AVG has rejiggered the fake traffic it’s spewing across the internet, causing new headaches for the world’s webmasters.
In late February, AVG paired its updated anti-virus engine with a real-time malware scanner that vets search engine results before you click on them. If you search Google, for instance, this LinkScanner automatically visits each address that turns up on Google’s results page.
According to the company, more than 20 million people have downloaded the new AVG 8, and this has caused a huge up-tick in traffic on sites across the web, including The Register. Because the scanner attempts to disguise itself as a real live human click, webmasters who rely on log files for their traffic numbers may be unaware their stats are skewed. And others complain that LinkScanner has added extra dollars to their bandwidth bill.
Daniel Brandt, who runs Wikipedia Watch, estimates that LinkScanner traffic to the site has outstripped legitimate clicks by nearly ten times. In this graph, the pink line represents suspected LinkScanner scans, the blue line legitimate clicks: