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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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Why oh why hasn't Google sorted the referral spam issue yet?

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

I know how to exclude referral spam from my Analytics reports but I've been doing this for over a year now and every month the spam referral sites change so I update my list and apply my filters - again.

 

There are loads of sites telling me how to do this but what I want to know is why is Google so quiet about this problem?

 

Are they even working to resolve it?

 

Google please let us know what you are doing about this issue...

2 Expert replyverified_user

Re: Why oh why hasn't Google sorted the referral spam issue yet?

Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor
Hi Michelle,

Completely agreed. Does any Googler here knows firsthand information on that?

In the meanwhile, you may take a look at the recently proposed browser-size approach for spam filtering.

Christoph

[1] https://www.e-nor.com/blog/google-analytics/new-google-analytics-feature-browser-size

Re: Why oh why hasn't Google sorted the referral spam issue yet?

[ Edited ]
Rising Star
# 3
Rising Star

Michelle,

I understand the frustration. While the spam issue seems out of control, I've detected some actions, for instance, the spam is shut down after a few days, even if you see it hitting you on the real time report it won't be stored.

Another limitation I've detected is that the number of simultaneous hits was limited before the spam could hit your reports dozens of times in the same "visit".

Even with that, I know it is not enough because the spammers keep finding workarounds and changing the names. While we wait for a permanent solution (which I think is hard, there has been always spam), another option to stop this threat is by using a filter using only your hostnames, this filter will keep away 99% of the spam.

I applied it almost one year, and no ghost spam has hit me again since then. You can find more information about this solution in this guide.
http://www.ohow.co/what-is-referrer-spam-how-stop-it-guide/

Hope it helps,

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Analytics Consultant at Carloseo.com - Find me on Twitter | Email me

Re: Why oh why hasn't Google sorted the referral spam issue yet?

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 4
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Hello again Carlos.

By using a filter using only my hostname I will keep away 99% of the spam, you are saying....
Does this mean that is I use that method I do not have to care about the exclusion filter with spam hostes wich would need to be updated for every new variation of the spammer name ?

Petter

Re: Why oh why hasn't Google sorted the referral spam issue yet?

Rising Star
# 5
Rising Star
That's right Peter. This filter will take care of all ghost spam no matter what name it uses. So you won't have to create/update your filters everytime

Most of the spam in GA right now has a fake or (not set) hostname because they never access the host (your website), so creating a filter that only allows traffic from your real hostnames will automatically leave out all the fake traffic.

There is a small amount of other type of spam that uses crawlers to access your page, therefore these will leave a real hostname.
Google Analytics Rising Star | Was my response helpful? If yes, please mark it as the 'Best Answer.' Learn how here!
Analytics Consultant at Carloseo.com - Find me on Twitter | Email me

Re: Why oh why hasn't Google sorted the referral spam issue yet?

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 6
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
That is great Carlos !!!

I just wonder. If its that easy,,,,why don't Google create a filter like that as default when we create an account ?


Petter

Re: Why oh why hasn't Google sorted the referral spam issue yet?

Rising Star
# 7
Rising Star
This filter is very dependent on the website configuration, while many websites will only have one hostname (their domain) many others will be more complex and have other hostnames for services like paying gateways, CDN's, other domains, etc., you can even have real hostnames that you won't want to include like staging or development environments.

So it isn't something standard that can be applied and shared between websites.

Carlos
Google Analytics Rising Star | Was my response helpful? If yes, please mark it as the 'Best Answer.' Learn how here!
Analytics Consultant at Carloseo.com - Find me on Twitter | Email me

Re: Why oh why hasn't Google sorted the referral spam issue yet?

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 8
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Petter,

You're right - if the solution can be relatively easily put in place by all of us surely it would be easy for Google to do it themselves.

Carlos - maybe you should offer the solution to Google!!!!

It still bothers me that they are not saying anything about it in forums/communities to reassure us all that they are trying to resolve the problem.

Does anyone know if the Premium version of Analytics has this problem - maybe there is our answer if not. They want us to buy the premium version...

Re: Why oh why hasn't Google sorted the referral spam issue yet?

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 9
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
I've actually noticed over the past couple of days that a lot of my clients sites have seen a huge decrease in referral spam. In fact, after looking at numerous sites where I have referral spam filters in place and the "Exclude all hits from known bots and spiders" box checked, I can clearly see that this decrease started January 14, 2016.

In the past, the filters and "Exclude all hits..." didn't really seem to work. I would have to create an advance segment to filter out the referral spam (and then you're limited to only 20). But with what looks like a new change, GA may be paying attention to the items I mentioned above.