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gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats

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gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats DavyWavy 7/9/09 11:10 AM
gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral has shown up in my analytic stats on the 7th of July for a total of 12 visits but there are no link to my site on this page.

I have had the same strange thing occur for other sites that I administer under analytics as well, I will get a single spike in traffic of around 10-20 visitors on a aparticular day from this site, but awstats shows no existence of them.2009-07-09

If you google gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral you will find that the second result links to a forum where another person is experiencing the same problem

http://forum.photographers.co.uk/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=31381&sid=e90c741598be2e49f080b28bc86db5ce
2009-07-16

It seems that a lot of this spam is originating from http://www.web.com/ and that they are hacking other peoples analytics for black hat SEO

I have contacted Google about this and filed a spam report about this, if you are as concerned as I am you can do the same here http://www.google.com/contact/spamreport.html choose other as the reason and post the link for this thread in the comments

The more of you that file a report the more likely google is to do something about it.

I am looking at excluding the domains web.com and gps-brasil.blogspot.com by creating a new filter for my affected sites(this is very easy to do under settings). I will post and update later if this is successful, if it is it wont stop hackers using my analytics code but at least they wont skew my own stats.

Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats solidus999 7/9/09 9:22 PM
I've found this also, on two separate sites that I manage (12 and 13 visits respectively). If you google gps-brasil.blogspot.com you'll see that there are thousands of blog spams from this URL. A hacker doing R&D?
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats deezie 7/10/09 6:26 PM
I also got 9 hits on July 7th which were referrals from this same site. I am a photographer, as well. Perhaps it's someone trying to steal photos?
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats funny_furnishings 7/10/09 8:43 PM
I have the same issue too.  gps-brasil.blogspot.com shows up as a referral site, but I can't find any references to my website from this site.  Does anyone know why?

Also, I wish that Google Analytics would tell me *exactly* which page a referral site redirected to my website, rather than just the top level website URL.
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats minimoop 7/10/09 10:46 PM
Me too, same dates. I am a bed & breakfast, so there goes the stealing photo theory.
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats mark_ice 7/11/09 4:23 AM
I have the same issue to on: 10th june 11 visits from  gps-brasil.blogspot.com/2008/03/gps-airis-nova-gerao-t920.html

funny thing is as my website server is only testing new website set-up, plus am testing google analytics, i've got "No domain name" it's a full "rented server" and am using my server IP address to get access to my website testing pages.
and google analytice's is still telling me i've had visits from:  gps-brasil.blogspot.com/2008/03/gps-airis-nova-gerao-t920.html

anyone got any ideas...
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats Claire IE 7/11/09 8:42 AM
Hi - Me to. 8 visits on 6th July. All sounds a bit dodgy to me.
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats baosol 7/11/09 10:34 AM
I have a site that received 9 hits on the 4th of July. No other info.
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats ChadwickImages 7/11/09 3:16 PM
Same here. 14 hits on the 4th July (ha! best yet methinks!).
All bouncing immediately (0:00 time spent on site).
I'm a photographer too.
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats turnpike 7/11/09 4:20 PM
Same thing here 4th July ... 9 hits.
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats Wei shen 7/11/09 6:41 PM
Yes me too I got 8 hits on july 6th... Im a photographer too....
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats johnnycocktail 7/12/09 1:43 AM
I also had 14 hits on the 6th of july, very weird... i'm not a photographer, i sell tshirts.. www.johnnycocktail-clothing.co.uk
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats table-booking 7/13/09 5:49 AM
same for us, don remember the date now, but was gps-brazil...our portal is available in portuguese language, which could be related, but also available in many more languages. So, I dont know, but is not the first time we have this situation, and we are managing many webs, but the main one is for table reservation, online communities and e-solutions for gastronomy worldwide...so I have no idea...we have video and pictures, maybe this is the reason???

regards,

Rami
http://www.table-booking.com
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats Rolandwebdesign 7/13/09 10:34 AM
Hello to all,
The same here on 8th of July
Source/Medium                                             Visits         Pages/VisitAvg.          Time on Site           New Visits           Bounce Rate
1.gps-brasil.blogspot.com / referral         12                            1.00                  00:00:00                  0.00%                  100.00%
This isn't a photo website, is in Romanian language, www.camereclimatice.com.

