Who The Heck Is . . .

3/15 UPDATE

I believe in “better safe than sorry.” So I did not allow a comment on this post today. Why? Because the email address for the sender was at “gmai” [dot] com and not the correct “gmail” [dot] com format. I wasn’t going to take any chances with a spammer or phisher getting through. So if you don’t see a comment of yours coming through after moderation, and you’re a legitimate blogger or person, you might want to consider how your on-line persona looks to your potential audience. I’m not the only blogger who nixes sketchy comments or contact info.

2/24/UPDATE

Good news for WordPress bloggers. We now have a “Spam?” reporting option in our “Referrer” box. If WordPress thinks a referrer might be spam, a link will appear that we can use to report it. You can find more information here: http://en.support.wordpress.com/stats/#marking-spam-referrers

I have such an option for you-know-who today, and I’m marking it as spam.

1/29/UPDATE

A comment appeared in my moderation queue this morning from *Sem.* I won’t put it on this post because I don’t want an active link to the company on the blog and I don’t like what the company’s doing to my blog’s statistics. (And I’ll be going through the comments to edit any active links there.)  Basically, though, the company has established a blog, which is supposed to be an introduction to its services. I suspect if you now google the terms *blog* and *the company name,* you can find the link if you’re so inclined. I am not, so I won’t. But I find censorship distasteful so I’m acknowledging the company’s visit to this post and the gist of its comment.

Also, “Consider The Sauce” received a reply from WordPress about his concerns with *Sem.* They indicated they are working on a way to let bloggers hide these visits. I’m not a techie, so even if they explained the process to me, I probably couldn’t understand it. Perhaps other hosts are doing the same. I still think it’s worth letting your host know how you feel about “Sem.* As the old expression goes, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.”

1/24/UPDATE

By now, anyone who looks at their blog host’s stats has probably seen referrers from a company called “S-E*M)A!L-T+”. Basically, the company is doing what the tech-savvy call “referrer spam” with the intent that you visit its website and sign up for its SEO services. The effect on your blog or website? Your stats are now meaningless. Many of the views you receive are not from real readers in the real world. I’m not sure there’s anything we can do to stop it. But at the very least, I’ve reached the point where I’d like everyone to contact his/her blog/website host and ask them to block this company’s spamming. Why? Because any stats your provider gives you are now totally and completely worthless.

Even if this company is legitimate and above-board, it is compromising our ability to determine the effectiveness of our posts, links, and tags in reaching our intended audiences. What really catches the eyes of our readers? False “views” like this make it difficult or impossible to know. If you agree, try contacting your host and letting them know you want real statistics. Maybe then the hosts will make it a priority to block such spam and provide us with truly significant “statistics.”

1/16 UPDATE

After a drop-off in views of this post, I’m seeing an increase again these last two days. And most of the views appear to be from readers in the United Kingdom looking for information about you-know-who. I wonder if the company might be focusing on that part of the world right now. Still no reports of malicious actions, but if you want to be safe, it’s probably best not to click on the links or sign up.

1/1/2014 UPDATE

Yesterday, I contacted WordPress support regarding semalt to ask if they had any information on the company. Following is the reply I received from staff member rootjosh:

It is hard to say.

If I were being suspicious, I would say that the company is crawling sites as a form of advertising to get people to do exactly what you are doing (noticing and being curious) in hopes that they would then sign up for its services. If I were being REALLY suspicious, I might think it was just a scam to get you to give out your email or FB info.

Or perhaps they are running some sort of legit spider crawl. Overall though, I don’t have a lot of faith in anyone who is advertising “search ranking” type services.

WordPress, at least, has not discovered anything malicious in regards to semalt. My instincts are to remain suspicious of such sites. As some commenters below have mentioned, semalt may be about data mining, spamming, or other activity that isn’t in our best interests. But for now, at least, the company doesn’t seem to be a true security threat.

That being said, it might be worth contacting your blog/website host to let them know how many of these “hits” you have received. This could be the beginning of a major phishing scam or a backdoor attempt to hack into the hosts.

I have to wonder about the company’s skills at Search Engine Optimization, though, when my simple blog post begins appearing at the top of search results for “semalt!”

