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[DISCUSS] Referers Blanking vs Faking Time to Settle This OFA!

Discussion in 'Black Hat SEO' started by JohnsonDaniel, Jul 16, 2011.

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Blanking vs Spoofing Referers - The Ultimate Showdown!

  1. I prefer to BLANK

    0 vote(s)
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  2. I prefer to SPOOF

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. JohnsonDaniel

    JohnsonDaniel Regular Member

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    There is SO much talk about what to do with referers, when using BH, or not, but just wishing to protect business data.

    Should we blank? Or should we send spoofed/faked refs?

    I am starting this thread for 2 reasons:

    1. I coded and shared a Referer Spoofing script recently (link below), and I am about to share a self-hosted Blanking script, and

    2. I think there needs to be some clarity about why people choose to do each one, and the steps required to pull each off successfully.

    What I want from this:

    1. Ideally, sensible discussion on what YOU use, or what your thoughts are regarding use of one technique versus the other.

    2. To give back to BHW, by finally settling one of the largest debates ever.

    3. For everyone on BHW to have access to lists of Pros and Cons for each technique, as well as to have access to a single thread where they can learn what they need to learn with regards to Referer Manipulation.


    So, I'll get the ball rolling with my own thoughts on this, and I hope things will "build out" as more members see fit to contribute with their views and opinions.

    Personally, I see the need for Referer Manipulation more as a need to protect my business data (traffic sources, successful methods, etc) than as a need to cover BH or shady techniques.

    However, being comfortable with how to manipulate referers, and making the choice between blanking or spoofing, is 100% necessary, regardless of the reasons for doing so.


    My choices, and my initial list of Pros and Cons:

    Blanking

    This is what I choose to do, as it is much less work for me, and fits my situation nicely.

    Pros:

    1. Easy to set up.

    2. No extras needed.

    Cons:

    1. Attracts more questions, appears more "dodgy"

    2. Lack of suitable scripts to adequately transfer parameters (things after the ? in affiliate urls, used by many CPA Networks and other systems), or which are either easy to use, or easy to add changing destinations to.

    3. Possible "leaks"

    My way of dealing with the "Cons":


    1. I field questions by remaining professional, answering questions, explaining that I use my own tracking systems to blank (to protect my data), and sending quality traffic, or mixing in WH traffic. To date, this attitude has worked well for me.

    2. I have coded my own script, which makes it simple :)
    Don't worry, I'll share it this weekend.

    3. See 2.


    Faking

    Pros:

    1. Very few questions, if any

    2. End up with a range of semi-quality sites, as you start to build things up to have good-looking sites to use as your fake referers.

    3. No leaks when using the right script (with mine, anyway :))


    Cons:

    1. A HELL of a lot of work to set up and manage.

    2. Lack of decent scripts which are easily manageable, especially when wishing to change destination links, or dynamically append & transfer parameters (Content Lock Pro deos this, as do most of the best tracking scripts (202, etc)).


    My views on the "Cons" (I don't fake, I blank):


    1. The sites/pages and/or posts which you will use as your fake referers must display links to the final destinations, as, if there are no links there, how did your traffic supposedly come from there?
    They also must "appear" to be ranking and attracting traffic, unless they are simple "landers", in order for them to become "believable" referers.

    If you already have a bunch of WH sites, developed, themed to your niches/offers, etc, then you're golden!

    2. I developed and shared a script to make this task self-hosted and easy.
    See below for the link.


    ======================================================

    Current Solutions:

    Blanking: (Highlighting Code: White = Mediocre, Yellow = The Best)

    1. Mainly, DMR (double meta-refresh) scripts which you self-host. Yesterday's technology, do not lend themselves well to dynamic parameters, changing links, etc.

    2. Referer.us - a great free service, but which has suffered from many issues in the last few weeks due to server abuse and, of course, is hosted by a third-party.

    3. Content Lock Pro - comes with it's own integrated, self-hosted solution, which works on all browsers except Opera.

    4. BHCB - comes with it's own solution (a DMR script), but works with a limited amount of browsers.

    5. FIVE STAR Solution - Fancy a self-hosted script which works like Referer.us (except Opera)? Just keep an eye on me, it'll be shared later today, I'll try to edit this post or the next one, to link to it.


    Spoofing: (Highlighting Code: White = Mediocre, Yellow = The Best):

    1. CPA-R - Nice, has been the best solution for a few years. Works well, integrates with WP as a plugin. Will NOT transfer dynamically appended parameters, destination link must be static. Standalone (non-WP) version a bit awkward to set up for noobs.

