- Google Analytics Spam

Does "" appear in your Google Analytics landing page report? Read more to learn about referrer spam from "" and how to stop it.

What is ""? 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 the exact landing page "/" or page 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 into other types such as page title spam, page URL (technically request URI) spam, language spam, etc.

Why do you see this and what is the goal of the spammers? The reason you see it is Google Analytics's Measurement Protocol which allows anyone to send 'fake' traffic into your GA stats. The goal of the spammer is to get you to visit the URL you see as a landing page or a page in the content report so you are then duped into purchasing services or products from them, or using free tools they provide that they benefit from (e.g. browser plugins, shells, etc.). Sometimes you might end up catching a nasty bug (computer virus) from such pages so it is not recommended to visit them. Monetization is basically the same as with e-mail spam.

The second thing to understand is that there is nothing you can do on your site or server (.htaccess rules, WP plugins, firewalls, etc. wont help one bit!) 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 and would not be visible in server logs.

Google Analytics Lifehacker Spam example of referrer spam in Google Analytics

Can traffic from landing page spam hurt my site?

Traffic, registering session with a landing page of "/" in your traffic reports or the same page in your Content 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 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 Request URI dimension, filtering out the string. 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.ɢ language and other spam:

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