motherboard.vice.com - Google Analytics Spam
Does "motherboard.vice.com" appear in your Google Analytics referrer and "motherboard.vice.com/read/this-pro-trump-russian-is-spamming-google-analytics" in your full referrer or page title reports? Read more to learn about referrer spam from "motherboard.vice.com" and how to stop it.
What is "motherboard.vice.com"?
motherboard.vice.com is one of the latest examples of a new generation Google Analytics spam that our monitoring tools have picked up. If you're seeing sessions with that exact referrer and full referrer "motherboard.vice.com/read/this-pro-trump-russian-is-spamming-google-analytics" then your analytics account has been a victim of spammers that pollute your stats in order to get your attention. This traffic first appeared as referral spam, but later morphed.
The site is a legitimate vice.com subdomain - their tech section. This traffic also comes with language set to "o-o-8-o-o.com search shell is much better than google!" so it also classifies as language spam. The goal of the spammer is to get you to visit the URL in the language setting so you are then duped into purchasing services or products from them, or using free tools they benefit from (e.g. browser plugins, shells, etc.). Monetization is basically the same as with e-mail spam.
There is also nothing you can do on your side (.htaccess rules, WP plugins, firewalls, etc.) as this is ghost traffic that bypasses your server and targets Google Analytics directly using what is called "Measurement Protocol". Unlike regular bot spam, ghost traffic appears only in your GA reports.
example of motherboard.vice.com referrer spam in Google Analytics
Can traffic from language spam hurt my site?
Traffic, registering session with source / medium of "motherboard.vice.com/read/this-pro-trump-russian-is-spamming-google-analytics" / referral in your referrer or source/medium reports poses no direct harm to your site. Of course, the indirect harm caused by the data polution is hard to estimate and will vary. It tends to hit smaller sites harder, as it represents a higher percentage of their overall traffic.
How can I stop or block motherboard.vice.com spam?
The recommended way is to setup view filters in Google Analytics - an include filter to include only valid hostnames of your site and an exclude filter for the Campaign Source dimension, filtering out the motherboard.vice.com domain. This is the easiest and most scalable solution (scalable to an extent). You can see why other options are non-options or have significant shortcomings in the recommended articles linked just below.
Digital agencies managing Google Analytics for clients or using Google Analytics reports in their daily work appreaciate our fully-automated, set-and-forget solution called Auto Spam Filters that has a 14-day free trial for 3 websites. It's the best solution when dealing with tens or hundreds of clients and is used successfully by more than 2000 websites for permanent anti-spam protection.
You can check our articles detailing the issue of analytics spam as well as solutions for Secret.ɢoogle.com language and other spam:
- Language Spam - The Latest Google Analytics Spam
- The original and technically comprehensive guide to Google Analytics Referrer Spam (and how to combat it)
- INFOGRAPHIC: Referral Spam in Google Analytics Explained in 5 minutes
- Google Analytics Refferer Spam - Solved!
- Quick Guide to Removing Referral Spam
Trend of search interest in the last 7 days:
Other active referral spam domains*
Most active language spam, browser spam and page title spam*
* since these are subject to daily change, we look at Google Analytics spam activity for the past couple of weeks. This is by no means a comprehensive list and may not be up to date.