I will keep semalt on my radar, and if I learn anything more, I’ll continue to update this post. Thanks to everyone for sharing your experiences, and please feel free to continue sharing them in the comments as well as any new information you might find.

ORIGINAL POST FOLLOWS

. . . using semalt (dot) com on my domain ( jmmcdowell [dot] com) today? And why? Thirty-one hits on my home page have come from this in the last hour.

I looked up semalt and it’s a way to check your google rankings. But who would be looking at my blog?

Any ideas out there?

UPDATE 12/31/2013 — I’ve contacted WordPress Support to see if they have any information about Semalt. If I hear back from them, I will post the reply.

225 thoughts on “Who The Heck Is . . .

  1. Hi–I have a small blog on Blogger about comic books, and I got a bunch of hits from them yesterday and today too. When I searched “what is semalt on blog” I saw your site listing, and you’re the only site that has the same question I was asking :). Fwiw I just saw on my feedjit log that the source area is Riga (Latvia), Google Chrome 31.0, unrecognized OS. When I hovered on the link (I won’t access it) it says Semalt (dot) com/Competitors Review and then my URL. So far it’s just been page views (spread out among 5 or 6 of my most popular posts) but the fact that my URL is listed bothers me. I’ll probably keep checking your site to see if anyone has any more info about this, ince there’s a discussion her. Thanks!

    1/29/2014 – jmmcdowell converted the exact link to remove any direct link to the company’s site

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    • This is certainly getting interesting! Another blogger mentioned the “competitors review” as part of the referral link to his blog. I just tried a search on “what is semalt” and one site shows it’s 3 months old with its server in the Netherlands. But if they’re truly based in Latvia, I wouldn’t trust them. That country is home to a major hacker industry.

      What’s also interesting is that so many people have been coming to this post in the last two days, trying to figure out who or what this “semalt” is. The group must have “hit” a lot of blogs and websites since yesterday. I would really like to see an independent review or article about them from a respected industry writer. Until then, maybe we can piece together some answers here as more people stop by and relate their experiences. I saw an increase in “unknown search term” views after the semalt folks “visited” my blog. I’d like to know if other bloggers notice a similar increase.

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      • I, too went googling to found out who semalt/competitors review was…. I had applied to be a contributing blogger for am IJM appeal and thought perhaps they were checking out my site’s clout (klout?), but after reading the comments I suspect we have a bot blog groupie on our hands. Thanks for hosting the conversation.

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        • We seem to be gaining numbers in this discussion since my views continue to grow on this post. I’ve contacted WordPress support to see if they have any information I can share. If they reply, I’ll do an updated post with their insights. I really hope they will.

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  2. Looks like I’m in the same boat as everyone else here wondering who or what semalt is. In the last 12 hours, I’ve received 20 hits from them alone. Considering I only get 7-10 visitors a day, it was certainly an unexpected event. I haven’t been seeing the increase in “unknown search term” most people are seeing though.

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    • Your experience is what I’m seeing a lot in these comments. Most of us are very small scale bloggers/website owners. And I would think we wouldn’t be noticed by any SEO company. We’ll see if WordPress replies to my support request and can shed some light on this group. As for the increased views from stats, keep an eye open. They may start showing up in a few days.

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  3. Well, looks like I’m experiencing similar hits. I have a beekeeping blog, and over the last two days, have received a total of 30 hits from semalt (dot) com. Interestingly, the distribution of those hits was 10 from Peru, 10 from Argentina, and 10 from Brazil. Why all from South America, but also, why from three different countries, and why the same number of hits from each country.

    When I googled “what is semalt”, your post came up at the top of the search results. (The semalt (dot) com site was #2.) Like you, I’ve tried clicking on the referral link, and it took me to a home page requiring log in, but almost no information. I wonder if these hits are their way of getting you to register on their site and start using their service.

    I’m very suspicious of this activity. I wonder if any of the WordPress folks have any insight into this?

    1/29/2014 – jmmcdowell converted the exact link to remove any direct link to the company’s site

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    • I contacted WordPress support this morning, so we’ll see if they reply. If they do, I’ll post an update with what I learn from them. One of the funny things is that both yesterday and today saw record one-hour views for my blog, and WordPress sent notifications telling me my stats are booming. 🙂 How could I not have noticed? I’m lucky to get 14 views in an hour on a posting day. And then I get more than 30 on a non-posting day—multiple times?!

