A letter from Semalt. (Further adventures in blogland…)

20 Jan

semaltskullwarning

Update: 12/03/2014: Since this post was aired, “S” (I will not mention their name, just like in Harry potter!) seem to think it’s ok to refer folks to this post to allay fears about them. I can assure you since this post was published, my opinions have changed a great deal, and that they are most definitely up to dodginess and no good.

I want to make it quite clear to you readers, that the Grinning Skull blog is firmly against any site like this trying to make out they are genuine and operate to the benefit of the public. They seem to think that this post they linked to will make them seem like they have engaged in dialog with small website owners and bloggers, and despite the light hearted way the article is phrased, anyone reading should remember that these jokers might really be a serious threat. I am not allowed to comment via their blog or facebook (and now G+), so could not put across my point over there, therefore I’ve added an update here, where they cannot stifle or silence my views.

Be warned, avoid, avoid, avoid. Many of us are convinced they are up to no good, so indeed feel free to share this newly updated post and lets warn others about them.

Thanks people.

You might remember my recent letter to semalt.com in my previous post, and the concerns that many of you out there in blogland and beyond had for the recent hits from their site on many of our sites.

I’m glad to say, that they have been good to their word and replied back with some words to allay any fears and misconceptions about the “semalt mystery” (Many thanks to Chris for the help!)

Anyway, here’s the reply:

Dear Will Grundy,

Thanks you for your explicate and frank letter.

To begin with Semalt (http://semalt.com/) is not a phishing or spam site, but a professional keyword ranking monitoring service that has nothing to do with CIA, NSA, Snowden, Masonic conspiracy or the World Evil.

I would like to bring apology on the behalf of our company if you had some troubles using our service.

Our company doesn’t hide or conceal any sort of information and soon the details about our company, team, as well as our contacts, various user tutorials and blog will appear on our website. Today we work foot and nail getting everything ready. And I’m ready to inform you about this personally as soon as everything becomes available.

Our bots have accidently visited your site, as well as the sites of other webmasters you have mentioned. These bots harvest statistics for our service and cause no harm. I don’t think this can be an issue, since nobody complains on bots that belong to Google, Bing and other search engines. There are so many services on the web that are believed to mess up the webmaster’s statistics. Now, would you have a look at this http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/apple.com? How does that grab you? Should Apple hire some headhunters to capture their owners? Today a lot of people become paranoic after all these mass media reports. But let’s come down to earth…

BTW, by the keyword Semalt you take 8th and 14th places in the Google search engine – http://myprintscreen.com/s/3sjj. Nice results. The number of your visitors is sure to have greatly increased J

I might add that I find your blog very interesting and curious. I have a lot of friends fond of zombie stuff and I would be glad to recommend it to them.

P.S. You are the first one who believes that “Semalt” sounds “a bit awkward”. And I hope the number of users who think the same won’t be growing. Otherwise, we’ll have to register our company from scratch and waste heaps of time and money.

So there you have it, I do think we can finally put to rest any fears about semalt, as they do seem to be what many of us thought they were in the first place (I wouldn’t have joined up to investigate if I truly had doubts about them) and indeed the are just another SEO keyword optimization thingmy jig website! (As in the recent PRweb press release)

In this day and age of international snooping, data theft and crime, it’s all too easy to get paranoid, especially as many of us don’t understand technology well enough to make informed decisions about what goes off in the web, but at the same time, companies like semalt need to realise that technobabble isn’t going to be totally understood by many of us, and in order to make things a little clearer in the average net users head, they need to engage in more human forms of contact and lay things out properly for all to see.

I do hope you’ll share this round to others who might have had concerns about Semalt.

I still don’t like the name though!

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81 Responses to “A letter from Semalt. (Further adventures in blogland…)”

  1. Steve January 20, 2014 at 7:05 pm #

    That still doesn’t answer why they have IP addresses from all over the place doing repeated calls to the home page (I had 8 in 3 seconds from 1 IP address) using exactly the same referrer URL….

    I still don’t trust them and I’m sure that most of this is being done to some how garner their own search rankings

    Like

  2. Andrew Spiers January 22, 2014 at 11:00 am #

    I have just checked the logs to my website and Semalt currently account for over 50% of the traffic. Approx. 50 hits in the last 24 hours.

