Understanding bot traffic is a part of doing business on the internet these days, and there’s no going around it. They’re ubiquitous—accounting for somewhere around 48% of all internet traffic—and they also serve a variety of legitimate functions that help keep the internet safe, like intellectual property bots that scan pages for copyrighted information and search engine crawlers that index pages to help them with visibility in search engines. Unfortunately, malicious bots make up a large portion of the bot landscape, with some sources estimating them at 38% of all bot traffic. Among the most common types of bugs are scraper bots, which have started to become a major problem for travel sites.
Why Scraper Bugs Are Dangerous For Travel Sites
Developing a travel site means spending years putting together rich content that requires hundreds if not thousands of labor hours to develop out. Everything from advice articles to lush descriptions of location options and accommodations, imagery, and even access to programs and price points from trusted travel brands is there, and it requires work to develop. Unless, that is, you have access to a scraper bot.
These programs, many of which are available as apps in several device app stores, search through the internet and scrape relevant content from web pages, allowing unethical operators to steal content for a variety of purposes, the least harmful of which is the content theft itself.
Think about it—it’s bad to have your pristine copy pitching cruises to the Caribbean copied, but how much worse is it to find out your entire site has been spoofed, and customers who thought they were booking with you were actually being caught in a complex scam by a group of hackers? It seems far-fetched, but companies have seen scrapers involved in these scams duplicate their site design and content with a startling degree of accuracy. In fact, most of the best-known and best-cautioned-against phishing scams involve using scraped content to reconstruct a site at a similar domain so that customers are fooled into sharing their account or credit card information.
Protecting Your Site
If you’re developing a travel site, then the combination of risks from scrapers makes security a prime investment. Finding companies that lead the industry in blocking bot access, preventing malignant exploitation of your web page resources, and filtering your traffic results to provide you with an adequate idea of your real audience base is going to be the key to this. Existing applications and management programs in design and development settings just don’t have the power provided by an outside contractor, whose bot protection strategies can target scrapers and other bad bots for you.
Keep your copy for your site, and keep your brand intact by investing in site security from day one, and your travel site will continue to stand out for its dedication to quality content and great deals. Remember: site security is an investment in the future of your business. It needs a serious place in your investment strategy and growth planning. That way, you always have the right coverage to ensure your risk management plan fits the most likely scenarios your company is likely to encounter.