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IP address question from an IP address newbie

On our site we used to require that people create a user account in order to rate items. We decided to open up ratings so that anyone on the site can easily just click to rate - no login or account required. We do track whether or not a user is logged in and we attach their login screen-name to their rating. If someone is rating items without logging in we track their IP address.

Before opening up ratings to all site visitors, we had approx 30 items rated over an 11 month period. We opened up ratings approx 24 hours ago and we've had over 800 items rated. In that time period we collected about 35 IP addresses.

Looking at the IP addresses, there are a few that are distinct, and then there are a slew of really similar ones (,, I am totally ignorant about IP addressing -- can this be a robot or something that is going nuts on our rating capabilities? Is there a better way to deal with ratings than the way we are doing things as of yesterday?

Any insight is greatly appreciated!

[eluser]GSV Sleeper Service[/eluser]
those are msn-bots, you can find a lot of info about an IP using nslookup or whois, eg
$ nslookup
Server:         x.x.x.x
Address:        x.x.x.x#53

Non-authoritative answer:       name = msnbot-65-55-209-81.search.msn.com.

Yes it's a bot but not in the sense that you're thinking,, 82, 83, etc. belong to the MSN bot for MSN search - it was indexing your site and likely trying to follow the links for ratings. Your first order of business is to set up a robots.txt file (google it). If you look at your logs and have them resolve IP's you'd see that the IP belonged to msnbot-65-55-209-83.search.msn.com - you can also figure that out from a command line using: nslookup <ip address>

Thanks - very very helpful!

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