Systematic efforts of monitoring starspots from the middle of the XXth century, and the results obtained from the datasets, are summarized with special focus on the observations made by automated telescopes. Multicolour photometry shows correlations between colour indices and brightness, indicating spotted regions with different average temperatures originating from spots and faculae. Long-term monitoring of spotted stars reveals variability on different timescales.
On the rotational timescale new spot appearances and starspot proper motions are followed from continuous changes of light curves during subsequent rotations. Sudden interchange of the more and less active hemispheres on the stellar surfaces is the so called flip-flop phenomenon. The existence and strength of the differential rotation is seen from the rotational signals of spots being at different stellar latitudes.
Long datasets, with only short, annual interruptions, shed light on the nature of stellar activity cycles and multiple cycles. The systematic and/or random changes of the spot cycle lengths are discovered and described using various time-frequency analysis tools. Positions and sizes of spotted regions on stellar surfaces are calculated from photometric data by various softwares. From spot positions derived for decades, active longitudes on the stellar surfaces are found, which, in case of synchronized eclipsing binaries can be well positioned in the orbital frame, with respect to, and affected by, the companion stars.