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Good BOTS vs Bad BOTS – What They Mean in E-commerce

Content Provided by Mayank Setia of Development Partner JustStorefront.

E-commerce retailers have both good news and bad news in equal proportions when it comes to BOTS in the virtual world. Good news is that you can be slightly pleased that the Good BOTS have an upper hand as far as their traffic on cyber space is concerned over the Bad BOTS. But the thing of worry is the inequality among Human Users and BOTS as the latter are steadily overtaking the former.

For a novice user, BOTS may sound a bit technical which otherwise they would better leave to the highly technical professionals. Nevertheless, for e-commerce retailers it is simply essential to be acquainted with the basics related to BOTS.

According to Wikipedia, a BOT is simply a software application that runs automated tasks over the Internet. Typically BOTS perform tasks that are both simple and structurally repetitive, at a much higher rate than would be possible for a human alone. The largest use of BOTS, and the topic of this article, is in web spidering, in which an automatic script fetches, analyses and files information from web servers at high speeds. Each web server can have a file called “robots.txt”, containing rules for the spidering of that server, giving you control over which files a BOT will fetch, analyze and get information from.

Good BOTS can simply be called as programs that Search Engines launch to get their database indexed with the relevant and viable websites. Every Search Engine has its own programs that are better known as Crawlers and Spiders. You have to give due credit to these Crawlers as they establish your business on the virtual world by bestowing you a place in the much sought after Search Engines and Social Networking Platforms. These crawlers are a welcome sight if you are serious in getting the right kind of visibility for your website, but here you need to better equip yourself with the knowledge of how to guide these BOTS to effectively list your website like you need to know in depth about RoBOTS.txt, No-Follow Tags, User-agents etc.

The Bad BOTS are in no way a welcome sight by any stretch of imagination, as they come with a threat of harming your e-commerce operations. These BOTS have gained notoriety thanks to highly motivated cyber criminals who specialize in gaining access to confidential data, such as identity information, credit card data and also be highly detrimental to your business. Content scraping BOTS are destroying the web by slowing down websites and stealing content. Other sites can easily outrank you in Search Engine Results for your own content. This can happen if they have higher Page Ranking, content-enriched websites than yours, or get spidered by Google first.

How to save your e-commerce business from bad BOTS

The attack of Bad BOTS can have devastating implications on the e-commerce companies and their business operations. Obviously, the best a company can do is to use safety techniques.

Apply Restrictions:

The people who work for you can be the most dangerous attackers because they are aware of the importance of the data.  They know how it can be manipulated to fulfill a malicious purpose. Administrators find it difficult to identify the intentions superciliously but can restrict the access of important data to only those who really need it.

The Most Important – Right Host, Right Service Provider and their synergy:

Unfortunately, you have only a few options to be taken care of at your level, you have to leave most of it your web host and your web service provider. You need to choose the right host for you who can take care of your website and its database.

Who knows best about your security and the security of AspDotNetStorefront software than AspDotNetStorefront Hosting themselves?

{See the Hosting Options http://www.aspdotnetstorefront.com/t-hosting.aspx}

If you still observe any Bad BOT activity on your website, do contact your web service provider. They will be able to plan a strategy or solution in combination with your host.

Beware; your next door competitor may not be scraping your data:

The trend is that many e-commerce companies are having their own BOTS developed to pick data from their competitors’ websites, eBay Stores, Amazon Stores etc. Big companies spend a lot of time and money to enrich their eBay or Amazon store by putting in detailed product features, diverse categories, product variants, unique descriptions and detailed Item Specifics which help in better search placements within these platforms. The irony is that their little competitors are getting this data scraped and replicated on their website, eBay or Amazon stores. They do get scrapers to pick data or to plan a competitive pricing. These scrapers are easier to code than you might imagine, and can launch in no time, an identical eBay store as of any big company.

In nutshell, the existence of both Good BOTS and Bad BOTS necessitates you to be selective about your e-commerce preferences. Knowing the difference, worth and potential of each can help you strategize better and get relevant online traffic that is so pertinent in achieving your commercial targets.

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Posted in Analytics, Google, SEO | 108 Comments

108 Responses to Good BOTS vs Bad BOTS – What They Mean in E-commerce

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