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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 were referral spam + ghost referrals created? Who benefits?

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

No one has been able to tell me the purpose of referral spam and/or ghost referrals.  How does traffic2money.com or duckduckgo.com make money off of landing on my website?  Please keep it simple.  I'm in marketing - not I.T. or programming. 

3 Expert replyverified_user

Re: Why were referral spam + ghost referrals created? Who benefits?

Rising Star
# 2
Rising Star
Hey Allison, how are things?

Referral SPAM or Ghost Referral is a way to bring free traffic to their website, and see if any of those users become interested on using their services.

They make money by promoting or gathering users to use their products.

1. SPAM will occur on your GA
2. User will see the SPAM Referral
3. User will access Referral URL
4. User MAY become interested in using their services

That's it.

Hope this helps.

Leandro Martinez | Basta1Click

Re: Why were referral spam + ghost referrals created? Who benefits?

Top Contributor
# 3
Top Contributor
Hi Allison,

In simple words this is a marketing technique to drive traffic to the spammers' sites. They will appear in the reports and webmasters will check out their sites and/or post about it on forums. Do not visit these sites as they can be a source of a virus or trojan infection. If you find a suspicious referrer I'd recommend to do a Google search first to see if you can trust it. Hope this helps.

Arnold Majlath, Google Analytics Top Contributor
Circle Me On Google+ | Visit me @ Redfly Digital

Re: Why were referral spam + ghost referrals created? Who benefits?

Top Contributor
# 4
Top Contributor
There are several reasons they might want you to click their link:
- they give you an affiliate link and send you to a shopping website like Alibaba or Amazon. If you buy anything in the next N days, they collect an affiliate fee. This has happened a lot.
- they want traffic to their own site. They have something to offer and want people to see it (or they have a big ego). This also happens a lot.
- they want traffic to the site mentioned. Some web agencies/individuals have sold traffic 'from real website owners' to unsuspecting customers. Think of it as zero-cost targeted ads. This happens once in awhile until their customers get barraged with complaints.
- they want to infect you with something nasty...a PC trojan, or browser toolbar, or something. This doesn't happen very often, but could.

Mike Sullivan, Google Analytics Top Contributor
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Re: Why were referral spam + ghost referrals created? Who benefits?

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 5
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Thanks, Mike S., for the info. I appreciate your taking the time!

Re: Why were referral spam + ghost referrals created? Who benefits?

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 6
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Thank you, Arnold M. Very helpful!

Re: Why were referral spam + ghost referrals created? Who benefits?

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 7
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
That's so cray, Leandrofm. The tactic certainly doesn't work on me...! I appreciate your counsel.

Re: Why were referral spam + ghost referrals created? Who benefits?

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 8
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
one more thing to add.

This is an old school blackhat technique to get websites who publish their analytics to inadvertently provide a link to the spam site. The link doesn't hurt you, but they might benefit from the link (Google PageRank) or gain traffic.

StevieD
Google Webmaster Forum TC

PS : The link you provided in the OP is nofollow tagged by Google. So there is no harm/advantage of publishing the url in any of the Google forums.