      This may be a perfectly legitimate company that hasn’t gotten around to proper advertising about their services. But like you, I’m suspicious. It appears I was an early “hit” for them in November, when I originally wrote this post. But if the traffic on it since Sunday is any indication, they’ve stepped up their activity. WordPress support has been very good to me in the past, so I hope they’ll look into this for everyone.

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    • Not yet, but it can take a few days. They’ve been great with me in the past with support, so I hope they can shed some light on this issue for us. If semalt isn’t legitimate, WordPress should already be aware of them. But I’d sure like to know if there’s something we should all be concerned with!

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  4. I’m getting the same thing as others today and again your blog post was top of the list when I searched what is semalt, working well for you lol x

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    • I couldn’t believe it when I started noticing all the views of this post the other day! And the thought of one of my posts being the top search result for anything is mind-boggling for this blogger. 😉 We’ll see if WordPress support gets back to me. I’d love to be able to update this post with concrete, useful information for everyone.

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    • They’ve been busy little bees at the end of the year here, haven’t they? There’s no way to get information from their site without registering, and that’s the last thing I would ever do with any website. So we can only guess what that “competitors review” is all about. I’m hoping my support request to WordPress for information is answered. If it is, I’ll certainly share what I learn!

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  5. I wondered what this Semalt thing was too, and googled it. That’s how I found your lovely blog. Similar to you and many others who have commented, I suddenly had a lot of hits on our homepage for 2 or 3 days. I think it’s spam bots. If you’re getting emails from people in another country (or who don’t seem to be able to put together regular verb conjugations) telling you they can increase your SEO, it’s probably related. I get those emails periodically. Now I know their origin.

    If anything, all this experience has increased your goolge ranking and people are finding you that wouldn’t have other wise. I’m certainly in that list. Thanks!

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    • I’ve kept a close eye on my email and stats referrers since I posted this back in early November, fully expecting the emails or blog spam that you describe. Oddly, I haven’t gotten any email like that, and the spam that WordPress and Akismet catch doesn’t seem to have increased or changed. The only difference I’ve noticed is an increase in views from search engines, most of which get lumped in WordPress’s “Unknown Search Term” category.

      I really find it funny, though, that my post shows up first in the search rankings for these folks. I doubt that’s good for a supposed SEO company! But I’m enjoying the visits from you and other bloggers/website owners who are commenting and finding each others’ sites and blogs through this post. I never would’ve imagined such a thing! If I get a response to my WordPress Support query, I’ll share what I learn from them in an updated post. 🙂

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  6. Same experience as everyone else, and same way I found this page. I had forty hits from semalt on Dec. 30, evenly divided into units of ten from the following countries: Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Brazil, and Chile. I operate a local politics blog in CA, USA.

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    • This division between South American countries is interesting. And all of us seem to be small-scale bloggers. Maybe they’re targeting us, hoping we’ll use their “services” to create better rankings for ourselves. They seem to have done that for me for free. 🙂 I’ve updated this post with the reply I received from WordPress. It’s at the top of the post if you’d like to see their reply to my query. Nothing nefarious that they know of.

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  7. Hi–I’m the one who noted earlier that a semalt source location/country (on my feedjit log) was Riga (Latvia). Well, the visits are still continuing for a third day–over 20 today–and now I see another source location is “Colombia.” I host on Blogger (not WordPress) so I am trying to find a way to contact them and see what all this semalt bot stuff is. If I get any helpful info I’ll let everyone know.
    And JM, a big thank you for allowing us to post here about this. Also, I am looking at your posts–what an interesting, beautiful blog you have!
    Happy New Year to JM and everyone.

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    • Thanks, Sharon, and Happy New Year to you, too! I’ve updated this post with WordPress’s reply to my query. You can see it at the top of the post. But if you can get information from Blogger, I hope you’ll share it here, too. The more information we can share about companies like this, the better. So far, there don’t appear to be any red flags about semalt, at least as far as WordPress knows. But I’m afraid we should always play it safer when it comes to the Internet.

