New research suggests that human visitors may form a minority of the traffic on the internet, with automated search engine bots, malware and other non-human traffic making up the majority.
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The research, conducted by security firm Incapsula, showed that, on average, 49% of website traffic is human, with 20% of the remaining traffic used by benevolent bots (such as search engine spiders), and the remaining 31% made up of malicious visitors (including automated comment spammers, DoS botnets and screen scrapers).
By default, many popular web analytics tools filter out automated traffic and only display human visitors to websites.
The breakdown between visitor types also depends on the type of website, so that a travel website may be targeted by screen scrapers, while spambots are more prevalent on message boards and sites offering comments.