Saturday, January 5, 2013

Probtheme, Vampirestat, Zombiestat, Villainstat, Ontimemarketing

Dear fellow bloggers -- if your blog keeps getting traffic from probtheme, ontimemarketing, adsensewatchdog, uglystat, villainstat, vampirestat, or zombiestat web sites, just ignore all of that, as it is the product of worthless scumbag referrer spam-bots. Automated, unattended software programs generate these supposed "hits" on your site. They do not represent any human visitors and are not of any interest whatsoever. Do not visit the referring sites, because there is a high probability of malware. Do not link to the sites anywhere online. In other words, do not do the sort of things that the scumbags want you to do. The reason that some malicious hacker is running these bots is to generate traffic on the above-mentioned web sites and quite possibly to entrap, identify, or infect the personal computers of blog owners. End of story. Don't fall for it!

Update

It has come to my attention that some blog owners may have been posting the url of vampirestat, et al, on their blogs.

You will notice I was careful not to specify the url to any of the above sites when I was discussing them. Linking to a site means typing the basic URL in a message, post, or comment.

Let me be clear: Do not EVER link to a bad site like vampirestat, even if you only mean to complain about them or shame them. Do not even post a link in a forum! Search engine bots cannot yet distinguish between favorable comments and unfavorable. Search engine bots investigate each and every link they detect and determine associations between sites. If you link to a site, even if you hate it, you are helping it; you are associated with that site. Always remember that! If you have anything resembling the actual url of a malware site anywhere in your blog, then you are assisting their prevalence in search engines, and Google will evaluate your site as being associated with malicious hackers. Your site's Google ranking may decline, and your site may even be flagged as a malware site.Post a Comment
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

57 comments:

  1. Is there anyway to block them from viewing my blog?

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    1. On Blogger (which is what I use here), there is not a way to block anyone, to my knowledge, for a non-paying user like myself, though that would be a nice future feature for Blogspot to introduce, as it seems we are all getting hit by spambots and referrer-spam bots. It is a community-wide problem. But I am not paying for anything, so I really can't complain, although I will complain because I like complaining.

      However, if for instance, you have a blog hosted on a server, to which you have ftp access, then of course the answer is yes, you can certainly block anyone you choose. The methodology may vary depending on what kind of software your server runs.

      If your host-server runs Apache, a popular Linux server program, which many do, then you can use your ftp program to upload an .htaccess file that will include a blacklist, such as the one I offer on the top-right of my topics menu. The .htaccess file is my method of banning a very large number of spam-bots, referrer-bots, malicious hackers, and other time-wasting, bandwidth-wasting automated robots.

      Delete
    2. Thanks for your detailed reply. Unfortunately I also use Blogger. I love Blogger, but it also means that I have no recourse but to endure the spam-bots.

      I agree with you however that Google/Blogger should do something about this issue. It would be in their best interests and of us users.

      Delete
    3. Yes, thank you for all the information. It has been helpful. Would this be why sometimes my blog has a warning tht it is a possible phishing site?

      Delete
    4. You will notice I was careful not to add .com to any of the above sites when I was discussing them.

      Do not EVER link to bad sites like vampirestat, even if you only mean to complain about them or shame them. Do not even post a link in a forum, unless you want to harm the forum. Search engines cannot distinguish between favorable comments and unfavorable. Search engines analyze each and every link they detect and try to determine associations based on rudimentary criteria. If you link to a site, you are helping it, you are that site's friend and ally, even if you hate the site. Always remember that!

      If you have anything resembling their actual url of a malware site anywhere in your blog, then you are assisting their prevalence in search engines, and Google will evaluate your site as being associated with malicious hackers. Your Google ranking will decline and you may be flagged as a malware site yourself.

      Delete
  2. The only way I see Google making any money off Blogger is through AdSense, so that is where the lion's share of their development dollar goes. Innovations to Blogger have been minimal in the four years I've been using it. I ran AdSense for one year and earned a whopping $4.81, so I dropped out, as the ads were ugly and stupid, and I can't imagine anyone clicking on an ad, unless they were deranged or giving me charity, which is nice, but nowadays I think AdSense requires a user actually make a purchase on the very same click-thru, which is quite a high bar to leap. Instead of $4.81 a year, I'm thinking $0.00 a year might be the payoff.

    The good side to Blogger is that they take care of all the technical mumbo-jumbo and are fairly reliable. So I stay with them because that is saving me money on shared hosting which would otherwise cost me a monthly bill. I ain't paying for this thing.

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  3. My news blog has been inundated daily with spam-bots visits...for several months.
    Before the spam-bots...most traffic came from outside the USA.
    Since the spam-bot invasion...USA numbers have surged.
    Blogger got feedback...but, of course, nothing happened.
    After nearly 4 years...as daily traffic built...like Igor... considered enrolling in Adsense...even with its ugly ads and small payoff.
    But, since nobody can tell which visitors are real...it doesn't seem to make any sense now.
    It has put me off Blogger and Google...to be sure.
    Wonder if Tumblr has the same problems?

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  4. No, I don't think ads pay at all, unless your traffic is around a thousand a day, and even then, I think the clickers have to actually buy something, which strikes me as ludicrous.

    I'm not concerned with spam-bot activity, as the CAPTCHA seems to put a stopper on their posts. You do require word verification to post, do you not? Of course all the activity from Ukraine, Russia and China will be the scrapers, spam bots and hack attacks.

    I'm staying with Blogger until the bitter end because it is free and easy. Invested too much sweat capital in this thing to switch to a different sandbox.

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  5. Igor,

    Something good on Google's pathetic Blogger has happened since an original post here.
    Spam-bots Probtheme and Adsensewatchdog have so far disappeared.
    But...2x Vampirestat iterations...and Zombiestat still persist daily...skewing the newsblog's USA totals badly.
    Agree with you about ads.
    They don't pay off until...especially if the numbers can't be trusted.
    It makes you wonder about Google's overall audience accuracy.
    If I were an advertiser...I would be skeptical of its numbers.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I haven't noticed the referrer-spam, but I haven't been scrutinizing my stats of late...

    I think the way people make money with blogs these days is to whore themselves out to small and mid-size companies that pay for Internet buzz, positive shill reviews, and links to their site. Seems like more effort than merely putting ads up, and the morality is murky at best.

    I gave up on making money with blogging a long time ago. I just use the blog as a medium for venting my opinions, vetting ideas, and storing technical observations. More than a dozen times, I've referred to my own blog to solve a computer problem.

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  7. I've found your site after I Googled Vampirestat. I was wondering what it was and now I know. I Tweeted this post to my account at Twitter and will re-tweet it often. I was briefly elated to know that this Vampirestat had linked me.

    However, I noticed that my SiteMeter stat counter didn't acknowledge Vampirestat while Blogger Stats counter does.

    Like an idiot, I followed the link back to Vampirestat. I hope I haven't done any damage.

    As far as making money with blogs, you must go HEAVY into social media...use Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to get traffic to your blog or website. It takes time and a lot of effort. Have people promote your site as oppose to Search engines. Good luck, I've been trying for years now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, I'm certainly flattered that you are tweeting a post of mine, and I'm glad I posted the public notice about silly old Vampirestat, which needs a stake. Probably most people will indeed visit the site upon seeing it in their stats--hence the name, "Vampire-" stat, indicating parasite, bloodsucker, evil, malicious.

      When I first saw vampirestat in my stats, I was tempted to visit the site too, but I have been blogging for too long and know too well the old referrer-spam trick. Tons of spambots do this sort of thing, you know; vampirestat is hardly the only one, although it is a persistant piece of filth.

      My blog is purely nonprofit. I have not the slightest confidence that this thing could earn any money. However, many other writers do seem very interested in turning a buck with their keyboard. I'm happy enough to vent my candid opinions, air my various grievances and expound my views about the state of the world.

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    2. solid stuff here Igor. I am new to the blog scene - saw # of hits from vampirestat, and (luckily) googled it prior to clicking. I landed here, and am more informed thanks to you.

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    3. Well, vampirestat is not the only referrer-spammer in town, just keep that in mind. The bad guys know that we bloggers look at our stats, and they have figured out how to get free and easy traffic to their web sites. I don't want to play their game, so when I see some odd site in the referrer stats, I google it first to get a handle on what it might be. Something named 'vampirestat' or 'zombiestat' is rather obvious and blatant in my opinion. Typically referrer-spammers will give their site a more subtle domain name than that.

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    4. Chiming in along the same lines as the commenters above. Thanks for the info, and Ggole's got you right up top when it comes to the search of "vampirestat"

      Thanks for your hard work, and keep posting!

