Web metrics are a spectator sport for me and I watch the ticker like a fan who knows the game is sometimes rigged. Bloggers like Bill Tancer and the guys behind Search Engine Land are my tipsters. Firms like comScore and Hitwise are the official word on site popularity, but everyone on the sidelines still rubbernecks the lists on del.icio.us and Alexa. Yahoo and Google have bragging rights to most of the traffic, but even they admit their annual lists are groomed like Chihuahuas at a dog show. In the meantime, search spammers work the online crowd like pickpockets who know enough about human nature to ply a good trade.

Hot tips this week:

  1. Facebook and Weatherbug get more return visitors than the usual frontrunners like eBay and Amazon.
  2. Keep your hand on your wallet if you’re searching for “drugs” or “ringtones” online since those are the top spammer-targeted categories.
  3. Be careful walking down any unfamiliar blogspot alleys since that domain is the top choice for spammers hoping to waylay unsuspecting searchers.