Web Bots: A Huge Threat to Auto Shopping Sites

October 13, 2014 Courtney Brady

Though web bots are a threat to any site on the Internet, auto shopping sites are particularly vulnerable. Much of their content comes from partner dealerships and traders, and relationships can be put in jeopardy when bots steal content or visit dealer listings.

The Problem of Web Bots
Bot traffic skews overall metrics, meaning site managers are unable to provide accurate reports for their dealership partners. Though the bot traffic will result in more visits to the dealer’s listings, it won’t lead to a spike in sales. This can devalue the auto shopping site in the dealer’s eyes, and makes it difficult to sustain a successful relationship.

Bots can also steal inventory, pricing and listing data and use it for their own gain on other sites. If the bot owner has a website, they can use the bot to fraudulently click on ads, driving up click costs and putting money in their own pockets. It’s estimated that this type of bot scheming costs advertisers as much as $12 billion every year – with no return on that investment.

Cars.com was the first major auto site to suffer at the hands of web bots. In 2007, site analysts saw a jump in traffic to BMW listings. With no similar jump in sales, they got suspicious. It was quickly discovered that the site had fallen victim to bots, and thousands upon thousands of monthly visits were actually fraudulent. AutoTrader and TrueCar have reportedly also experienced problems with web bots over the past few years, and both have increased their efforts to detect and prevent bot traffic.

How Distil Networks Can Help
Our cutting-edge bot-blocking technology can help auto shopping sites triumph in the endless war against web bots. To learn more or to get started, contact Distil Networks today. 

About the Author

Courtney Brady

Courtney Brady is the Director of Marketing at Distil Networks. She comes to Distil Networks from a variety of start-up companies, routed in SaaS and DaaS solutions. Formerly the global communications manager at multiple companies, Courtney is responsible for developing the company’s marketing strategy and branding campaign.

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