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    5. Goodness, well I am glad I'm the top search for something. Vampirestat, is it? ha ha ha! never thought this little old post would top the charts. Glad to be of service.

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    6. When I am reviewing my stats on Blogger Dashboard, I do see the spam bots, but to get a better indepth report, I added StatCounter traffic as a gadget and it is free. My reports are amazing. I can see who, what, where my traffic comes from and if they download something, and what. I can tell on blogger if something is coming from a cell phone hit, but I can't separate that on StatCounter. Thanks for the useful full information everyone!

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  8. Thank you for this post. I have shared it with fellow bloggers too.

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  9. What will happen to my computer if I did click on it?!

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    1. Don't know. That vampirestat is a referrer-spammer is all I need to know. If you want to experiment with one of your computers, then have at it and come back and share your intelligence here.

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    2. So far nothing. I clicked it before reading about this, because I've never used Blogger. I've run 3 virus scans since then nothing came up.

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    3. Same here. I've clicked it once or twice before reading stuff like this, although I left their site within seconds. No ill effects whatsoever!

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  10. Thanks for this post. I had about 100 views from vampirestat today and clicked on the link to see what it was before seeing this post. Since then my computer seems to have been lagging and running slower. It's a brand new 1 month old laptop so it shouldn't be anywhere near slow. It may just be a coincidence or may not even be related at all. Just thought I'd share and warn people NOT to click on the links as you said!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for sharing that intel. Definitely referrer-spammers ike *stat want blog-owners to click and visit their site. While their specific motive may not be clear why, but their underhanded means of attracting traffic bode ill.

      For the casual Internet surfer who mainly uses Firefox or Chrome, I recommend Linux Mint KDE for the laptop. It is resistant to malware, faster to boot, and installs itself with little interaction required from the user, especially for Intel hardware, if you have an Intel cpu and video gpu. If you feel your laptop is indeed infected, you might consider erasing Windows and replacing it with the latest version of Linux Mint KDE, which is free and fast. I recommend Firefox as the Internet browser, and NoScript as an add-on to defend against malware sites. Firefox with the NoScript add-on running on Linux Mint is going to give you good odds against any malware site.

      Delete
  11. So, I ignore the stats on Google, because so much traffic IS coming from Vampire and a couple of other dubious sources.
    How can I know whether real people are visiting my site? I would like to approach local businesses to advertise if the hits grow. How can I show them REAL stats and how do I find them??
    thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stats are difficult to come by. There are a number of services that are supposed to compile genuine stats. Some are more accurate than others, sure. The free solutions such as Google's stat counter are counting bots as humans and this practice seems to be standard. I don't know whether it is always possible for a program to distinguish between a human and non-human visitor. I have yet to see a stat program that knows human from non-human.

      I have studied server logs. My rule of thumb is that where stats are concerned, at least 50% of your hits are non-human bots scraping, analyzing, probing, and searching for exploits on your site. On less popular sites, the percentage of bots is probably north of 95%. The number of genuine human-laid links to your site and the number of genuine human comments are better indicators of popularity than a mere hit counter. These elements are also given weight by Google in determining your Google ranking.

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  12. Thanks for this info. I instinctively avoid all the crap links at the top of my Blogger stats. Which is depressing, because you realize that your 95% number is about right, even after two years of blogging.

    If you share to FB, it seems like you pick up one meaningless hit there, too. Most of my comments are from "Russian wives" sites and get deleted quickly.

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    Replies
    1. I write for myself, or otherwise I would have quit a long time ago. The only blog posts that attract many hits involve narrow technical topics. People hit google to find the answer to their question and land here. Usually drive-bys.

      Delete
  13. Thanks for the info on Vampirestat, it's really appreciated. I'm on blogger too and saw it come up in my stats but thanks to you I stayed clear. I have Adsense on my blog and actually got a cheque from them last July for revenue earned. I find the best way to get reads on my blog is through Twitter and reads lead to clicks and revenue. I actually ask my dedicated readers to click on the ads and money can be made without purchases.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the tip about AdSense. I admit I find the idea of making money blogging alluring, but I'm not yet persuaded. How much $ did you make last July? Is that impolite to ask? I made a whopping $4.84 after a year of ads. That is why I opted out. Seemed like chickenfeed, and ads are unsightly. I'd rather forego five bucks and have a year of tidiness.

