Different Types Of Bots

With bots making up over half of all Web traffic, an unprotected website can quickly become a magnet for bad bots. Hence, it’s important to know the composition of your web traffic to identify and block undesirable bots, both the good kind and the bad. Bad bots have malicious intentions and are generally programmed to carry out content and price scraping, form spam, account takeover, bid sniping, ticket scalping, and other harmful activities.

A website trying to block or mitigate bot traffic must do so without stopping any of the good bots, which perform a range of useful functions such as indexing websites, fetching information, booking tickets, providing important alerts, and much more. Bear in mind that even unchecked good bot traffic can sometimes result in undesirable outcomes.

Types of Good Bots

Good bots are legitimate bots whose actions are beneficial to your website. These bots crawl your website for search engine optimization (SEO), aggregation of information, obtaining market intelligence and analytics, and more. Selectively stopping one or all of these types of good bots is advisable only if necessary for your business or marketing objectives. However, inadvertently blocking good bots may reduce the visibility your website gets on search engines and other social platforms.

  1. Monitoring bots

    (e.g. Pingdom) ─ Bots that are used to monitor uptime and system health of the websites. These bots periodically check and report on page load times, downtime duration, and status.

  2. Backlink Checker bots

    (e.g. UAS Link Checker) ─ These bots check the inbound URLs a website is getting so that marketers and SEO specialists can derive insights and optimize their site accordingly.

  3. Social Network bots

    (e.g. Facebook Bot) ─ Bots that are run by social networking websites that give visibility to your website and drive engagement on their platforms.

  4. Partner bots

    (e.g. PayPal IPN) ─ Partner bots that are useful to websites and carry out tasks, transactions and provide essential business services.

  5. Aggregator/ Feed fetcher bots

    (e.g. WikioFeedBot) ─ Bots that collate information from websites and keeps users or subscribers updated on news, events or blog posts.

  6. Search Engine Crawler bots

    ─ These bots or spiders crawl and index web pages to make them available on search engines like Google, Bing, etc. You can control their crawl rates and specify rules in your site’s ‘robots.txt’ file for these crawlers to follow when indexing your web pages.

Types of Bad Bots

  1. Scraper bots

    ─ These bots are programmed to steal content such as prices and product information so that they can undermine the pricing strategies of the target website. Competitors often use third-party scrapers to perform this illegal act, and the unprotected website’s competitive advantage is usurped by the scraper and other competitors.

  2. Spam bots

    Spam bots primarily target community portals, blog comment sections and lead collection forms. They interfere with user conversations, troll users, and insert unwanted advertisements, links and banners. This frustrates genuine users participating in forums and commenting on blog posts. Often, these spam bots insert links to phishing and malware-laden sites or target unsuspecting users into divulging sensitive information like bank accounts and passwords.

  3. Scalper bots

    These bots target ticketing websites to purchase hundreds of tickets as soon as bookings open and sell them to reseller websites at many times the original cost of the ticket. The original unprotected ticketing website stands to lose genuine customers because of their inability to purchase tickets at the original cost.

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