Spambot census I found myself bored last night and suddenly interested in the demographics of battle.net spam, so to speak. Who's doing the spamming, how many are doing it, and how are they doing it? So I collected my own little mini-census: Method: Close monitoring of default channels and trading channels on USEast server. Randomly joining normal, nightmare, and hell games on USEast LoD softcore ladder. Data collected over a three-hour period overnight/early morning St. Patrick's Day, well after peak hours mid-week. Fewer actual players made it a bit easier to spot the bots. Theory: The spambots recorded in public channels likely represent "most" of such bots left on overnight, since I can access all the spammed channels easily. Spambots recorded going game-to-game I estimate represent only "some" of such bots, since I did not access nonladder, hardcore, or classic games, only LoD softcore ladder. Data: 8 spambots counted wandering public channels: 3 with out-loud messages, 3 sending whispers, and 2 apparently muted. 10 spambots counted joining games: 4 via normal login and 6 bypassing normal login (i.e., bots that battle.net claims aren't logged in even though they're right there). Not as much data as I'd have liked, but it's enough to make a reasonable estimate. Conclusion: Based on my counts, I estimate about 10 public channel spambots and about 30 game-to-game spambots operating on USEast at any given time. It's unsurprising that game-to-game spambots are more popular: they're not nearly as vulnerable to detection and muting by battle.net admins, whereas 2 out of 8 of the channel spambots I found seemed to have already been muted! So, about 40 spambots on USEast. Extrapolating to the other gateways-- USWest likely has a similar number, Europe and Asia fewer-- I estimate the whole Diablo II / battle.net spambot population at about 100, maybe less, worldwide. Not as bad as I thought coming into this project, but still too many. So who's the bad guy? I can now identify with some confidence the most prolific spammer on battle.net: _vip.com. (Duh, like we didn't know that already!) _vip.com was directly named by only a modest 25% of the spambots I recorded, but the site is also indirectly behind additional spam going on. To capitalize on _vip.com's "affiliate program", another spammer has recently begun aggressively spamming his site, _team.tk, which now invisibly redirects to _vip.com. I recorded two channel bots spamming for _team.tk, raising _vip.com's spambot share to 30%. That's roughly twice as many as the next runner-up (_matrix.com)! As a final note, a substantial number of players are infected by trojans which cause them to spam, unwittingly, for the _team.tk redirect site! I didn't include any of those trojan victims in my findings-- they're not really bots, per se, even though they are spamming. Therefore it's likely that _vip.com is actually responsible for significantly more than 30% of battle.net spam, due to the number of players infected by _team.tk's trojan.