    They referred me here when I complained. Google visits my site approx. once per month. No comparison.

    Like

    • grimace73 January 22, 2014 at 11:56 am #

      Sorry to hear that Andrew, you’ve just been experiencing much the same as a lot of us out there.
      Please don’t think for one moment that I am endorsing them in any way, it’s true they have pretty bad manners in regard to their online activity, but I just hope they don’t think that this blog is going to start some kind of semalt complaint resolution, customer services type of service for them!
      Regardless of the answers they gave in the message, it’s not going to change peoples attitude to them with their hijinks and all this bother.
      My advice is to send them more emails to complain, or persue taking it higher (I’m not sure how, but you could if you knew what you’re doing)
      I’m just hoping that eventually they’ll just disappear up their own arse sometime soon and leave everyone alone…….

      Like

      • Andrew Spiers January 22, 2014 at 12:15 pm #

        I don’t think that you are endorsing Semalt – far from it.

        I am going to see if I can block them from my website but they come in from several sources.

        I am going to keep my discussions with them in public on twitter.

        Like

      • grimace73 January 22, 2014 at 12:24 pm #

        Semalt are just digging a big hole for themselves really, all this hassle is doing them no favours at all, the negative press that’s building up on the web is surely going to impact on them surely in the end.
        I was reading this earlier, in regards to blocking them, which may be of use: http://logorrhoea.net/2014/01/how-to-block-semalt-com-referrer-traffic-using-htaccess/.
        I think keeping your discussions with them public is a good idea, keep blagging them for answers!
        Tell them I said hi!

        Like

  3. Andrew Spiers January 22, 2014 at 2:17 pm #

    I have been tweeting them whenever they visit my website;

    Another 5 visits from @SemaltCom – this time from Argentina. I hope they are enjoying my website – they do seem to visit A LOT.

    23 visitors to my website today and 20 of them are @SemaltCom. I wonder what it is that they find so interesting?

    Another 4 hits from @SemaltCom. This time from Brazil. I seem to be popular in South America at the moment.

    This seems to trigger a visit to my website from the Ukraine;

    Science-production Association Information Technol (91.209.51.35)
    1 returning visit
    Ukraine FlagKiev, Kyyiv, Ukraine

    22 Jan 11:03:29 – (No referring link)
    22 Jan 13:55:12 – semalt.com/project3.php?project=9952

    I am sure there will be more to follow.

    Like

    • grimace73 January 22, 2014 at 2:33 pm #

      Since I started blogging about Semalt, hits from there slowed down. Now I only get a few occasional ones, but what I think is strange, is that considering I have been blogging about them, most of any additional hits I have received have been from people looking for an explanation about them!

      Like

      • Andrew Spiers January 23, 2014 at 10:34 am #

        In the end I emailed alex@semalt.com who has removed my site from their system.

        Like

      • grimace73 January 23, 2014 at 3:12 pm #

        Maybe that’s what has happened to me? Out of everybody effected, I’ve had only about 40-50 all time, so even so I find myself blogging about it, it’s more out of morbid curiosity (and to help other bloggers find out about them)
        Has this helped stop hits from your site? If that’s so, that maybe the plan for others to use!

        Like

      • Andrew Spiers January 23, 2014 at 3:17 pm #

        So far, for the past 12 hours, no more hits. I did ask Alex whether they followed the rules in robots.txt but he didn’t reply.

        Like

      • grimace73 January 23, 2014 at 3:35 pm #

        I would imagine they don’t want too many people to know how to block them, so that might be why he’s not replied.
        If I put up anymore posts about semalt, i’ll let them know that this method looks like it’s the easiest option!

        Like

  4. Darren January 22, 2014 at 6:45 pm #

    Semalt are using a botnet (that’s innocent people’s computers which have been infected with a virus) to spam thousands of blogs with fake referrer spam. These visits are aimed at those webmaster who publish a list of top referrers on their homepage but the they are targeting sites indiscriminately.

    The response from Semalt you have published in good faith is not true.

