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Learn to identify referral spam traffic, as well as best practices to reduce referral spam in your Google Analytics account
 
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What could cause a hostname to appear as (not set)?

[ Edited ]
Google Employee
# 1
Google Employee

This question, originally asked by Pat Stockley was copied from the old Google Analytics product forum.

 

Hello GA Users,

 
I'm creating a hostname filter to remove spam referrals from my data.
 
However, (not set) is the second most reffered hostname in my list of hostnames in Analytics>Audience>Network>Hostname and I worry that this could be useful data.
 
What could be causing the hostname to appear as (not set)?
1 Expert replyverified_user

What could cause a hostname to appear as (not set)?

Google Employee
# 2
Google Employee

This answer was provided by Carlos Escalera Ohow and copied from the old Google Analytics product forum.

 

Hi Pat,

 
In a real visit when a user sees one of your pages for example www.yourwebsite.com/page, the hostname of the page (most of the time the principal domain) in this case www.yourwebsite.com is registered
 
Since ghost spam never reaches your page they don't know what the real hostname is, so they use either a fake one like google.ru or they just leave it as not set. If you have spam on your reports is possible that you see not set name for referrals, keywords or even direct traffic.
 
You can find detailed information about this type of spam on this article
 
Hope it helps