From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Internet bots, also known as web robots or simply bots, are software applications that run automated tasks over the internet. Typically, bots perform tasks that are both simple and structurally repetitive, at a much higher rate than would be possible for a human editor alone. The largest use of bots is in web spidering, in which an automated script fetches, analyses and files information from web servers at many times the speed of a human. Each server has a file called
robots.txt containing rules for the spidering of that server that the bot is supposed to obey.
In addition to their uses outlined above, bots may also be implemented where a response speed faster than that of humans is required (eg gaming bots and auction-site robots) or less commonly in situations where th emulation of human activity is required, such as in chat bots.
Internet Gaming Bots
Bots are often used in Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Games MMORPGs to farm for resources that would otherwise take significant time or effort to obtain; this is a concern to most online in-game economies.
IM and IRC
Some bots communicate with other users of Internet-based services, via instant messaging (IM), Internet Relay Chat (IRC), or another web interface. These chatterbots may allow people to ask questions in plain English and then formulate a proper response. These bots can often handle many tasks, including reporting weather, zip-code information, sports scores, converting currency or other units, etc. Others are used for entertainment, such as SmarterChild on AOL Instant Messenger and MSN Messenger and Jabberwacky on Yahoo! Messenger.
An additional role of IRC bots may be to lurk in the background of a conversation channel, commenting on certain phrases uttered by the participants (based on pattern matching). This is sometimes used as a help service for new users, or for censorship of profanity.
There has been a great deal of controversy about the use of bots in an automated trading function. Auction website eBay has been to court in an attempt to suppress a third-party company from using bots to traverse their site looking for bargains; this approach backfired on eBay and attracted the attention of further bots. The United Kingdom-based bet exchange Betfair saw such a large amount of traffic coming from bots they launched a WebService API aimed at bot programmers through which Betfair can actively manage bot interactions.
Another, more malicious use of bots is the coordination and operation of an automated attack on networked computers, such as a denial-of-service attack. (see botnet) Internet bots can also be used to commit click fraud and more recently have seen usage around MMORPG games as computer game bots. A spambot is an internet bot that attempts to spam large amounts of content on the Internet, usually adding advertising links.
- Bots are also used to buy up good seats for concerts, particularly by ticket brokers who resell the tickets. Bots are employed against entertainment event-ticketing and fan club commerce sites, like TicketMaster.com and MusicToday.com. The bots are used by ticket brokers to unfairly obtain the best seats for themselves while depriving the general public from also having a chance to obtain the good seats. The bot runs through the purchase process and obtains better seats by pulling as many seats back as it can. They are an unfortunate occurence, and the solutions against them would be welcome.
- Individual bots
- Incognita - Articifial Intelligence Conversationalist
- SmarterChild bot
- Other bot-related links
- Lots a bots
- Server and SDK for conversational bot development
- Referral bot
- Information on bot detection
- Advanced Robots.txt Generator