    Like

  5. JDriver January 23, 2014 at 6:34 pm #

    I’ve just had a load of bot hits from Semalt myself, messing up my stats. Their technique of trying to gain hits seems to be against Google’s guidelines so I’ve reported them for Black Hat techniques. I urge others to do the same. https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/spamreportform?hl=en

    Like

    • grimace73 January 23, 2014 at 6:41 pm #

      Thanks, I just did using the link.

      I’ll pop this in the next post about semalt to let others know!

      Like

  6. Stevr January 29, 2014 at 3:41 pm #

    Just to let you know that semalt are now linking to this post from their facedbook claiming that you are convinced they are totally legit.. They also describe you as a customer

    Like

    • grimace73 January 29, 2014 at 3:56 pm #

      Thanks for your comment,

      Well, they have some cheek, and I can assure everyone that while I may think they are just some two-bit SEO company, I don’t approve of them what so ever. I might have an account with them (only because I was investigating what they were) but it hardly makes me a customer.
      I’ll check out FB later and leave them a few choice words!!! Cheeky F*@kers!!

      Like

      • Steve January 30, 2014 at 6:54 am #

        I saw your comments on their post but they seem have vanished. Was that you or are they going on the defensive?

        Like

      • grimace73 February 5, 2014 at 9:37 am #

        Thanks Steve, yes that was them taking off my comments. I think that somehow they’re always going to try and silence people’s real views about them, so I’ll be putting up a final post about them later!

        Like

  7. Durams Servers January 29, 2014 at 10:50 pm #

    Legit company does not use spoofers. These cockeaters run a botnet that visits your website from real computers all over the world, these computers were hacked into for this and other illegitimate purposes. Their response might look trustworthy to people that have no idea how this works. Do some research for yourself, do NOT trust them!

    Like

    • grimace73 February 5, 2014 at 9:35 am #

      Thanks for your message, I agree, this company is the pits. Even so the reply they gave tries to make them look cosher and trustworthy, there’s still a long way to go in terms of their conduct.

      Like

  8. Plano, TX Weather... (@PlanoTXWX) February 8, 2014 at 10:54 pm #

    Semalt is accounting for a huge portion of my traffic with IP’s from all over South America. I want them to go away! Pests, is the word that comes to mind. Also, Tweeter has suspended their account, and since I don’t do FaceBook I can;t tell if they have suspended also.

    Like

    • grimace73 February 9, 2014 at 1:40 am #

      Thanks for the comment, I’d not heard that their twitter account had been banned! At least the big sites are catching on to the fact that semalt are nothing but spammers, hopefully soon they’ll disappear…

      Like

      • penguin995 February 21, 2014 at 4:11 pm #

        They have an active twitter account @semalt_com which I got onto them on Wednesday, asking them to stop trawling/crawling my various blogs, they assured me this would be done and no more visits from them, this however has’nt happened as yet, so getting back onto them today

        Like

      • grimace73 February 24, 2014 at 2:19 pm #

        I wish you luck in dealing with them, but I fear that all they ever come out with is just lies and nonsense.
        Even so now, they have started to converse with us webmasters and bloggers, they talk rubbish.
        Maybe they should take up a career in politics, since they don’t ever give a proper answer to our questions!

        Like

      • penguin995 February 24, 2014 at 2:30 pm #

        I’ve now spoken with them a 2nd time about their webcrawler/bots messing up my stats and they have now assured me that they’ve removed all my blogs, apparently they’d missed one of them off, which does seem accurate as all the others stopped showing evidence of them.
        Here’s hoping more bloggers start contacting them and complaining, I contacted them via Twitter as was not willing to skype or email them, I’d suggest anyone who does contact them writes a post about their dealings with them, as I’m sure they’d enjoy the bad publicity 🙂

        Like

      • penguin995 February 24, 2014 at 2:42 pm #

        On the subject of spam stats, I’m getting lots of spam referrals from Blogger sites that lead back to nikola tesla free energy blogs, bloddy annoying spam they are indeed, keep reporting them via Blogger Abuse page, but there’s about 20 variations of this Blog, so no sooner have I blocked one, then another appears in my stats.