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  8. Hiya, another one to add to the list!!! My uk blog has been ‘visited’ by Semalt and I found this discussion by googling, which has eased my worries a little to know its not just me and the general consensus is that it’s nothing too sinister (I hope)!!! I will keep a close eye here, thank you 🙂

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    • I’ve just updated the post with the reply I received from WordPress. You can find the new information at the top of the post. So far, there are no red flags regarding semalt, which is good to know. Sadly, though, it’s best to always be on guard when it comes to the Internet. If I learn more about semalt, I’ll update this post again, and I encourage everyone to stop by again and comment if you learn something more, too. Have a Happy New Year!

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  9. I guess a lot of users are getting this Semalt thing because I just found your post here. Hopefully it isn’t anything bad. I had some traffic from the site, but not as much as probably others had. I think I might contact WP support as well.

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    • I just updated the post (see top) with WordPress’s reply to my query. So far, nothing sinister that they know of. But I’d suggest you and others go ahead and contact them, too. After all, for all we know, semalt could be using this “SEO” business as a front when they’re really after bigger fish…. WordPress keeps rearranging things, as someone noted above, but the support link is: http://en.support.wordpress.com/contact/

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    • I’ve added WordPress’s reply to my query at the top of the post. So far, it looks like semalt is just an annoyance, not a threat. But I’ll keep an eye on them, and if I learn anything more, I’ll continue to update the post. Being informed is our best defense against internet scams and hackers!

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  10. This discussion is really fascinating.

    I’m a Chicago-based labor & employment lawyer. My WordPress blog is my only website. Generally, I average about 35 hits per day. I’ve had my blog since 2005 & have never had more than 160 hits per day. However, this past Sunday 12/29/13, Semalt visited my site 193 times using the same “competitors review” referring URL others are talking about. Since Sunday, Semalt has been to my site an additional 40 times. Their locations vary between Argentina, Brazil & USA.

    I did some research on Semalt. They’re some sort of Google focused SEO company based in the Netherlands. There isn’t a lot of public info on them (at least on the 1st few pages of Google). However, I still have no idea why they’re visiting so often, & how they target people.

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    • The common denominator I see in these comments is that we’re all small-scale bloggers. Maybe semalt decided we’re an untapped market and is trying this approach to get us to sign up for their services. And yet, just how good are they when my blog post about them claims the number one spot in search results?

      I’ve updated this post this morning, with WordPress’s reply to my information request at the top. They aren’t aware of anything malicious, but I’ll continue to keep my eyes open. If I learn anything more, I’ll continue to update this post. Better safe than sorry when it comes to the Internet!

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    • It certainly wouldn’t hurt for bloggers to contact their hosts (WordPress, Blogger, etc.) about it. Maybe the hosts haven’t realized how widespread these “contacts” are becoming. When I was “hit” by semalt, I found no useful information on the web, and when I wrote this post, none of my regular readers had similar experiences. And yet Sunday, 12/29/2014 saw the beginning of a tidal wave of views for this post. So semalt must have begun to hit a lot of small bloggers that day. I’d say it’s best to stay away from semalt, just to be safe.

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  11. I’m another blogger to find this blog through the semalt.com referrer link on my stats. I’ve had 20 in the last few days from them, and made me too curious about who they were.
    So curious in fact, I joined up to see if I could get any more info. On the 7 days trial, I can’t really work too much out of it apart from it seems to be based on keyword analysis, I can’t find out much more than that other than it looks like it can check for your ranking, backlinks, twitter & facebook etc. It looks pretty legit, but the lack of explanations as to the whole thing still bothers me…
    It’s looking as if someone is comparing our blogs for some unknown reason, maybe researching how to get high search rankings for some kind of big moneymaking blog or other! Who knows!
    What I do know is that is I’m pretty interested to see how this pans out!

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    • So you braved signing up with them? If you run into anything suspicious, would you please consider sharing your experiences with readers here? I know these folks may be completely legitimate as SEO companies go, but the Internet has its dark side. I’d be more likely to give semalt the benefit of the doubt if they would let us access an “about the company and its services” page before registering with them.

      I’m not seeing as many views come in to this post today as the last two. But maybe that’s simply because it’s a holiday. We’ll see if things pick up again after today!

