A Brief History of Bots and its Impact Today

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A Brief History of Bots and its Impact Today


By definition, a bot is a software application that performs automated tasks. This is done by running scripts over the internet. But has your business considered using a chatbot? With how much help it can offer and wonders that it can do, a bot is definitely a change-maker in internet marketing. What’s more amazing is that it can perform simple and repetitive tasks so much faster than humans. Read more to learn a brief history of bots and its impact today.


With all the big data technology developments, bots are considered to be harmless and important in making the internet more useful and valuable. Basically, bots serve various purposes that are essential to a business.


Bots and Their Uses

Among the most popular uses of bots online is for web spidering or crawling. This allows the internet to search companies and analyze tons of files on servers across the world. Without help from bots, Google and other search engines would not be able to exist.

Bots are also capable of performing some actions for a person if they can’t do it themselves. The tasks will be performed at a faster pace and in a repetitive manner. Most servers allow bots to do various administrative tasks or provide information and help to users. Moreover there’s a type of bot called auction bot. This type of bot is capable of placing multiple bids in just a few seconds - this gives bidders the chance to acquire the item they want before the auction ends.


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The History of Bots

Bots have a long history and some of the oldest ones can be traced back to 1988 along with the emergence of Internet Relay Chat (IRC). Some of the first bots used by IRC are Greg Lindahl’s Game Manager, Jyrki Alakuijala’s Puppe, and Bill Wisner’s Bartender. The earliest bots were able to provide automated services and sat in a channel that kept the server from closing down due to inactivity.

Other notable bots in history were the web crawlers. In fact, the very first bot used to index web pages was webcrawler that was created in 1994. AOL first used it in 1995, then Excite bought in 1997. The most popular webcrawler is Googlebot (1996) or BackRub as it was originally called. Now even Facebook has bots, what is a Facebook bot? Have you ever heard of those?


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Among the earliest botnet programs were Pretty Park and Sub7, which were a worm and a Trojan, respectively. They were released into the IRC network in the year 1999. These bots were created to install themselves secretly on machines when they connect to an IRC channel so they could listen for malicious commands.

Another notable botnet program, GTbot, emerged in 2000. The bot was a fake mIRC client program capable of some of the first denial of service attacks. During the succeeding years, botnet creators were able to use infected machines to carry out various attacks such as ransomware and information theft.



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The popularity of botnets continually grows and is even considered by experts to be the favorite tool of hackers. One of the biggest botnets, created in 2007, was called “Storm.” It was estimated that this bot infected up to 50 million computers and was used for many types of crimes, including stock price fraud and identity theft. Furthermore, in 2009, a botnet program Cutwail was used to send out an astounding 74 billion spam emails per day.

Undeniably, the internet would not be as it is today without bots. With the help of bots, we can now quickly find useful information by searching through millions of pages in just a few seconds.


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Daniela Belevan

Written by Daniela Belevan

Daniela Belevan is the Marketing Director at DecoGraphic, managing and implementing inbound marketing strategies. When she’s not at Deco uploading blogs or optimizing client’s websites, you can find her lifting (or attempting to lift) heavy at CrossFit.


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