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AVG, once seen as one of the best free anti-virus software packages on the market is now a webmaster's nightmare. Some of you may be aware that the latest version of AVG (version 8) comes with a new feature called Link Scanner. Link Scanner pre-scans links on a web search results page to determine whether they are safe to visit. What seemed a good idea to start with soon turned into a fairly large issue.
Early on, we noticed problems with using the link scanner when our internet connection started to suffer noticeably. The link scanner on all machines in our office was causing considerable bandwidth usage and slowing our internet connection down. We were quick to turn this feature off. Little did we realise at that point another problem lurked around the corner which was to be a webmaster nightmare.
With an estimated 20 million users worldwide using AVG 8 and a possibly 50 million users still to upgrade, webmasters are faced with the giant problem of fake traffic. These pre-link checks are skewing web logs all over the world by creating traffic statistics that aren't real human traffic.
Comments from fellow webmasters have shown that in some cases website statistics are being skewed by as much as 40%. Effectively, the more you are shown in the search results the more your web statistics are likely to be distorted. What AVG does not realise is that for site optimisers and website owners this is causing a serious issue because it affects decisions that are made based on web stats. AVG’s focus is on security above and beyond the statistical issues that are being caused. However, recent communication from Roger Thompson of AVG suggests that they are looking to work with webmasters to help resolve these issues.
If you’re worried about AVG affecting your Google AdWords then don't worry, it seems that AVG have a work around on this see: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/06/19/avg_linkscanner_and_adwords/ for more info.
For some there is an extended issue that a large amount of bandwidth and server storage is being used by such a feature. If your hosting company limits you on either of these, keep an eye out as you could be seeing a rather large bill soon.
We are interested in hearing your views, opinions and results on any analysis so please post your comments below.