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      • I’ll certainly keep you updated if I find out anything else about them, that’s what concerns me, just the lack of real info on them.
        I know there’s a live support link on the dashboard there, so later I’ll message them to ask for an explanation and let you know what they say!

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  12. My wife is a WordPress user and has been noticing the same trend with Semalt views. I started to do a little research on the company and came across a few things:

    1. It appears they contracted out their website design to 99designs.com. Not a big deal, but in the information they do give some test login credentials. Having used similar tools, it looks like another shady SEO ranking & marketing tool. The UI design is pretty nice though.
    —————————————————————–
    Description of business

    Search engine ranking monitor

    http://semalt (dot) com

    test account l: adparad@gmail.com p: simkadafi
    ——————————————————————–
    https://99designs.com/web-design/contests/second-page-semalt-example-uploaded-261594

    2. After some more searching, I found some info on the domain and their IP address:
    http://www.ip-adress.com/whois/semalt.com

    This doesn’t explain everything, but I was hoping it could help a little.

    1/29/2014 – jmmcdowell converted the exact link to remove any direct link to the company’s site

    Like

    • Thanks for sharing what you’ve learned. I get the feeling we’ll all do ourselves a favor if we ignore their so-called visits to our blogs and sites. Their “services” probably aren’t going to help anyone increase meaningful traffic to blogs and websites. Since they seem to be targeting “small-scale” bloggers, maybe they’re hoping for some naivete on how best to grow an audience!

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  13. Yeah, it is odd. I had noticed it, and tonight I attempted to use one of my “spam” email accounts to sign up and poke around. This was an utter failure: a) I haven’t found any useful info, and b) I accidentally used my real Gmail account signing up. I’ve made a filter sending any of their emails to the trash, but it was quite the stupid move on my part.

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    • I hate it when something like that happens, even when we’re trying so hard to be careful. I hope you’ll find they’re nothing more than an annoyance. I’d hate for them to be malicious. So far, though, it sounds like they haven’t caused any problems. If you do find some useful information, please feel free to stop by here again to share what you’ve learned!

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  14. I found your blog after I got 10 hits from the same organisation on my blog today. Worryingly, two minutes after I clicked to their site, my computer restarted itself for no reason. I’ve spent the last hour working in safe mode, scanning my machine and updating all my security software, but so far it doesn’t seem to have affected anything. I’ll be staying tuned to find out what anyone else finds out!

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    • Hmm, let’s hope that restart was for completely unrelated reasons! If you’re running Windows 8 by any chance, I’d blame it. 😉 But I think you took some wise precautions, just in case. When I had all the hits on this blog, I also changed my WordPress password to a really strong one, just in case. I’m hoping it’s safe to simply ignore the semalt views on our blogs and websites. But if I hear anything different, you can bet I’ll update this post!

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  15. Add me to the list of “small-scale” bloggers who has been ‘semalted’, and also to the list of bloggers grateful for your posting about this.

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    • Staying informed is our best security defense when it comes to the Internet. I’m cautiously optimistic that these folks are just trying to rope in paying customers for a service that likely won’t do anything really useful. But I’ll update the post if I hear anything different!

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  16. And another…I had over 200 daily hits on the 31st which has since rendered my small LOTRO blog daily stats meaningless…OH well..

    Semalt hits blogs,
    Bloggers google semalt
    …and we all end up here…
    …er …
    …are you not Semalt?
    LOL

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    • This little post that I wrote back in November has given me easily 3 weeks worth of views in 3 days. 🙂 And, of course, it has nothing to do with my normal blogging life. But I’m happy to have people share their experiences with semalt here and to hopefully find helpful information and reassurance.

      But I also find it so funny that semalt is ultimately responsible for all this traffic to my blog—at no cost to me! 😀

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  17. So glad I found your blog,and that I’m not the only one who encountered errant Semalt hits. (They showed up on my Adsense dashboard this morning.) I’m bookmarking this post – maybe we can figure this out and put worried minds at ease. 🙂

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    • I must have been one of the first blogs they hit back in early November. Like you and everyone here, I googled them to get more information and there was just nothing to be found. So I wrote the original version of this post to see if any of my regular readers had encountered them. And only one had. You can imagine my surprise on Sunday, and especially Monday and Tuesday, when my views skyrocketed and there was a steady stream of comments to approve on this post! It looks like semalt was very busy during that period, and when everyone started searching for information, my post must have ranked fairly high in the results. Not surprising given how little information about the company is out there. And now I’ve heard I have the Number One spot on the search results. That can’t be what the company had in mind! 🙂

      If I learn anything new, I’ll definitely update this post. I’m hoping everything is above board and I won’t need to send any warnings!

