Published June 18, 2018

What are Bots?

Bot or “non-human” traffic is a term used in the world of eCommerce to describe when automated software views a web page. It is estimated that up to half of all internet traffic is generated by bots, which work by following commands to open a web browser and navigate pages as directed by their owners.

Bots can be simple programs that take very little time to set up, with a few lines of code that look and function much like a Microsoft Office macro. However, some bots are sophisticated programs with logic designed to mimic a real user's online behavior. Many programmers can go to great efforts to make their bots appear human.

Not all bots are bad however, and many bots are legitimate scripts that are used to drive search engine optimization, crawl the internet looking for copyright violations, and provide data like weather and news. However, the problem is that bots are also used to perpetuate online fraud.

Whether they are committing fraud by racking up fake clicks, price scraping from different websites, or even making fraudulent purchases, malicious bots can be a problem for many online businesses and cost them a significant chunk of revenue.

In order to mitigate the threats posed by malicious bots, companies need the ability to identify bot traffic. Using analytics, bots can be identified by patterns in their behavior, location, and browser configuration. A comprehensive detection tool will even learn to identify new bot characteristics as the technology evolves, ensuring that fraud prevention measures can adapt to different threats.

NS8 realizes that eCommerce merchants need an easy-to-use solution that helps them reduce the number of bots that are hindering their business. Because of this, we have developed a suite of products that offer an easy to use dashboard and a powerful scoring engine.

With NS8 Protect and NS8 TrueStats, each website visitor is assigned a risk score through our EQ8 scoring engine, which allows a merchant to easily identify and react to high-risk bots. Once bots have been identified as malicious, there are many actions that can be taken to reduce the harm they cause.

Firstly, purchases suspected to be made by bots can be quarantined and handled appropriately. Secondly, bots can also be blocked from retargeting lists to prevent them from being targeted by ad campaigns and wasting advertising budgets accordingly. Finally, any ad campaigns that do refer large amounts of bot traffic can be modified or discontinued to protect the campaign’s ROI.

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