yes, I followed both these links because I was trying to figure out why, how, and in what context they linked to my site.

I don’t know if I’m more irritated that spammers are pushing their way into every last piece of Internet life, or if I’m more irritated that I fell for it. Not to mention that they just knew I was so narcissistic that I’d be monitoring my own referers.

Before I saw the think on Doc’s site and put two and two together, I was blithely following these referer links, trying to figure them out. Score one for the spammers, I suppose.

What Links Here


  1. I’ve written about this in my blog. To find it, go to whizspark dot com slash blog slash 12/20/03. Many Many people have experienced the Paris Hilton Referrer spam blog issue.

  2. Referer logs can be syndicated and a good number of blogs do post their most recent referers on their front page. Just another way of driving up their (spammers) google ranking as well I suppose.

    Honestly, if I wanted to see the Paris Hilton video I’d go looking for it long before somebody spammed me about it. BTW, it’s not that good. Kinda green and grainy. Not that I’ve seen it mind you. That’s just what I’ve heard.

Comments are closed. If you have something you really want to say, tweet @gadgetopia.