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      • I’m tempted now to write up a post just as you did! Things have been pretty slow over xmas, so who knows it might help clock up a few extra hits to my site too!

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          • I had thought at first, they might be doing this as some kind of publicity stunt to make people aware of the company. If that’s the case, it’s certainly getting some attention (Not really for the right reasons though!)

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  18. Hi all, I had a few friends asking about this over the last couple months, got lazy and gave my standard reply instead of investigating. Usually I say you have bigger things to worry about than an SEO/brand manager/PR company. If you aren’t checking logs on apache or a security plugin, those are the ones that should give you the heebie jeebies. But then yesterday I posted a review about security alarms for your house which is a very competitive market with these brand management companies. And today I’m the recipient of some traffic from Semalt, I think it took 4 hours. After a little googling, I found this post, it looks like most of the folks in the comments aren’t security people so I’ll try to help out with the discussion. There are a few questions to ask:

    1. What is their end game? We can’t safely find out by simply signing up.

    2. What have they done on your site beyond visit? On windowsnerd, they didn’t leave comments, I don’t see any breakin attempts from the IPs they visited from in South America. I don’t see them dropping any data that would be helpful to some sort of gaming of the system.

    3. If they are just visiting how can they profit?

    4. Does anyone want to fight back? If so how? The easy thing is to start listing the IPs they use and block them. I am not sure how that would help vs blocking IPs of known baddies who are trying to actually break in and take over. Harder methods of messing with them are things like banding together to all post reviews that are honest instead of the paid ones they are probably sponsoring. Google analytics used by a pro is probably more of a threat than a small company like this.

    My guess is that they provide intelligence to brand managers. Maybe automatic alerts that say here is a new competitive post to the brand you were hired to protect the google status of. I expect to see someone bashing or misquoting my site soon. Something nefarious but a waste of their time.

    My gut feeling is that time is better spent on general security. Make sure you know how to do a backup and restore of your page. Then start tinkering with tools like BPS Security or WP security. (Don’t try both unless you know what you are doing.) If you have root access to your server, ossec works wonders for blocking IPs after a few attacks. Usually a script kiddie will run a string of 100s of attacks on your site to see if you have any default passwords, default file locations, haven’t patched your plugins/wordpress/database etc. You might be surprised to know that 1000s of attacks are happening against your server all the time. I suppose I can elaborate on this stuff on my page if anyone will actually read it. Maybe show some logs and how to read them.

    For now I’ll take the 30 extra page views, nobody is interested in the nerd notes I take for myself. The majority of my traffic is just crawlers and bots anyway.
    @jmmcdowell thanks for posting and getting some discussion going. I am sure I will hear more about this company from my pals who are worried. Good to see you are on top of it.

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    • Well, Akismet decided your comment was spam. But as I read through it, I realized it was legitimate. Thanks so much for taking the time to share your experience and knowledge. I think you’re absolutely right that most of us know little about cybersecurity. Many of us aren’t even blogging for business reasons, which is one reason I find it odd that anyone is taking notice of us.

      When I uploaded the original version of this post in November, I had no idea what kind of traffic the end of December and January would bring to the blog. At this rate, I’ll have a normal month’s worth of views in under a week. And obviously I’m not the kind of blogger who can speak knowledgeably on this subject. But I hoped people like you who do understand what’s going on would join the conversation. So thank you again for providing some professional-level insights!

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  19. Hi–I have not heard back from Blogger yet about semalt, but I do see more and more questions about semalt when I search/google it. Unfortunately the semalt visits have not slowed down on my little blog, I again got aboout 17-20 from them today, same as each of the past few days. PLUS I am now getting more “refererrer spam” in my stats. I know not to click on the links, but it is annoying and worrisome.
    And JM, on a more pleasant note, I have been reading some of your posts/writing. You are very talented, to say the least! Wondering if you have you looked into Amazon’s self-publishing/kindle platforms?

