I just noticed this in my HTTP access logs: - - [18/Feb/2004:17:31:39 -0600] “HEAD / HTTP/1.1” 200 0 “” “StarProse Referrer Advertising System 2004”

What does it mean? It means the webmasters of have hired a company or used a program themselves to spam the referrer logs of websites to advertise their site. Referrer-log spamming is basically when someone forges the HTTP_REFERRER header. This header is normally used to indicate the site that ‘referred” you to your webserver. It’s arbitrary, however, and can be forged.

The idea, believe it or not, is that if you spam the site with enough forged referrers, if that website is running a stats-gathering tool, (like mine), the URL will show up on the list of “top referrers”.

I guarantee you, though, Kerry’s blog will receive no placement on my stats page. I’d provide free advertising if asked politely, but if they want it now, they can pay me.

This is the text of the e-mail I sent to [email protected] as well as [email protected]:


I just observed this entry in my webserver’s log: - - [18/Feb/2004:17:31:39 -0600] “HEAD / HTTP/1.1” 200 0
“” “StarProse Referrer Advertising System 2004”

This is not cool. Referrer-log spamming is spamming. It’s unsolicited
and impolite.

I am a supporter of Kerry (or any Democrat), incidentally, but let me
tell you that this is NOT the way to win votes. All you are going to do
is piss people off. I’m a good example.

My recommendation is that you discontinue your agreement with “StarProse
Referrer Advertising System 2004”, AKA “Referrer-log spammers”, and
stick with solicited advertising.

Thank you,


UPDATE: I no longer believe that Kerry’s campaign is responsible for this. See here for details.