All the best,
ROland
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats GMBwebdesigns 7/13/09 12:32 PM
Hello
I have had the same on the 5th July - 10 hits 1 page visited for 0.0time 100% bounce rate - www.firebarrier.co.uk - a commercial fire protection company. Has anyone raised the issue with Google.
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats Limbgear 7/13/09 12:51 PM
gps-brasil.blogspot.com - 7 random referrals to my site - what gives?
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats art-design 7/13/09 6:03 PM
I am having the same issue on my site with the same referral link:
14 Visits on July 2, 2009
1.00 Pages/Visit
00:00:00 Avg. Time on Site
100.00% Bounce Rate

Any way to report this site as a spammer?
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats NetgainNetworks 7/13/09 11:20 PM
I had the same problem. I have no ide what it is but i thuaght it was worth messaging.

july 14th 14 vists to www.netgainnetworks.com
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats Amoll 7/14/09 12:48 AM
6 July 10 visits ,00:00:00 Avg. Time on Site ,1 page/visit
on my site www.thefun-blog.com.

What is the problem ?? So many ppl getting hits from same blog in a span of few days and that too with no link from that blog.
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats Amoll 7/14/09 1:10 AM
One more funny thing about this blog...
gps-brasil.blogspot.com
Try to search this blog on google,  and you will find that this blogger has put same comment on hundreds of blogs.

"If possible gives a last there on my blog, it is about the ***, I hope you enjoy. The address is http://***.blogspot.com.
A hug."

He Just replaced *** by different subjects and blog names like livros-e-revistas  , gps-brazil,massagem-brasil,tv-de-plasma and so many more..

This guy is surely a spammer.
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats thetributeband 7/14/09 2:31 AM
Hi there! I have the same issue. 10 hits a day but not spending any time on my site. Anyone know how to report spam on google analytics? This is so annoying! This is the site I get it from:
notebooks-brasil.blogspot.com / referral

Hope someone can help. All the best guys! xxx
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats Destiny84 7/14/09 6:32 AM
i experienced the same thing - but the strange thing is that the site which received hits from gps-brasil.blogspot.com does not have the google tracking code installed anymore.
Analytics hasn't been tracking hits for that site in months. However it does still show up in my analytics overview...with 0 hits, except for the 12 hits from gps-brasil.blogspot.com.