        Like

      • grimace73 February 24, 2014 at 3:07 pm #

        Me too, not anything to do with Tesla, just weird referral sites that don’t even link to my site. Sometimes Thai electrical retailers or tool hire, or even weirder!
        If I thought these had anything to do with the dreaded “S” folks…but that’d make me look slightly paranoid!
        Spam is one of those things that will never go away when it comes to the web, even proper legit stuff borders on spam, and even if you remove it successfully, for every one there are always going to be many more that pop up to take their place!!
        At least WP has the new spam referrer feature that might help!

        Like

      • penguin995 February 24, 2014 at 3:13 pm #

        Spam referrer feature ? where’s that ? can’t see it on mine, though I’m self-hosted, so might not be available unless your on wordpress.com 😦

        Like

      • grimace73 February 24, 2014 at 3:19 pm #

        It’s in the stats, in the section where your referrers are, and should come up with “Spam?” when you hover over each one. I don’t know if its the same for self-hosted blogs.

        Like

  9. Markus February 10, 2014 at 6:23 am #

    Well, all that does not explain why their page appears to show Google Ads with my adsense-id?

    Like

    • grimace73 February 10, 2014 at 6:54 pm #

      I wouldn’t have any idea about that! I’m not really that great when it comes to stuff like that, so maybe you need to pose your question to the people at google, who deal with adsense. All I know is that they are extremely dubious, so I wouldn’t put anything past them!

      Like

      • Scott Lawson February 24, 2014 at 12:34 pm #

        They could have been a legit company, but chose to use spammy techniques to generate publicity, and in the process annoying all possible future customers. There are plenty of other services that do what they do, without feeling the need to engage in spammy techniques to attract attention. If you look at their Twitter feed (@semaltcom) they are giving all sorts of inconsistent responses. They claim their service will help blogs get more subscribers. They’re a search ranking tool, all they can do is help you see how you are ranking. I wouldn’t trust any company that uses spammy techniques to try and get attention as it gives you an idea of what they believe is “right”. They, and others like them, make it a hassle for websites to truly report on their website stats.

        Like

      • grimace73 February 24, 2014 at 2:15 pm #

        I agree, they could have been more professional in their conduct, and this has all blown up in their face.
        No matter what they do from now on, this issue will continue to hound them. I really can’t see any blog owners seriously using them either, no matter how many times they try to cover up public dis-satisfaction with their actions, they won’t silence the critics!
        I just wish we could find a way to report them and get them banned or chastised, then all of us could mount an offensive!

        Like

  10. E Marie Broussard March 1, 2014 at 2:19 pm #

    Thanks for this post. I’ve been getting hits from semalt on one of my blogs…you’ve allayed my fears. I agree though, not a fan of the name! http://www.alchemyriver.com

    Like

    • grimace73 March 4, 2014 at 2:02 pm #

      Aye, it’s true the name still reminds me of crispy potato snacks!

      Like

  11. Seath March 5, 2014 at 6:16 pm #

    If you want to block semalt.com from visiting your site and making havoc with your statistics add this to the end of your .htaccess file….

    SetEnvIfNoCase Via evil-spam-proxy spammer=yes
    SetEnvIfNoCase Referer evil-spam-domain.com spammer=yes
    SetEnvIfNoCase Referer evil-spam-keyword spammer=yes
    SetEnvIfNoCase Via pinappleproxy spammer=yes
    SetEnvIfNoCase Referer semalt.com spammer=yes
    SetEnvIfNoCase Referer poker spammer=yes

    Order allow,deny
    Allow from all
    Deny from env=spammer

    Like

  12. Sabina March 7, 2014 at 11:35 am #

    I did a little research on them and frankly I’m not convinced. From all reputable SEO places there is nothing about them, plus they’ve done a lot of outreach work to spread the word via blogs and articles and press releases. However no reputable SEO forum has anything to say on the topic, not even Google. They appear on every site that I manage apart from newly launched sites (of which I’m sure they will soon start to appear!). There is a serious issue of misconduct here. If indeed they are a legitimate company then they won’t mind explaining how they are managing getting these referrals to our sites on such a mass scale. I look forward to hearing what they have to say!

