"Referral spam - the plague of locusts"

spam locustsSpam referrals (or log referrals) must be the eight plague of Egypt. Like locust swarms it will cover the face of the ground so that it cannot be seen. Spam referrals will distort your web traffic statistics in Google Analytics. My friend Mikael, who happens to be a professional web analysts, patiently and pedagogically explained what it was all about. Spam referrals is spamming aimed at search engines, like Google. The technique involves making repeated web site requests using a fake referer uniform resource locator (URL) to web sites. Sites that publish their access logs, including referer statistics, will then inadvertently link back to the spammer's site. These links will be indexed by search engines as they crawl the access logs. This improves the spammer site's search engine ranking owing to link-counting algorithms that search engines use. Referrer spam can occur in many different guises (or disguises). Ghost spam traffic directly interact with Google Analytics with measurement protocol system where as referral spam directly influence website traffic. Ghost spam don't visit your site, only Google Analytics. The spammers don't even know what site they are spamming. Spammers send traffic to a random series of tracking ID numbers in Google Analytics. The session length is always 00:00:00 and the bounch rate is naturally, 100%. Google Analytics tries to fight back, but there are always hard-fought pockets of resistance and new spammers or spams. When I find spam referrals, I block them out through a spam crawler filter. However, this is both boring and time-consuming. The biblical locusts consumed all the remaining Egyptian crops, leaving no tree or plant standing. Spam referrals will only distort your web traffic statistics. You may now ask - if this is only consequence - why even bother? Well, it's a matter of principle and principles have killed more men than all wars. Spammers try to capitalize on web traffic to other sites, like mine (which to be honest attracts a very limited, but dedicated group of music lovers). How did this happen? Spam referral is the ugly little twin of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Most SEO-methods are serious for sure, but there are dubious SEO-methods in order to inflate and magnify a particular website. Impression is everything, content is nothing. Spam referral sites have absolutely nothing. I have something. I will therefore keep on doing my daily blocking. It's a dirty job, but somebody got to do it.



Before After Before