I was looking over some of my blog stats today and hit a hurdle that I have run face first into before. I have a lot of readers, but not a lot of commenters. So…how do I know the traffic I am looking at belongs to human beings?
I know that there are a bunch of ways you can identify spiders, crawlers, robots, ants, bots, worms, and other automated indexers. But truth be told, sometimes the only way to tell is by looking for IP address patterns, including high frequency and time of access.
I’m racking my brain for other ways to prove to myself that I am writing for human beings. Here’s what I have so far, and I need you help! Please leave your comments below.
Ways to identify humans:
- Include a call to action. Controversial topics tend to get people to switch from passive reader to blog comment writer. But nothing seems to be more effective than giving something away.
- Set up an interactive chat session or videoconference. There’s no way the bots can fool me on this one. Unless of course they wear a mask and a name tag!
- Stalk places with free Wi-Fi (or do some IP Stalking). “Excuse me, I noticed you are reading my blog, and I would like to personally thank you.” At that point, you will either be wearing coffee or get carted away be security.
- Are you human? It’s extreme, but I guess if this drove me crazy enough I could place a series of squiggly letters via Captcha before people access my content. I’d lose a ton of readers, but at least the ones I’d keep, would be vetted!
So how else can bloggers identify their readers as human beings?