    Like

    • grimace73 March 7, 2014 at 2:03 pm #

      It’s been a while since I posted this article,and even so I mentioned that I didn’t think they were anything to worry about, my opinions have changed somewhat about them.
      I totally agree that they are pretty loathsome in their tactics, and their methods leave a lot to be desired.
      Since this business started I got hit with a suspension from wordpress just because the admin system regards “S” (I don’t want to even mention them by name) as spammers. I even get traffic directed from their blog in their post over there, trying to convince people that they are legitimate, which is why my site banner now says in a tagline “Oh yeah, F**k you S*****t.com”, just so anyone directed from them gets a truer idea of just how bad they really are.
      Countless times I tried to post comments on their various Facebook and blog posts, only to find they deleted me (So OK, I did swear at them, and call them all names under the sun, but it wasn’t just me!)
      They go a long way about trying to cover up any negative press they get, I almost thought they were in league with WP when I got banned!
      I do urge you to complain in as many ways as possible to whatever agencies and such as you can think, as should everyone who has a beef with them, maybe one of us disgruntled webmasters or bloggers might eventually find their achilles heel and bring them down in the end, but for now I’m done blogging about them, I don’t want to give them an upper hand and get me suspended again!
      I think its going to be a case of reaping what you sow when it comes to them and (fingers crossed) eventually they’ll get whats coming to them!

      Like

  13. Dave Johnson March 9, 2014 at 7:23 pm #

    Semalt is screwing up my site stats, period. I don’t care what they have to say about being benign. Semalt is a cancer on the web. My opinion.

    Like

    • grimace73 March 9, 2014 at 8:34 pm #

      Its been a while since I posted this, and I have to agree with you.
      I just don’t know what any of us can do about them, if only there was a way to get them shut down.
      I have been told they are based in the Ukraine, so if in the event that Russia take over there, maybe they’ll shut down the servers there and take them out!
      (Well, we can live in hope!)

      Like

  14. Bryn Wills March 14, 2014 at 12:58 pm #

    Thank you – your posts have been very helpful. 🙂 I believe you to be correct that they are spammers. I just got a hit from them, and it wouldn’t make sense for me to be getting a hit from them if they were legitimate. I am a beginner fashion blogger, and I don’t earn money through my Blog, nor do I currently have an online business. So..? Hahaha, there is no way they are legit. 😄 Anyway, I absolutely loved your letter to them – I was laughing so hard! Thank you for your helpful posts. ^_^ …As a general Rule of Thumb, I don’t click on unknown sites in my Blog stats, but run a Google search on the site name. Most of the time unknown sites are spammers. By not clicking on their link, they usually seem to go away within a few weeks. 🙂

    Like

    • grimace73 March 14, 2014 at 2:37 pm #

      Hi Bryn, thanks for your comment.

      Glad you liked the letter, I’ve been really wanting to send them more amusing/offensive open letters since they barred me from posting comments on their blog and FB page, but since WP keep trying to suspend me for breach of their TOS, I have to be careful.
      What I’m planning to do is another update with links to a newly formed facebook group dedicated to bringing them down (more on that later…)
      A lot of people with the “S” spam referral problem also have thought the same as you, only to find that they once again get back to their old tricks with the referrals at a later date, so my advice is block them, or email them to tell them to do it from their side.
      They are tricky folks, so be careful as we all still really don’t quite know if they are a proper business and aren’t up to more sinister games….:)

      Like

  15. mmmee March 23, 2014 at 7:43 am #

    Have you any info for us to look at to confirm your claims of this botnet?

    Well, all that does not explain why their page appears to show Google Ads with my adsense-id?

    I wouldn’t have any idea about that! I’m not really that great when it comes to stuff like that, so maybe you need to pose your question to the people at google, who deal with adsense. All I know is that they are extremely dubious, so I wouldn’t put anything past them!

    “get me suspended again!”

    excuse me… you got yourself suspended.

    ” but since WP keep trying to suspend me for breach of their TOS, I have to be careful.”
    “be careful as we all still really don’t quite know ”
    which ‘WE’ is that? the editorial we or you an’ god or should I say, you an’ google?

    Like I said… your hair is on fire… go take a cold shower.

