short for: robot, a.k.a. autobot, badbot, chatbot, goodbot, infobot, knowbot, mailbot, shopping bot, softbot, crawler, transactional bot, informational bot, monitoring bot, backlink check bot, Twitterbot

A bot is a program that runs on a computer 24/7, automating mundane tasks for the owner, even if the owner is not [[login or log in|logged in]]. Bots are also used on the Internet in a variety of ways, for example on search engines.

Search engine bots, also called spiders and crawlers, explore the World Wide Web. For example, they retrieve Web pages and follow all of the hyperlinks within each. Once they have that information, they generate catalogs that can be accessed by search engines. Popular search sites, such as Google use this kind of automated method along with their own proprietary algorithms to generate their uniquely accurate search results. Webmasters are encouraged to understand the peculiarities of each search engine's bot so that they can design pages for retrieval by specific keywords. Social networks, such as Twitter, use bots too.

Another online example is "shopping bots," accessible through a Web site's proprietary technology, these bots search the Web for the cheapest prices of products (such as clothing). There's also "gaming bots' and "mailbots" and much more. It's now broken down into "good bots" and "bad bots":

Good Bots:

  • Chatbots
  • Crawlers
  • Transactional bots
  • Informational bots
  • Entertainment / Art bots
  • Game / Poker bots
  • Monitoring bots
  • Backlink checker bots
  • Social Network bots
  • Partner bots
  • Aggregator / feedfetcher bots

Bad Bots:

  • Hackers
  • Spammers
  • Scrapers
  • Impersonators
  • Scalpers
  • Spam bots

Historical perspective: Some of the first bots were IRC bots, programs that connect to an IRC network and interact with IRC in very much the same way a normal user does (in fact, IRC servers treat bots as regular users). Most IRC bots are used for channel control. Also known as "automatons," bots are disliked by most operators and users because of the system resources they consume.

By 2018, bots became Twitter’s fake follower problem. An investigation by The New York Times revealed that dozens of politicians, celebrities, and business people had bought fake Twitter followers to make themselves look more popular online. Those counterfeit accounts, known as bots, were purchased from Florida-based Devumi, one of dozens of online firms operating in the shadowy global marketplace for social media cyberfraud. Drawing on a stock of 3.5 million automated accounts, many of which use real people’s stolen photos and identities, Devumi supplied customers with more than 200 million Twitter followers over three years and made more than $6 million in sales. Actor John Leguizamo has Devumi followers, as does swimsuit model and entrepreneur Kathy Ireland, and Ray Lewis, the football commentator and former NFL linebacker. In some cases, Devumi’s customers might be guilty of fraud, according to The Washington Post. Companies now routinely pay thousands of dollars to influencers, celebrities with massive online followings, to promote products to their followers. But if an influencer pads his or her follower count with bots, the companies are paying for something illusory. By some estimates, up to 48 million active Twitter users, 15 percent of the total, are automated accounts, while Facebook may be home to 60 million bots.

See also : robot  search engine  shopping bot  
NetLingo Classification: Net Technology