An Open Letter to on the Topic of Referrer Spam

Update, 11/16/2006: Pingdom responds.

Please note also that JDCDesigns is innocent:

Hello! Lately I’ve been noticing hits in my referrer logs from pages on which seem to be linking to my site, but when clicked through, do not actually exist. The false hits are coming from, which is a server on EV1 used by User agent is “Pingdom GIGRIB v1.1 (”. It seems the idea is to provide a pointer to an uptime monitoring page, but the link to the supposed page just 404s and redirects to the index page, which strikes me as being either buggy or deceptive. May I know why I would be getting what appears to be referrer log spam for from

Update: EV1 forum entry by JDC Designs regarding DNS problems caused by a spammer formerly at that IP. It looks like JDC may be suffering the misfortune of a bad server history, or some unpatched vulnerability.

Update: Response from Pingdom:

Our development team is doing some research which involves scanning off large parts of the Internet. It is not something specific for your site. A visit from us will not show up more than a maximum of 3-5 times per month, and will not take any more resources than a regular website visitor would (less, actually). We hope this is not a bother.

The hits are continuing, and it seems a lot more often than 3-5 times per month. Pingdom and JDCDesigns both appear to be legitimate services, but I wish that Pingdom would execute site crawls with a blank referrer, or else with a referrer pointing to a working page with an actual link to the site, so as to avoid the appearance of deceptive marketing practices. As it is, I consider this referrer spam.


  1. Robert Rolleston says:

    I have got the same thing on some of the domains I own. Why would they refer people to my site if they are just keeping track of uptime. And why would they be tracking my web page uptime?

  2. Ray says:

    This is just creepy. There’s no rhyme or reason why pingdom should be crawling my, or anyone elses site… unless they’ve signed up for the service.

  3. Anna says:

    I have been crawled by pingdom’s bot more than 5 times in a month. I have repeatedly requested them to cease all activity on my site. My web hosting company has written them and their IP provider telling them to cease all activity as well. The link that lead me to them was THAT IS CREEPY. Uptime my a$$. I have found other people’s site stats from pingdom posted online. They are offering a free month of service and a 70% off deal if you sign up for a year. On their site they recommend getting an “edge” over your competition. I guess this is how to do it. By spying. I am looking into my options, as they continually scan both of my sites. I suggest taking screen shots of all their activity in your stats page. This is a wide spread problem.

  4. Pingdom says:

    As we stated to you in our email correspondence, this is research and nothing else. Pingdom is gathering general statistics to be able to determine for example how fast the Internet is growing, how many servers there are, how many websites there are, and statistics of that nature. We are currently in the phase were we are building up our database, and will soon be launching a service where people can freely view this data.

    Crawling the Internet for statistics and information is nothing new. Search engines and other statistical tools have been doing this since the start of the Internet. The referrer link you mention will be leading to a stats page as soon as the service goes live. The page will contain very basic statistics about your site, such as IP address, country of your server, etc. We are not collecting any visitor statistics (this is impossible for us or anyone else to do anyway) or any private information.

    Pingdom’s main business is to monitor website uptime. This tool is not related to uptime, and we are developing it to be a useful supplement with statistics about the Internet, available publicly and for free, and we believe it will be very useful to a wide range of people who are interested in facts about the Internet. We most definitely don’t have any sinister purposes with this.

    (Regarding the “JDC Designs” that show up in your logs. That is unfortunately a pre-configured name on the server we are leasing from EV1 and out of our control. However, the referral and user agent should make it clear that the visit is from us.)

  5. Paulo says:

    The issue, “Pingdom,” isn’t the crawling, it’s the spoofed referrer in the headers. You say that will eventually point to a working page, but right now it just rewrites to the front page of Pingdom, a page which does not actually link to the site being crawled. So the name of Pingdom and the name of the crawled site are being search-engine optimized in’s favor in public referrer logs without any current reciprocal link.

    That’s referrer spam, and that’s unethical. I would not be complaining about this if the referrer field in the uptime crawler were blank, or led to an actual current, working page with an actual link to the site, the way the WHOIS.SC crawler does it. As it is, Pingdom’s in my blacklist.