    Like

    • grimace73 March 23, 2014 at 1:44 pm #

      Take a look elsewhere if you need proof of a botnet,its all over the net with other pissed off webmasters and the semalt crawler.
      I’ll be getting onto google about them, and if your so concerned about adsense, maybe you should contact them yourself as I don’t have to deal with that aspect since I don’t have to.
      Yeah, I got myself suspended, but I still blame them, in fact I’d blame them for the decline of western civilisation if I want, or the death of my late parents, or in fact anything I fucking well like, so what? They are twats of the highest order.
      “We” is used as I am addressing the readership as a collective, to which I’m assuming the amount of readers who are coming through my site to find out about semalt and what the fuck it is, God doesn’t even come into it since god is dead and google means very little to me either. You seem to be more concerned with them, why don’t you ask them for their thoughts?While your there, ask your god too.
      My hair is out now, next time it’s lit, I’ll ask if you have any more piss to put it out for me.
      Listen, realistically I really don’t give a fuck about what you think of me, and yes I am pedantic, egocentric, maniacal and a cunt of truly the highest order, if I do say so my self, but masked in my sarcasm and profanity, I’m merely trying to provide a bit of info about a shady company that there is genuine concern about, when hardly anything proper explanations exist.
      You’ll forgive my apathy if you have taken anything personally with what I’ve written, but again don’t read my blog if your offended by my manner, but you seem a bit obsessed about me taking a shower, so I’m more concerned that you seem to want to see me naked!
      I’m flattered (I think…?)

      Like

      • Scott Lawson March 23, 2014 at 2:29 pm #

        Perhaps it’s the anti-virus/malware companies that need to be made aware. S*** could also be using Tor, Amazon, or proxy providers, so if you have any actual IPs they’re using reverse lookups can be used to determine who they belong to (to determine whether it is a bot-net, or other means. Bot net or not, it’s the affect on webmasters that is the problem. The average user isn’t going to notice/care if they have malware that is doing this as it isn’t actually hurting them (although who knows, maybe these mysterious “stats” they’re harvesting are peoples credit card & bank details).

        I’m also quite surprised to see someone have a go at you grimace73 (if that is your real name ;), especially as that person doesn’t seem to be one of the You’ve been caught up in this and trying to do something about it. There is not one single mention on the internet that is positive about them, other than their own comments.

        Also, most people who claim to be “pedantic, egocentric, maniacal and a cunt of truly the highest order” are usually not, they’re usually nice people. It’s people who claim to be nice who are usually that. If my website got taken down due to no fault of my own I would be very annoyed also!

        mmmee’s website look’s like it’s from the late 90s so they’re clearly not associated with S****. They have no analytics running on their website (other than a hit counter!) so they wouldn’t be experiencing the annoyances of us with websites built and designed in the 2010s

        Don’t take a cold shower, you have work to do!

        I hope at least this is bringing traffic to your website as a positive side effect of all this.

        Like

      • grimace73 March 23, 2014 at 3:32 pm #

        Thanks for your message Scott,
        Yeah, the jury is still out about what they are really up to, all I know is that they are very shady! I agree that the bigger web companies need to get involved possibly, I shot an email to complain to google a while ago, but all I got was some automated response about how they are always concerned about possible spammers and nothing since. I think it’s going to require a real person to deal with at their end (Of which I’m collecting the right contact details now, so hopefully I’ll find the correct department to get a human answer) It’s true that “S” could indeed be collecting data from our sites for criminal purposes, and if it were the case, it could be why they are targeting smaller sites to avoid detection as none of us would know how or what to do to stop them.

        As far as the commenter goes, they aren’t the first to have a go at me, just I usually don’t publish the nasty stuff since I don’t see the point in getting side tracked in a slanging match, its not really worth it. I do try and start by being as polite as I can, but somedays I want to vent off a bit of steam when I’m having a bad hair day (like today, I’ve had stress from all sides in my household!) so my manners tend to go out of the window!
        I don’t like to swear too much on the net, but I don’t see why she was so bothered about, even on G+ she was telling me to get a shower (I’d let her join me if she looked like a supermodel, but I think its more likely that she looks like Hatty Jaques from the Carry on movies, so I’ll give it a miss!)

        mmmee’s website did look like I’d stepped into my grans living room and as far as I could see, it had been around since 2001 with only 14,000 hits or so since (which is like just over 1000 hits per year, its clear to see that not too many visitors like to spend much time in what looks like a pensioners handbag!)