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    • Thank you for checking out my blog and the compliments on my writing, Sharon! I do hope to someday publish the novels I’m working on. I’m “rebuilding” one of them now, making it a stronger story with better character development. I haven’t decided whether to try the traditional query route one more time to find an agent or to go independent and e-publish. But I hope to be on one of those tracks by the end of 2014.

      Spam of any kind is annoying, and I hope Blogger is as good as WordPress at keeping it quarantined from your blog. Maybe this semalt approach will wither away if none of us sign up for their services. Sometimes ignoring someone can be one good way to make them go away!

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  20. Hi All! Food blogger from Melbourne, Australia, here. Pretty similar experiences with a few differences. I wouldn’t call my site a low-profile blog and my semalt referrer “competitor” numbers have been about the 20 mark, though there have been none today!

    It IS creepy. There’s no info on their site and it seems a disaster if they’re interested in gaining customers or winning trust. If that, indeed, is the purpose!

    Stupidly, I signed up, butquickly removed my URL so no harm done – I hope!

    But I am receiving regular spam emails telling me to put my URL in and get results. Those emails will now go to the spam folder.

    A couple more pieces of info:

    The semalt FB page has 35 “likes” – wow! (Rolls eyes …) Little or no info there, either. But the company’s “Christmas greetings” post has been “liked” by a character named Andrey Timchenko who apparently lives in the Ukraine. His timeline has a number of posts spotlighting a site and/or service called Soundfrost – so the guy, I’m sure, is an operator.

    This all seems very similar to times when I’ve had posts robotically “reblogged” by “make money on the internet” types.

    Finally, jmmcdowell, I urge you to reconsider your approach as a blogger to FB and Twitter and so on. I’m not a natural for these social media sites – especially Twitter. But Facebook in, particular has become essential to my blog’s success. The reasons?

    1. Many people prefer to get notification of new posts on their FB feeds, as opposed to via email. I have 300+ email subscribers but 500+ FB “likes”.

    2. Ditto with comments – quite a few of my followers read a post and then leave comments on blog’s FB page!

    Good job keeping on top of all this. It’s creepy, disturbing – but kind of fun, too. A bit like so much of the internet, hey?

    Cheers, Kenny

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    • Thanks for sharing your insights and experiences, Kenny! If nothing else, I think all the comments you and others are sharing help reassure all of us that we’re not alone and that so far nothing malicious has come about from all that semalt activity on our blogs and websites. We all blog about different things, but the experiences seem to be similar. Although, I’ve come to realize that I haven’t experienced what you and others have since last weekend. For me, it was a one-day visit from semalt. All I’ve noticed since then is an increase in “unknown search terms” leading to my blog. The odd thing is that for the few I can decipher, they’re hitting a post where I included a Microsoft clip art about “thinking.” How in the world did that catch their eye?

      Someday, I will expand my social media presence. Sigh. You’re right. I need to do it. But until my manuscripts are farther along, I just can’t devote more time to social media than I do. I don’t get Twitter, and so far my Facebook presence is limited to “real life” family and friends for the most part. But I will need that author presence at some point on other media. But for now, blogging is where I’m most comfortable—even if I’m suddenly being found because of an atypical post! 🙂

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      • Well really it’s cool to see this as positive … bringing the most unlikely of cyber companions together. Let’s hope it stays so beign.

        In the meantime, you can enjoy being the world’s foremost “Semalt Celeb” and get working on how to utilise this novel experience in your work!

        Setting up a FB page for your blog takes just a few minutes and then all you have to do is cut and paste a link of each new post.

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          • Well, they’re obviously not based in a country where English is the native language. 😉 I’m willing to accept that they’re a legitimate SEO company, but I still doubt that any such company is really going to help bloggers make meaningful gains in readership and “traffic.” If we’re in this for fun, SEO is really pointless. If we’re trying to be a business, then nothing will beat providing quality services or goods and being professional!

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            • My advice would be just to ignore the extra hits generated by semalt and get on with things as normal. Like you say, it’s not really any benefit to us bloggers anyway. but I did tell him afterwards in a message that he should visit here and set the record straight on your site too,since much of what is on the net about semalt comes here!

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