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61% of all web traffic ‘not human’

61% of all web traffic ‘not human’
Sunday February 23 2014

Nearly two thirds (61.5%) of all web traffic around the world comes from bots- both good and bad- according to new research.

According to a report from cloud app firm Incapsula, less than 40% of global web traffic comes from humans.

In fact, 31% of traffic comes from search engines and other "good bots," while the rest comes from malicious bots.

Compared to the previous report from 2012, there has been a 21% growth in total bot traffic, which now represents 61.5% of website visitors.

The bulk of that growth is attributed to increased visits by good bots (i.e., certified agents of legitimate software, such as search engines) whose presence increased from 20% to 31% in 2013. Looking at user-agent data there are two plausible explanations of this growth:

• Evolution of Web Based Services: Emergence of new online services introduces new bot types into the pool. For instance, we see newly established SEO oriented services that crawl a site at a rate of 30-50 daily visits or more.

• Increased activity of existing bots: Visitation patterns of some good bots (e.g., search engine type crawlers) consist of re-occurring cycles. In some cases we see that these cycles are getting shorter and shorter to allow higher sampling rates, which also results in additional bot traffic.

The report also found that 31% of Bots are still malicious, but with much fewer Spammers. While the relative percentage of malicious bots remains unchanged, there is a noticeable reduction in Spam Bot activity, which decreased from 2% in 2012 to 0.5% in 2013. The most plausible explanation for this steep decrease is Google’s anti-spam campaign, which includes the recent Penguin 2.0 and 2.1 updates.
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