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  14. haha i just read the first things you said. i like complaining sometimes too. DAMN YOU VAMPIRE STAT GO AWAAAAAY.
    www.therenegadefw.blogspot.com

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  15. I found this site while googling vampite stat. I have read all the posts but have a few questions. I use my blog as a journal and email a link to it to a few (20-25)friends once a week. I have only been doing this since 1/13 and show 844 views. I had (emphasize had) been pretty excited about this, but after reading this how many actual views have I had? I was dumb enough to believe that people outside the US were reading my blog, but according to your posts, that is not true either, right? Also the overview count and the stats count do not add up. Is the overview account actual friends that are reading the blog, while the stats count is your scammer? And one last question...what does reffer-spam mean? Thanks for the very informative posts!

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    Replies
    1. When one visits a site, it is customary for the browser to inform the site where it is coming from. This data is placed in the referer-string. It is useful, because site owners like to know who is sending them traffic. However, a referrer-spammer manipulates this custom by inserting an incorrect link in the referrer-string in order to promote a site and tempt the site-owner to click on the link. I hope that makes things clearer.

      The lion's share of hits for most sites, particularly less popular sites, are bogus, I am afraid. You can only trust in comments as an indicator of human traffic, and even some comments are simply bots promoting sites, products, or people.

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    3. Thank you!

      Delete
  16. I had no problems to visit vampirestat.com and the ''twin brother'' zombiestat.com ...
    Just two appraisal - WHOIS websites, like many others, with a comic graphic template.
    ( in the past, yes, I had attacks visiting www3 and www4 junk sites ).
    I think it's just an advertise method ...

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  17. The cruddy thing about vampirestat is that it has a search bar so that you can find out the worth of each particular website. So even if you are wary and know not to use vampirestat, someone else will eventually come along and type in the query about your site. There's really no dodging it. This sort of web page visitor is the E version of the shoplifter.

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    1. I just ignore vampirestats and several similar sites when they show up in stats. In my opinion it is some lazy guy's scheme to get traffic without generating any real content or doing any actual work.

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  18. Wow! So helpful! Thank you much!

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  19. Thanks for posting this information. I suspected but wasn't sure what was going on.

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  20. Извините, что пишу по русски(не знаю английского), но судя по вашему имени вы тоже русский?
    Хотела бы дополнить, что вдобавок к vampirestat есть еще такой сайт как filmhill, yadro ru , flf-cours - под разными названиями это один и тот же сайт, в нем нет ничего кроме руки, что то рисующей и английского аудиотекста. При этом посещения с этого сайта фиксируются у меня на сайте ежедневно, я бы могла их игнорировать, но при этом исчезли все посетители, обзор статистики показывает,что запросы идути с яндекса с одним и тем же текстом. Ссылки на них я не размещала, но они откуда то появились(у меня еще один блог на французском языке, я запретила индексацию яндексом , но это оказалось бесполезно). Если вы открыли аккаунт в гугл и создали сайт - все, ждите незваных гостей, при этом нормальных посетителей вы можете так и не должаться.
    Такая унылая картина появилась после первого января и после известных законов, принятых в россии. Из этого я делаю вывод, что сайты носят фискальный характер и бороться с ними бесполезно.

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    1. That's why there's Google Translate, dear. With its help I derived the following, which allows me an impartial understanding of your comment:

      "Sorry to write in Russian (I do not know English), but judging by your name, you also Russian?

      I would like to add that in addition to vampirestat, there are sites like filmhill, yadro ru, flf-cours - under different names, but they are one and the same sites, there is nothing different except the hands, something which draws audiotext and English. These sites hit my site every day, I would be able to ignore them, but all visitors disappeared. The survey statistics show that the requests go to Yandex with the same text. References to them, I did not place, but they came from somewhere (I have another blog in French, I banned Yandex indexing, but it was useless). If you have opened an account in Google and created a website - intruders visit, while normal users and you cannot continue.
      Such a bleak picture emerged after the first of January and after the known laws enacted in Russia. From this I conclude that the sites are fiscal in nature and to deal with them is useless."

      Yes, state actors such as Russia and China and other governments are behind many bad bots and IP addresses today. States such as Russia may be behind the sites you mention. The culprit is not always some greedy black hat hacker. Sometimes the spy or law enforcement agencies have an agenda of their own that may not be obvious to outsiders.

