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If Google is so 'smart' how come they can't stop Referral Spam ?

     
9:03 pm on Mar 18, 2015 (gmt 0)

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If Google is so 'smart' how come they can't stop Referral Spam ?

Before I started using GA a year ago.. and some years before..

It would kind of bug me seeing all the 404 errors that would be commonly noted as referral spam.

Now that I am also using GA... they sure do show up.

In particular I am referring to what people are calling "ghost referals."

I cross reference with pings to get their ip address and they don't show up in my logs. And the "ghost referrals" are spoken about in numerous websites.

My websites aren't particularly big...

So they "stick out" in the referral logs.

1.) Do these "ghost referrals" count as legitimate hits to my website in GA ?

2.) Should I just not care about them anymore.. and stop give up chasing them down and putting filters on for them ?

Yes, I know about blocking in .htaccess files.. but that doesn't do anything about "ghost referrals."

Thanks for your thoughts and comments.
3:02 pm on Mar 19, 2015 (gmt 0)

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1) Yep, unless you act to exclude them.
2) Care some, take some action, but recognize the point of diminishing returns.

Good article on the steps to take:
[analyticsedge.com...]
9:48 pm on Apr 28, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Just reading up on this and glad to see the very reference I was reading is quoted here.

One more evil thing in the world to keep up with.

Thanks to WebmasterWorld I feel like the bad guys are losing on this one, at least as it pertains to my sites!
2:19 am on Apr 29, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Any mitigation tactics undertaken have to be maintained. The bad guys change their persona like folks change their underwear... These are not set and forget solutions!
3:38 am on Apr 30, 2015 (gmt 0)

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If G nuked them, shortly afterwards there would be people framing the innocent, to get them G nuked.

And, no amount of policing will cure this issue, it's too scalable on the offending side.

Anonymity is a scourge, eventually, private nets will break out, where some centralized party is trusted by its members to be the arbiter of identity, and the master who makes it mandatory for you personally to surf in a safe manner. This will require using centralized machine computing (aka cloud), decentralized leaves it to each person to be safe, and while I love my fellow man, I don't trust him with my security, collectively, he's been proven to be unworthy.

Instead of nuking the anonymous, we should reward those who self-verify thru 3rd parties, begin the process of making anonymity a junior-level access entity.

Stores don't really need to know who I am, but there will emerge a way for individuals to certify their identity to a third party that the site owner trusts to a high degree.

Until then, let's sing kumbaya and pretend everyone (and every thing) on the internet is either a friend or a friend-to-be.

Hahha, you're still a pup Internet, still a pup.
8:00 am on Apr 30, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Back to the OP... Can g stop this?

Probably not. Take a deep breath and continue. Meanwhile, write your own filters to delete the chaff and know that WMT is not going to do it. :)
12:57 pm on Apr 30, 2015 (gmt 0)

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My quick look at data on this shows it is less than 1% traffic, but gaining.

Please, what are others seeing in their data?
10:26 am on May 6, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Blocking through .htaccess file dont work. What I recommend you to apply filter in Google analytics.

Obviously we can't ignore spam traffic. In most of the cases bounce rate is very high. So it has negative effect considering user friendliness of website.

So we should try filtering those traffic by blocking campaign source XYZ.com
7:21 pm on Aug 20, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I'm using this as a filter.

semalt|seo|buttons|get|free|sex|event\-|tracking|\-video|money|semaltmedia|traffic|how\-|\-to|chinese|amezon|social|hongfanji|sitevaluation|floating|share

Seems to get most of it - I'm simply using this as an advanced filter to exclude these strings from sources (using regex of course)

It seems to be the least complex, most easily measurable approach that I can easily augment when necessary.

That and checking the box "Exclude all hits from known bots and spiders" via Bot Filtering in GA Admin panel.

Surely I'm missing some!

Today's find was sexyali dot com which was the thing that got me back working on this.

Anyone care to add anything to this list? I'll set it up as a custom filter in the future but this seems good enough for now.
9:57 pm on Aug 21, 2015 (gmt 0)

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If you have a lot of traffic (like more than 5,000 sessions per day), this problem is tiny, it'll make up less than 1% of your total recorded traffic.
But if you have 50 sessions per day, it can easily be more than 10% of total recorded traffic.

My point is still that Google could easily kill all of this, aggregated policing is easy.
Leaving it to each of us, is to cause thousands to toil.

What we need is one good story where Google penalizes just one of these guys, poof, problem will disappear.
Ban them forever from AdWords, GMail, Analytics, YouTube, and the SERPs.
What they are doing is INTENTIONALLY mucking up the analytical tools people use to primarily make online marketing decisions.

If the local female escort service slapped their bumper stickers across the drive-thru menu board outside McDonalds, would McDonalds do nothing?
Google, you already have a setting for blocking bad bots and spiders, just add these turkeys to that class of miscreants.
11:11 pm on Aug 21, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I once worked on a site that had been deeply hacked.

There were tens of thousands of pages of the most inappropriate content, not only that, it was in multiple languages - and it was very search engine friendly.

How did I know what was going on? Google Analytics.

I pay very close attention to this kind of thing - and everyone should - however Google should be absolutely doing more than they do.