Interesting referrer

by Volker Weber

Stefan has an interesting referrer.



Looks like these are prank referrers. See Brent Simmons' weblog for more — he got the same thing:

i had the same referrer this morning...

Pepino, 2003-04-03

Also from

Stefan Rubner, 2003-04-03

Network Data
Network id#: 1 LLC VZN-DSL (NET-66-12-0-0-1) -
Genuity DSL VZN-DSL-GEN-BLK02 (NET-66-12-128-0-1) -

GTE Intelligent Network Services (GTE2-DOM)
5525 MacArthur Blvd.
IRVING, TX 75038

Administrative Contact:
Verizon Online (XZTJATUWFO) hostmaster@GTE.NET

Volker Weber, 2003-04-03

Also, there doesn't seem to be a server named

I vote for prank, too.

Baumi, 2003-04-03

Och komm, da glaubt irgendwer noch halbwegs ernsthaft an Referer?

Wolfgang Flamme, 2003-04-03

Yes Wolfgang, some of us still like referrers, but it does pay to "take them with a pinch of salt" as they say ;-)

FWIW, the prank Brent got also originated from a GTE service.

sorry for having switched to german above: what I meant was "someone still really believes in referrers?".
I like them, too - but I don't believe in them.

Tonight I found another issue with referrers, even if your site is not in danger because you parse URLs for tags you might keep a URLEncoded referrer log that corrupts other sites.
I described the issue here
but will consider this in the spam-safe routines of the blogsphere project too. Just about to write a note.

Tested it with Volker's referrer log tonight and unfortunately, although Volker's site itself doesn't seem to be vulnerable, there is a problem:
See '' referrer in Volker's referrer list, performing a redirect back to here.

Wolfgang Flamme, 2003-04-04

The note mentioned above now is available in en: /4beaad33b01aa35d88256cfe002e502a!OpenDocument


Wolfgang Flamme, 2003-04-04

Yes, I'm amazed people go on referrers to such a degree: James Duncan Davidson has just 'blogged about the FBI referrer also. I take the view that anytying can be spoofed. For example, I've had referrers from and Well, I know full well that my wee site hasn't featured there.

I regard referrers as a handy way of discovering new sites, nothing more, and I think ultimately, we will have to abandon them, as referrer spamming becomes more common. A pity, but there it is.

i have the same thing. hit me 3 times all with the same id at the end.

mike essl, 2003-04-05


you can trust IP due to http 3-way-handshake and the timestamp. However I know of at least one US domino hoster who's last year's logs claimed he was located somewhere in siberia (admin didn't know eastern from western longitude appearantly) so I'm not absolutely confident with respect to the timestamp...
Anything else (user_agent, referrer) can be spoofed easily.

I'm afraid referrer spam will rapidly increase, too.

- weblogs are becoming more and more popular as well as displaying ones referrers to the audience/community - an attractive way for spammers to become 'promoted'.

- referrer spamming is much more effective (thus much cheaper) than email spamming. You don't even need a high speed connection, even a modem will do fine. Another broad wave of 'get rich immediately' is awaiting us - we cannot keep track of so many IPs to block.

- there are more ways to cheat than in email spam. And cheating is much easier to do.

- there's no need to look for open relays any more or circumvent the restrictions of throwaway and freemail accounts

- victims are easier to target: eg you get an updated, ready-to-spam XML list from and don't need to do any email harvesting or blind mailing no more.

- it's not illegal

Yes, the hype will cease rapidly as soon as validating referrers will become common. But that might impose different threats which I'm still investigating about.

The idea of referrers is a very valuable one but it has to be replaced by a more reliable method. Unfortunately TrackBack has similar issues as I have already pointed out.

To speak the truth, I'm out of ideas at the moment.

Wolfgang Flamme, 2003-04-05

Hi Volker!
Awake, aren't you? :-)
Just wanted to find out how your code is built. If I can cheat *you* I'm sure it's an issue noone has taken care of.

OK I stop it now. Sorry for having been a p.i.t.a.

Wolfgang Flamme, 2003-04-05

Never mind. I have a very convenient way to get rid of this spam.

Volker Weber, 2003-04-05

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