      Many in our world have an intense desire to control others, to have power over others. Knowledge is a form of power, and networks may be abused to obtain knowledge.

      That is why the focus upon security is important. I have made bad bots my particular study. I am able to deal with bad bots in an effective manner.

      On blogger, bad bots are able to play havoc with the statistics, but they have not compromised site security, because Google keeps things secure.

      Delete
  21. I have followed this post because I have had MANY page views from vampirestat, film hill, etc. In the interest of maintaining integrity in my blogs (and I also use Blogger), I will continue to look for updates to this post. Do you anticipate any future changes to Blogger that may allow us to block unwanted spambot page views? Yours is the only info I have found that is relevant to the problems I've experienced. Thank you for edifying me. I look forward to more informative posts like this.

    The Happy Curator (Kim J.)

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    Replies
    1. No. If Google can't fix AdSense--and it's broken on my blog--then I don't think they can fix Blogger either. AdSense is how Google makes money off Blogger, and if they can't get AdSense working right, then what are the odds they can teach Blogger to block unwanted spambots, a zero-profit innovation. I know how to block unwanted spambots, but the method requires having a paid, hosted account with ftp access. I have a very lengthy .htaccess file which I share with the world on this blog, but it will not work on Blogger because Blogger doesn't allow ftp access or .htaccess or anything of the sort.

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  22. Where is their actual physical location? What is their phone number?

    Will Anonymous wreck them?

    I there a way that bloggers can team up and flood their website?

    These companies are criminals run by criminals and they need to be treated like criminals. Will the DOJ stop them, arrest and jail them??? Probably not. Corporate criminals are a protected class.



    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pretty much what I just posted. Apologies for not reading back. I agree with you. There are good people on the net all over the world. I'm not advocating violence here, or illegal action, but why not call out, identify and name these people and confront them? And, as appropriate, bring in law enforcement?

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  23. I seriously was very confused by this... . So as a virgin blogger I clicked it.... Didn't make much sense so I googled it, and here we are. Now I guess I just continue blogging and going about my business, praying my crap doesn't spontaneously combust. Thanks though, lol just wish I woulda searched for an answer this way, the first time. Stay awesome

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  24. like all the others i have received a mountain of views from vampirestat and decided to google it as well. your post came up and i'd like to thank you for this informative post and warning.

    (i will be referring your post to my blogger friends in the hope of warning them about vampirestat and websites that are of a similar nature.;D)

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  25. Igor thanks very much for the info and your commitment. Very useful.

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  26. Is there any reason why so many people complain about these sleazoids, but nobody ever comes up with an action plan to shut them down, or the sleazy hosting services that are willing to take their money and anonymously host them? If this is a criminal enterprise, why can't the good people of the 'net go vigilante on them?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Low on the priority list, I'm afraid...And money rules the world... Also, many of them operate technically within the boundaries of the law. The Internet is still the Wild West in some ways.

      Delete
  27. I am having the same problem. This usually happens whenever I post something new in my blog. I am worried because I just got approved by adsense. I wonder if this spam bots will affect my site credibility. I really hope it is not.

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  28. I never go to a referrer url but I do rightclick on the referrer and look at properties. That seems to be safe to do. You don't actually go to the url.

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  29. Thanks for spreading the word on this. I'm a technically inclined type of guy, so I thought it was weird when I started getting hits from these sites the second I opened my blog.

    Here's some more information about these types of sites, what they do and how they work.

    http://calvinscode.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/blog-writers-beware-spam-sites-sending.html

    Hopefully Google will do something about this.

    - Calvin

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    1. I've been wrestling with spambots for years on multiple web sites. It's not news to me, but then I spent many a night pouring over the site log examining hits and figuring out what they meant. I could write a book about spammers, but it's sufficient for me to warn unsuspecting users not to play along with their silly games. They're the dark side of SEO, the bottom feeders trying to generate artificial buzz.

      I wouldn't hold your breath waiting on Google to do anything. They've got higher priorities than Blogspot. We're lucky Blogspot is still around.

      Delete
  30. Hi! Like most people I click vampirestat and even search my blog spot in their search box, then i do some research on the internet about vampirestat and turn its dangerous, what should I do? Should I erase my blogsite and account as it has more views of vampirestat. I tried clearing my cache and history so there are no more links in my computer then scanned my computer thoroughly, is this enough?

    ReplyDelete

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