    2. Referer.us - - a great free service, but which has suffered from many issues in the last few weeks due to server abuse and, of course, is hosted by a third-party.

    3. FIVE STAR Solution - My Script - Self-hosted, works for ALL browsers. Doesn't leak.
    Accepts dynamically generated parameters for tracking, locking, etc
    Easy to set up, even more easy to use :)

    Already available here (be sure to check 2nd page of thread for an update to it, I was unable to edit the OP):

    http://www.blackhatworld.com/blackh...e-referer-any-offer-fake-referrer-script.html


    ========================================================


    So, there you have it, what do YOU do when presented with the eternal "Blanking vs Faking" conundrum?

    Feel free to add your views/thoughts on any of the above, be it which choices you've made, and why, or which Pros and Cons you feel apply, or how to deal with them, or even scripts you may be using.
     
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  2. naomy

    naomy Regular Member

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    I prefer spoofing than blanking for my blackhat promotion, it's need additional work to prepare the faking sites, but it's more safety. imho we can do blanking referer if we sure that our traffic convert otherwise faking it.

    I do blanking for email marketing only.
    I'll wait your blanking script, i hope there's geo targeting and rotate url from list in your script
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2011
  3. JohnsonDaniel

    JohnsonDaniel Regular Member

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    Well, tbh, mailing is an issue I personally would like to see some more discussion on.

    Back in the days, almost everyone used desktop mail programs (outlook, outlook express, thunderbird, etc) for their email and, when they clicked on links, referers were automatically blank, as there WAS no referer.

    Nowadays, though, with the advent of web-based email (hotmail, yahoo, gmail, etc), people read their mail as displayed on a website, within a browser, and I'm not yet 100% clear on what gets transferred as the referer in these scenarios (it doesn't help that I'm not really a mailer myself).
     
  4. JohnsonDaniel

    JohnsonDaniel Regular Member

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    Nope, it's a self-hosted blanker script, much like Referer.us, as in, you prepend the script's location to your urls, and they get blanked, like this:

    http://blanker.com/?http://destinationlink.com?parameters=values

    Having said that, my blanking script has been integrated into Content Lock Pro, which DOES geotarget and rotate offers (albeit via lockers).

    I'm looking into throwing some things together outside of CLP, for IMers who don't wish to use locking (although, imo, they're leaving large chunks of cash on the table!)
     
  5. naomy

    naomy Regular Member

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    i have your CLP , it work good for my campaign :)
     
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  6. Percu

    Percu Registered Member

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    I prefer spoof as it seems less suspicious.

    As you know I'm gonna to use your script to fake referer. It takes me much more time as I have to set up several new websites (one new BH, one for the redirection, and better with offshore hosts and anonymous registars).

    It's harder to set up than just blanking but so much safer if it's well done... (imo).
     
  7. JohnsonDaniel

    JohnsonDaniel Regular Member

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  8. box0204

    box0204 Regular Member

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    can anyone point me to a good write up of how this faking, spoofing, and blanking stuff works? Ok say i spoof my referer.. i dont understand the value in it. thanks!
     
  9. JohnsonDaniel

    JohnsonDaniel Regular Member

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    It's mainly to conceal your traffic sources.
    If you generate traffic because you OWN great whitehat sites, which receive plenty of organic traffic, then you don't have to think about these things.

    However, if traffic you send to CPA offers, or to other advertisers, is generated via PPC, Media Buys, Banner ads on sites you don't own, or by sending hordes of traffic going to a non-WH site for, say, some tempting adult stuff, or some less than "legal" stuff, then it's in your interest for the CPA Networks, or the advertisers, not to learn about your sources.
    In the first few cases, because there's a chance, if you're doing well, that they will steal your keywords, or your target urls, or the sites you placed your banners on, and, in the latter cases, because they will not approve of your methods, and will ban you, or worse.

    Those are the reasons why you may wish to conceal the "real referers", either by removing them (blanking) or by making them appear to be something else (spoofing).

    There already are some pretty decent writeups on this forum, use the Search feature and search for referer.

    HTH
     
  10. HackZu

    HackZu Junior Member

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    Hi JohnsonDaniel!

    As stated in the OP you prefer to blank the referer. So do I, for pretty much the same reasons.

    I got this new method now which will have a high CTR. I have a couple of accounts with different CPA companies. I never pushed high volume traffic to them and did not make alot of revenue with. So they are pretty much idle. The traffic has a high chance of converting in the end, so that won't be a problem I guess.

