Packing up camp and moving on


How do I know that my page stats aren’t all mainly bots?

SCRIBD revised their website (over-simplifying it and removing a lot of options, I now appreciate the simple, unfrilled underlined link lists in Author’s Den), and in the process they upgraded their bot-algorithms.  What this means is that they can now discern more clearly between bots and “real people” readers.

As an html writer I’m of course curious how they did this; how do you determine that a click (or a download of a pdf) comes from a real human source rather than a bot?  Especially, how do you do that in retro? There are certain things that identify bots; the most obvious in their name (“crawler”, “spider”, “bot” as part of the name) or their behaviour of clicking on a file that is especially created for bots, called “robots.txt”.  Normal readers wouldn’t even find this file as no website links to it.  But bots look for it and read it, because it contains instructions for them.

Those are the simple bots, and the well-behaved ones.  But what about the rest?  If one of our “Almost Dead in Suburbia” previews (a PDF file) gets clicked and downloaded, how do I know it was a bot or a human?

99 downloads of “Donegal Trouble” on P’kaboo this month.  Anything that is more than 14 is beginning to look suspicious; why would a bot click more often on one link than another?  Why would “Someone laid a Cuckoo’s Egg in my Web Domain” get 12 000 + views on Scribd  over a 3-year period – consistently by bots?  Ah, it contains the words “web domain”, that might be it.  But, “Donegal Trouble”?

There is a level of logic I don’t follow.

I now suspect my Author’s Den stats, my blog stats and our P’kaboo stats, to all be bot-infested, crawling with pests for which one would really want to rip out the can of Doom and spray liberally.  Why?  Because they all move in the same range as my SCRIBD stats did – before the “clean-up”.

So when faced with such an unsolvable conundrum what does gipsika do?

I load up the caravan and move on!

Real feedback from real readers

For this reason, while I made “Mercury Silver” available for free on P’kaboo, it has to be ordered from me by email.  Yes, that is an interim step that will filter out shy web visitors; scared of claiming something that is offered for free, because they have to yield that marvellous web shield, their invisibility.

But what does it help me if all you invisible viewers and visitors are so invisible that you might be bots?  I want to know that it’s real people claiming these free copies, because the offer is limited and bots don’t read short-stories.  (My.  If you, reading this, happen to be a bot and you feel offended, please correct me on this!  I would love to meet my AI clients, and I’d happily send you a copy of the book PLUS ask you for a review.  I’d be very, very, VERY excited to get in touch with this wholly new and untapped kind of person and I’d like to be among the first to fight for your voting rights.)

I’m going to put Donegal Trouble behind such a “click here” wall too; I want to know that you 99 who downloaded it this month are REAL.

An advertising company is trying to convince me that clicks on my website that come from their ad are definitely people not bots.  How do they prove this?

P’kaboo’s page stats look good

…but in the face of “bot-gate” what does this mean?

Therefore I’ll be checking the page stats less, and building more little mechanisms in which people need to do just one more click…

Remember the web rule that people want three clicks maximum before they buy or leave the page?  Apparently, so do bots, and 100% of those don’t buy.  I’m thinking I could perhaps filter them out by means of “squeeze pages”.

If you’re a bot,

click here

If you’re human,

click here



Bless you.

No, I won’t filter with that.  Amazon doesn’t push a Recaptcha into your face while you’re browsing, and only when you buy and fill out the shopping basket etc, do they implement one.  So does Paypal, and seeing that we use Paypal on P’kaboo, I feel that one Recaptcha per buying transaction is aplenty for the average person.


 So the strategy is now:

You can have free stories.  There will be occasional offers on certain books; and permanent offers on others such as “Donegal Trouble”.  

But I want something in return.  I want to know that you, dear reader, are a reader.  If this means you need to click an extra link or order something from an email address, so be it.  No recaptcha.  If you feel exposed, feel free to create a free web email at gmail or AOL, “”, and use a freak name – I mean, a pseudonym (“big man-eating spider crab”), and I will not be able to trace you to your home address.  That’s okay.  As long as “big man-eating spider crab” enjoys the stories!

I’m not the NSA.  Don’t worry!

Free copies of “Mercury Silver” are now available at P’kaboo, for a limited time.

Click the image below to get there:




Updates, RELEASE dates and fresh dates from Woollies

First of all I need to apologize about the lie in the heading.  There are unfortunately no fresh Woollies dates on sale at P’kaboo.

P’kaboo:  Release of “From my Cold Undead Hand” imminent

FMCUH bookseeker imageOn the 15th of September, ebook copies will be available for the first time from the P’kaboo shop, of the brand new vampire-fiction novel by Marie Marshall, “From My Cold Undead Hand”.

grinI’m still pretty chuffed about the way this author, with her exciting and fast-moving style, responded to my “vampire challenge” with a novel that will leave you checking under your bed at night.  That is, if you’re brave.  Otherwise it might take some rescue remedy to get you off to sleep – plus a night light and a handgun loaded with a silver b…  wait, that’s werewolves.

Did I mention that the ebook is available for pre-orders?

Please note:  The ebook is available for pre-orders on the P’kaboo Bookshop site.  Pre-ordering will mean you receive your copy as soon as the ebook is released.  

There is also a surprise waiting for the first 25 copies ordered.  

Read more about this book here.



Honeymead Books:


The inimitable Douglas Pearce.  We meet again, with his second novel published by Honeymead Books:

The Pourne Identity.

If John Pernelli believed in doppelgangers he might well have had second thoughts about boarding British Airways flight 226 from La Guardia airport. Mind you, even if he had had a last minute change of heart, it is doubtful whether the two grey-suited men in dark glasses sitting either side of him in first class would have allowed him not to board. 

If you enjoyed “Almost Dead In Suburbia”, get ready for an even faster, funnier and more confusing trip, this one taking you into France, to meet with secret police, fat-cat politicians, and…  aliens…

Some people have compared Douglas Pearce’s style to that of Terry Pratchett.  Personally, it reminds me more of Douglas Adams, in its way-out ideas and fast execution of the same.

They say laughter is good for your health.  Do yourself a favour and get a copy of this vitamin D.  You will not regret it.

For a limited time, all ebooks on Honeymead Books will be priced at $2.99 to fit your pocket.  

Talking of challenges, Pearce is right now working on a book that will be a little bit – on the juicier side, if you like.  It too started with a challenge.

Honeymead is ideal to represent books such as his:  Rebellious political viewpoints, highlighting the thorns on religious rosebushes, and thoroughly challenging your view on reality evolutionsmileywithout the author having to look over his shoulder to see if any parents are offended every time he wants to write “merde! Le cochon a croupi dans la boue!”.   (P’kaboo would never allow his piggies to get away with that kind of wallowing. )

winkWe are considering restricting Honeymead to readers who can prove that they are not currently raising, or involved in raising, children (own or otherwise).  This will rule out parents, teachers, sports coaches, child psychologists and occupational therapists, and in short, everyone involved in any way in the under-16 industries.

P’kaboo:  Mercury Silver


For a limited time we are making FREE EBOOK COPIES of the short-story collection “Mercury Silver” available on P’kaboo.  They are free right now.

8 authors contributed wildly varying shortstories to “Mercury Silver” which was named after the Roman messenger of the Gods, winged Mercury, who is the patron god of writers, poets, merchants and…  thieves.  (Yeah.  Well.  Those Romans are crazy.)

These stories are a very good combination for readers who love a varied diet.  Explore, experience!  Enjoy a stress-free Saturday afternoon.


The Case for the Waterproof Kindle