Adminshop, Reffy, PRStorm, and Referrer Log “Marketing”

(A note to companies thinking of resorting to referrer log marketing: don’t. It’s annoying and unethical, it has little effect on your search engine rankings since most referrer logs are private, and your money is wasted on a few lines of code that any script kiddie could throw together in a few minutes. People — especially webmasters — will hate you, search engines will blacklist you, and the overall exposure to your business will be resoundingly negative. Case in point: why is this entry near the top of search listings without any help from referrer spam, and why are Reffy and “PRStorm” nowhere on the first page of results?)

The clear villain in the world of Referrer Spam is, makers of Reffy, software devoted to server-intensive referral log spamming. As near as I can gather, the owner of Adminshop is an Australian white supremacist who goes by the online handle of Odin. J-Walk, Richard@Home, and Tuxedo Jack have had runs-in with him and his poor ethical outlook, and Rui at TaoOfMac has actually given Reffy a try. Not only does it clutter up referrer logs, it also consumes site bandwidth, uses GET and closes sockets to consume CPU cycles, and relies on a zombie network of trojan-infected Windows PCs to work its evil. It’s more than an annoyance; it can work like a DDOS attack, slowing or even bringing down your website or server.

This is one of the “tools” on the web which, when rel="nofollow" gets widely implemented, will become ineffectual as a marketing strategy.

On a related note, Kalsey talks about taking down the automated form spammers, in an entry which, amusingly enough, is at the top of a Google search for such scripts, thus belying the effectiveness of such unethical marketing programs.

Update: On top of things as always, Ann Elisabeth has tons more info on the Reffy spammers.

Update: Reffy has renamed itself “PRStorm,” and got sold to some sucker who thinks it’ll help his business. One may as well have thrown the money spent on PRStorm in a trash can.