Google Analytics Referrer Spam Test: Call for Ideas

May 28, 2015

One of the current bigger issues in the Digital Strategy industry is that of Referrer Spam in Google Analytics. This refers to spammers spoofing a website’s Google Analytics property ID, and using it to create fake referral views from spam domains, in an effort to gain exposure for their site. It causes numbers to differ from reality, creates spam entries in the data that have to be dealt with, and generally causes the Analytics account to be less useful.

A factor that complicates this further is that there is currently no “solution” that entirely fixes this issue. Additionally, new and novel versions of this spam are begining to appear: I recently created a test property in my development account to work on a new site. Within 15 minutes of creating the property, I noticed an Event hit. This Event hit was a spam event, trying to drive traffic to their site. This is a property ID that has never been online, wasn’t currently active on any sites, and yet it still got spammed nearly instantly.

At fjorge, we have had enough. We love Google Analytics, but have hit our breaking point with the referrer spam. So, we are trying to do something about it.


The Tests

Right now, we have a few web properties setup to test our theories on referrer spam. Our goal is to try out possible solutions to the spam, and see if any work. We have a couple tests deployed, but we also want to hear from you:

  • Have you seen any other forms of referrer spam, outside of referrals and events?
  • Do you have any ideas to fight this that you want tested?

We will be updating with results, solutions, and any other findings over the coming months. Leave a comment below, and let’s join forces against the spammers!

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