Tools

How We Use Slack to Beat Down Referral Spammers

How We Use Slack to Beat Down Referral Spammers

Flashback to 2014.  My work communication revolved around Skype. Aside from all the normal contacts & conversations, I had a bunch of external scripts running that collected “stuff” (expiration messages, downtime notifications, online conversions, etc) and sent them through a VPS I had running so I could get it posted to my skype. It was a fantastic (albeit ugly) hack. All the little details of my online life were sent as updates to the software I had running 24/7.    Having access to everything in one place is important. It’s time efficient, chaos-cutting & in many cases, what separates the winners from the losers in business transaction that happens at the speed of now.. Slack separates itself from the competition with it’s plug-in-ability with the rest of the net.  Having my old skype setup in mind, I set off to start to incorporate the rest of “life” into slack. We started off with simple reminders, some goals hit, orders placed, meeting reminders, etc.   In a matter of just a few months, it has become the filter for almost every facet of our operations.   One operation in particular I’d like to expand on is how we use slack to stay ahead of the curve while fighting spam in google analytics. As a company, we’re heavily involved with reporting. A lot of that relies on traffic analytics to determine effectiveness. 2015 was the year of ghost spam, this is spam that forges its way into your analytics dashboard as a method of advertising. As you can imagine, this was a major pain in our ass that we knew we needed a...
New “Keyword Referral Spam” Plaguing Your Analytics Reports

New “Keyword Referral Spam” Plaguing Your Analytics Reports

Referral spam has wrapped it’s nasty tentacles around more Analytics reports. It’s got your good data hostage and will stop at nothing to squeeze all usefulness out. And as we’ve said before, Google isn’t exactly throwing out the life rafts yet. Point is, if you’ve ignored referral spam until now, you can’t anymore. Ghost Spam Sighting: Keyword Reports Okay, so keyword reports are not terribly useful anymore. Ever since Google shifted most of the referring keyword data to show (not provided), we haven’t been basing important decisions off of this information. But what this IS doing, is proving an important hypothesis we’ve been developing here on this blog: referral and ghost spam is so damn easy to use (as a relatively easy bottom-dwelling marketing parasite), its use is only going to accelerate. We’ve seen this demonstrated in several ways: – Sheer number of referral spammers – Prior referral spammers re-incarnating to get around exclusion filters – Spam mutating to stuff fake URLs on page by page reports Take a look… Cleaning up the Mess We’re in this fight for the long haul, and prepared to outlast the siege. So much so, that since we launched in Sept. ‘16, we’ve already released 22 different versions including 2 major updates removing spam from different sections of analytics.. And so along those lines, we’re pleased to announce that update 2.1.1 features clean keyword reports, like the day your analytics account was born. Let’s Get Technical for a Moment… To understand how this new method works, we need to truly grasp the first word in the phrase “referrer spam”. A referrer is a...
A New Mutation Of Referral Spam You Will Love to Hate

A New Mutation Of Referral Spam You Will Love to Hate

Well that didn’t take long did it? It seems like just the other day we were putting the final touches on our definitive guide to stopping ghost and referral spam with the Loganix Referral Ghost Spam Removal Analytics Segment. And while the guide is still ultra-relevant and helpful, it’s time to make a noteworthy update. We’ve come across an interesting new mutation of this kind of spam in Google Analytics, and chances are, you’ve seen it too. A New Challenger Approaches: Phantom Pages As we’ve stated previously on our blog many times, what’s really concerning about referral spam is the relative ease and velocity at which rogue programmers can make this scum spread at scale. We walked you through it here. Way back when (last year), the blogosphere and internet hangouts collectively moaned in frustration as a single shady marketing junta, Semalt, consistently found itself into important analytics data and reports. Like a mosquito in the jungle that somehow kept finding its way through your seemingly impermeable net, it just couldn’t be stopped. Others noticed, and followed suit. And now we’re seeing this corrupted and fake data leaking into other areas of the Analytics reports: Instead of simply “targeting” your homepage and showing up in referral reports, the spam is now showing hits to pages that don’t even exist on your site. This time, to gain demand your attention, they stuff their URL into “phantom” pages that don’t exist. In Response, We’ve Stepped Up Our Game Remember, the main reason referral spam removal tools are no longer effective is that their segments are not updated, and they don’t catch...
Exploiting Referrer Spam as a Marketing Tool

Exploiting Referrer Spam as a Marketing Tool

Disclaimer: I do not in any way advise you do this. I just find referral/ghost spam fascinating, and thought you might too. Let’s do a quick thought exercise. Let us switch hats for a moment, and deep-dive into the world of referral spam. I want to show you what these spammer slime are doing, how they are doing it, and how they are getting away with it. Allow me to guide you, starting from the early days of Semalt, all the way to present-day ghost spam. Walk with me, won’t you? Into the Mind of the Referral Spammer Internet Marketing is a really, really competitive niche. The best minds in the game are attempting to market to marketers every day. That post-closing cup of coffee is hard to come by, and to survive, I need to take advantage of every little nook or cranny. I have to jump on it. Luckily, I am an internet marketer, which means I know exactly where my colleagues spend their time. Forums, blogs…and wait for it…software. Referral spam is young. It is one nook I can easily exploit, and be fairly certain that viewers are my target audience. No amount of PPC or SEO work will ever put me as front-and-center as targeting them in their favorite analytics platform. Unholy Inspiration Since referrers show up when a site gets traffic, my first try might be to build a spider using php. I will be able to set whatever referrer I want and then go crazy hitting pages on the internet. However, after a week or so, I’m going to realize that idea sucks....
Referral Spam Solved: Give Your Analytics an Enema

Referral Spam Solved: Give Your Analytics an Enema

Ghost Referrer spam is a new twist on marketing that directly targets webmasters. It exploits Analytics data by displaying urls or brands so that traffic can be driven to the spammer’s sites. In the process it litters up your analytics data. This type of spam (called ghost referrer spam) was especially frustrating because it had to be removed manually—until now. If you’re anything like us, evaluating you or your client’s website traffic became a lot more difficult during the course of this year. At first we’re all like “Yeah, natural inbound links from button sites!!!”. Two seconds of research left us hoping this trend would die a quick death. Two months later, we knew we had a problem on our hands and started taking steps to block bogus referrers from our analytics account. I get that it’s hard to accept a graph with less data as an improvement, but it’s a far more honest evaluation for both you and your clients. I appreciate the information, but let me just… Clean Spam for Free Understanding Analytics Spam When I mentioned earlier that this spam is targeted at you, the webmaster or site owner, I wasn’t kidding. For us, we’ll notice the targets of the spam have lots to do with web development stuff … buttons, traffic, servers, seo, videos, rank tracking, porn (yeah, webmasters need love too). I suspect you would see a lot of the same stuff, but maybe a little more targeted to what you do. You can see what I’m talking about on the screenshot. This is just a random sample I grabbed from our database. This...