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I have a sidebar of commission junction ads, and they are plain text links (a-tags) with rel="nofollow" attributes in them

I'm getting hundreds of "clicks" per day in my daily stats on CJ's dashboard.

This seems likely to be wrong, because I have Adsense ads as well, and I usually get < 5 clicks per day from that.

Is it possible that webcrawlers are clicking my no-follow ads? how do I go about diagnosing and stopping these false clicks?

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It is very possible that automated robots are crawling your nofollow links. Only a few robots such as Googlebot pay attention to those tags. Other robots ignore them.

You can use one of these techniques to block them better:

  • Send them through a redirector that is blocked by robots.txt. More robots obey that than nofollow.
  • Use JavaScript to write the links into the page. Very few robots execute JavaScript.

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