    I figure more of a problem is the combination of high CTR and blank referer which will quite possibly raise some flags on the CPA/advertisers end.

    Have you ever come across this? Do you think purchasing junk traffic, say from trafficholder.com is a viable option here?

    I'm looking forward to your reply.

    Salute,

    HackZu
     
  11. JohnsonDaniel

    JohnsonDaniel Regular Member

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    Yes, junk traffic is used, often, to manipulate the conversion rates, and yes, TH is a viable option for junk traffic.

    However, what networks and advertisers REALLY care about is back-end conversions (i.e. you send 1000 leads to a short-form auto insurance offer, and not a single one then actually completes a full quote form nor purchases the insurance policy = you obviously forced or incented those 1000 visitors, because if they HAD completed the short form because they WERE genuinely interested in and searching for auto-insurance, a good few hundred WOULD have then gone on to purchase it).

    So, if your traffic wants what's in your offers, and you suspect they'll convert on the back-end, you'll be fine, if not, then no amount of junk traffic will really cover you, and you need to consider things like spreading the leads across multiple networks and multiple advertisers and/or mixing in those leads with whitehat leads obtained through traditional, genuine, advertising.
     
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  12. Frogserv

    Frogserv Regular Member

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    I prefer to fake the referrer because it's safety. We need to do white hat sites before that but it's worth.
    With blanking referrers, affiliate managers tend to ask me where my traffic come from and I don't want that.
     
  13. JohnsonDaniel

    JohnsonDaniel Regular Member

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    Yep, it makes sense.
    Nevertheless, if you want to get far in the CPA world, I'd strongly suggest you try and build a rapport with your AMs, and try to lose the fear.
    They're workers, just like most of us, and they don't live with a banhammer sitting on their desks, quite the contrary :)
    All of their questions can be answered, there are some quite handy guides floating around, as well as some pretty decent posts and threads on this forum, and, the better you get on with them, the happier you'll feel about your ability to answer anything they ask, regardless of what you're doing.

    Looking at the Poll results so far (which are quite poor, btw), spoofing does seem to be favored.
     
  14. alexking

    alexking Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Hey guys, just a quick question.
    If someone was to spoof, what should the white hat site look like? Anything fancy or just a wp site with a few posts and links to the offers?
     
  15. JohnsonDaniel

    JohnsonDaniel Regular Member

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    It depends how you want it to appear...

    For example, if you would like to appear as though you generate organic traffic to offers from a site, then that site should be well-ranked as far as SEO goes, and related to the offers you are displaying.

    Otoh, if you want it to appear as though you drive paid traffic (PPC, Media Buys, Banner displays, etc) to a site which displays offers, and then on to the offers, it would be sufficient for that site to be a simple Landing Page, and you could have many "landers", each tailored, to a point, to a niche, and each displaying offers which relate to that niche.
     
  16. alexking

    alexking Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Thanks a lot for the helpful reply.

    How about the offer links in the content locker, should I make it something like refspoofersite/id=aff_link or is there a better way around it?

    (Sorry don't mind the way my link is, I can't post links yet)
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2011
  17. JohnsonDaniel

    JohnsonDaniel Regular Member

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    That's going to depend on what locker you are using and which referer spoofer site or script you are using.
    Either way, the former is better suited to a locking thread, and the latter case would be better discussed in a thread related to your spoofing method.

    This thread is mainly to compare and discuss why some of us prefer to blank, and others to spoof; the pros and cons of each technique, and whichever other considerations have led us to choose one over the other, together with sharing ideas on implementation or current methods & scripts in use.
     
  18. moneymakerc

    moneymakerc Newbie

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    Thanks for your post, it's very helpful!
    I found Referer Guardian by chance, do u have some comments about it?
    I have tried it, but it doesn't work now, maybe it's not just for me! Thx~
     
  19. timothywcrane

    timothywcrane Power Member

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    I must say that it depends on what you are doing.

    1. If you are dealing with an AM, then after a while, a blanked referrer is going to result in a "show me the traffic for your money" trouble. If you keep plenty of referrals going, this will lessen.

    2. When dealing with information extraction or server "bombing" then a blank referrer is often useful, as if you send formatted referrers to a single server in any number, it serves the same pattern footprint (as you would need to many to dilute it), why go to such extra hassle..?

    3. An exception to the AM situation in #1 is if you are sending traffic to a network from a blackhat online source, but you have informed the AM that your traffic is all OFFLINE. Then blank a way. Nothing suspicious, even if you have to add diluting blank traffic, no referrer is ever expected.
     
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  20. FuryKyle

    FuryKyle Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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