        I do admit I get a bit pedantic, but I get what your saying, and underlying my faults and blather, I do like to think that I’m trying to help out by highlighting the problem with semalt, and trying to entertain (trying to be the optimum word here!) any readers that come through to my site wanting to know more about them.

        It does feel like I’m waging a crusade on them, and I do want to see what the little guy can do against companies like this (if anything) I don’t think it would have come down to this with my attitude with them if they hadn’t tried to link back to me thinking that it would satiate the wider community with the answer they gave me before, but seeing as though they refuse to step up to the mark and fulfill my request, I’ll keep trying to annoy them (and mmmee to it would seem!)

        I do get a lot of traffic from all this, although I would much prefer that it was generated from related hobby visitors, but I’m not complaining (believe it or not, the most traffic I ever got here was about random creepy clown sightings!) but I don’t mind, since it helps people out (hopefully, although mmmee wouldn’t probably agree!)

        Quite right about the shower, there is still much left to be done!!

        Like

      • Scott Lawson March 23, 2014 at 4:42 pm #

        Hmm, I can’t seem to reply to your last message.

        For the record, it’s not just small sites. I can confirm that from a quick check of a number of “large” sites analytics, they are hitting sites both large and small across the world. However the total visits to each site seems to be comparable, so large sites probably aren’t noticing it. I guess that’s why it’s mostly bloggers and smaller site owners who are noticing it, especially those who’s main referral is Google.

        Like

      • grimace73 March 23, 2014 at 5:21 pm #

        I get you, the bigger sites won’t be that bothered compared to us lot, since they must get so much traffic anything from semalt would be the tip of the iceberg!

        I can’t understand why you couldn’t reply to the last message, mind you it’s been like that for me on G+.
        If I were paranoid I’d start thinking semalt had something to do with it….lol!

        Like

      • Charlie May 14, 2014 at 10:27 pm #

        Well just popped in here from Google looking for information on the “S” crawler which started popping in on my blog… No matter what mmmee says I want to thank you for taking the time to post so much information on this crawler. I will be blocking it now for sure.

        Scott was being polite about mmmee’s website, barest I’ve been on in awhile except a new account index page, of all people to jump at someone….

        Anyhow thanks to all…
        Charlie

        Like

      • grimace73 May 16, 2014 at 2:34 pm #

        Thanks for your comment Charlie,

        Mmmee’s comments don’t really bother me too much, I get a lot worse online, so am pretty thick skinned!
        Anyway, I’m glad that i’ve been a help on the subject and been able to direct people to information that rids “S” from their (and your) sites.
        I don’t get bothered by them now, but strangely alex from semalt wants me to approve linking to his linkedin network (like thats ever going to happen!) No doubt to snoop on what I’m up to….

        🙂

        Like

  16. Firth McQuilliam July 27, 2014 at 5:51 am #

    These criminal slimebags tick me off enormously. Their antics motivated me to construct and test .htaccess instructions designed specifically to cope with the sleazy way the roaches at Semalt now routinely add subdomains and subdirectories to their referrer strings to make it extra difficult to screen out their snotty botnet spamming:

    [.htaccess TEXT BEGINS]

    RewriteEngine On
    # Section for blocking bad bot from Semalt and its clones.
    RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^(.*\.?)semalt\.com(/.*)?$ [nocase]
    RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://semalt.com/ [last]
    RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^(.*\.?)savetubevideo\.com(/.*)?$ [nocase]
    RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://semalt.com/ [last]
    RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^(.*\.?)kambasoft\.com(/.*)?$ [nocase]
    RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://semalt.com/ [last]

    [.htaccess TEXT ENDS]

    Yes, they’re now using three different domain names for their spamming. All of them are registered at Name.com, and you can file a complaint at the registrar’s abuse@name.com email address. 😦

    Like

    • Firth McQuilliam July 27, 2014 at 5:59 am #

      I should have added that you can replace the string “semalt.com” in any or all of the “RewriteRule” lines with something like “fbi.gov” if you wish. The redirection URL needn’t even be a valid destination, I think.

      Like

    • Jeffrey Driver July 28, 2014 at 6:57 pm #

      I’ve contacted Name.com about them and they weren’t interested. Maybe if more people complain about them they’ll take some notice?

      Like

  17. Scott July 28, 2014 at 10:00 pm #

    Obviously they are professional scammers! First, I signed up with a fake name/email and used their url. Next, I selected the “Website Analyzer” option and the results were Requires error correction “9.” If they cannot fix their own errors then how are they going to fix yours???

    Like

  18. eShlepper July 30, 2014 at 6:25 pm #

    I just found my way here because I performed a search for “SEMALT” on G…… Why would I have to search for info on SEMALT on G…???? Well, that’s easy: Because the Semalt.com website home page has nothing except a contact capture form: no links, no navigation, no meaningful information. Just “give us your info”. They’re trying to sell something to webmasters, who they know will notice a sudden spike in their web traffic after the Semalt-bot crashes through every page in their site map, notice the referrer and visit the site for more info… and find nothing there except a sign-up form. Lovely.

    Once again: Their homepage is a contact capture landing page for marketing response. Response to what marketing? The smashing and slapping around of your website, as recorded in your analytics report that made you curious enough to visit, wondering why you’re getting so much traffic from them. Referrer spam, plain and simple. Like the old “MySpace poke”. Except this one “pokes” your valuable business website 10,000 times and throwing off your metrics. If everyone did this, no quantity of filters could help keep your analytics clean.

    Here’s semalt’s purported “opt-out” link to prevent future crawls on their site: http://semalt.com/project_crawler.php Click this or don’t: I unsubscribed my sites, but can’t recommend it: The site is black hat. They have no business browsing anyone’s site, and don’t seem to provide any service whatever, index anything or give back any value. They just make a big splash hitting every page of a site, rack up massive analytics numbers, throw off your analytics, and attract your webmaster’s attention, so that he clicks through and visits their site, and hopefully signs up to get sold something.

    Contact me later to find out if these guys honor the request. In short: Black Hat. Spammers. Do not do business with them.

    Like

    • Scott Lawson July 30, 2014 at 6:48 pm #

      Adding your site to that doesn’t help.. best to block it on your own site.

      Here’s their webpage outlining their “SEO services”

      http://seo.semalt.com/

      Looking at that list shows they’re clearly black hat spammers!

      Like

  19. sarahrboyd August 21, 2014 at 6:22 pm #

    So what do you think of the latest update Google just implemented to remove bot and spider traffic from Analytics? It will be interesting to see and hear what types of results people get after checking the box…http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2358054/Google-Analytics-Helps-You-Filter-Spider-and-Bot-Traffic

    Like

  20. Geoff Atkins September 11, 2014 at 9:38 am #

    I’ve still yet to receive an answer as to why Semalt’s “perfectly legitimate crawler” identifies itself as a PC running Windows 7 and using Chrome, rather than as a bot (which would solve all of these problems).

    So… is it a question of incompetence or malicious intent?

    I am certainly not going to risk listing all of my websites on their “stop crawling me please”, I’m just going to redirect their crawlers to the grottiest porn site I can find.

    Like

  21. Rob November 14, 2014 at 2:19 pm #

    I think the main difference with semalt is that standard bots from google and other search engines either don’t trigger javascript or are automatically stripped from google analytics results.
    If they didn’t trigger your analytics javascript then no one would have noticed or even cared that their site was being visited by semalt.
    In google analytics settings there is an option to remove data from known bots. I’m not sure if semalt is included though.

    Like

  22. Tony July 1, 2015 at 11:09 am #

    I’m tempted to write a script that emails their support people every time one of my sites gets a visit from them…?

    Like

    • Daniel Benjamin July 28, 2015 at 4:41 am #

      @tony, that is the best idea I’ve ever heard. Every time they fired up their robot, it would trigger a DDoS attack on itself. If you ever really do it, be sure to hit up those “www.even+-+rack!ng.com” jokers too, who have begun spamming using the Google Analytics Measurement Protocol, slipping their “event-vertisements” into your GA reports as well. #$#%ers. I wonder if I should even say that… more people might think it’s a good idea… :o(

      Liked by 1 person

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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