I don't know how they do it, but they must have found a flaw in Google Analytics....
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats MaxCH 7/14/09 8:14 AM
I had the same problem with: notebooks-brasil.blogspot.com
I found this referring site on two sites I manage, an health insurance company and a blog ... 12 hits on the health insurance and 10 on the blog ... 0 time spent on the site, bounce rate = 100% ...  googling his/her blog I receive a list of 280000 web sites reporting each of them (or almost):  If possible gives a last there on my blog, it is about the Notebook, I hope you enjoy. The address is http://notebooks-brasil.blogspot.com. ...
Clearly a spam ... still don't understand how he managed to reference my 2 websites ... and clearly get some clicks from me ...
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats search junkie 7/14/09 10:53 AM
This guy is running people's GA javascript to emulate a referral in analytics. That way we all see that site as a referring source. Then we all go to the site, generating a ton of traffic for the guy. This is a spam technique to get traffic from all of the sites/people that he shows up in their analytics.
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats solidus999 7/14/09 3:09 PM
I don't think that's why it's happening, search junkie. The blog in question really is about GPS products in Brazil. Written in Brazilian. Why would you bother generating traffic for a site that is, to all intents and purposes, meaningless?
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats angelajime 7/14/09 5:26 PM
yep. me too. also a photographer got a spike in hits on july 2nd- 13 hits then nothing. strange. i like search junkie's theory that whoever is doing this is trying to generate hits to lure other people to the site. anyone here speak portuguese? shady.
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats meanestindian 7/14/09 6:16 PM
having the same problem from notebooks-brasil.blogspot.com which sends me to the gps-brasil page. 17 hits, 100% bounce rate. and like everyone else would love to know if there's anything to be done about this weird issue. and am hoping it doesn't get worse.
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats Hybridiculous 7/14/09 9:57 PM
Yeah I was surprised to get 13 hits today with "notebooks-brasil.blogspot.com" as the traffic source all with 00:00:00 time on the site and only visiting one page. I am a visual designer (exhibit design and signage) and don't get many hits and these are the only ones outside of the united states so far so this was very unusual. I would also like to know what this is about. If anyone figures it out please post.
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats cheeks 7/14/09 10:48 PM
Exact same thing happened to me. July 14. 11 hits, 100% bounce rate. 00:00:00 time on site. I have a pet related site. No exciting photography or videos!!!??  
Very freaky. I hope we can get to the bottom of this before they get up to some serious mischief.
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats chambord65 7/15/09 12:12 AM
I had also about 25 visits in one day from the above source .I suspect it has to do with scammers
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats teridreshner 7/15/09 12:41 AM
Weird. I had the same experiences as the above. Perplexed but wasn't too bothered about it, until I received an email from my hosting server with this note!!!

"We have detected suspicious FTP activities operating under your account. Please remediate this issue as soon as possible as this is a violation of our TOS.
If you suspect you may be a victim of identity theft, action should be taken immediately.
* Contact your financial institutions, let them know that you may be a victim of identity theft
* Send an email to us and let us know your current situation
* Scan your computer for any viruses, malware, trojans and spyware
* If your computer has infected, you may need to take it to a computer technician
* Passwords used on the infected computer may have also been compromised and should be changed immediately
* Password changes should be done on a computer free of Malware (such as viruses, Trojans and spyware)
You may like to also contact a specialist in computer security to audit your computer(s) or local network. "

Any idea what happened? My sites are on healthcare and finance.
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats solidus999 7/15/09 12:54 AM
@ teridreshner: the two events might not be related. Since the gps-brasil references show up in Google analytics but not in the site logs, they are presumably caused by someone running the analytics javascript using other sites' UA numbers (this would also explain the zero time on site). If this is right -- and I'm only guessing -- whoever's doing it isn't actually visiting our sites at all, just sending messages to Google.

Still doesn't make much sense, though.
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats ptrwiv 7/15/09 1:22 AM
I've had hits from this site as well - 12 hits yesterday - nothing to do with my site. Is Google aware of it?
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats suralnorte 7/15/09 3:04 AM
I got 13 hits www.patticasey.com (singer-songwriter). This guy posted to an NHL draft blog site. Considering he sells notebooks out of Brazil, doesn't seem appropriate.http://nhldraftbuzz.blogspot.com/2007/06/odds-and-ends.html. If the motivation is to drive traffic and interest to his blogspot, it seems to be working. 8)
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats koijam 7/15/09 3:58 AM
Same here, 10 visits on 14th July. I m a web designer based in Mumbai
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats Marchman 7/15/09 4:27 AM
I have a small design company and we manage a number of sites. We noticed the first spike on July the 6th. As we display our work on the site with link the active sites we designed. We have since noticed spikes on all the sites linked from ours between the dates 6-8th july and then another today.
The spikes follow the same pattern as the pervious posts with between 8 and 12 hits on a single page. Our sites are hosting in three different countries.

I think the big questions here is should we be concerned?
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats Amoll 7/15/09 4:43 AM
Marchman , you are dead right.."Should we be concerned ?"

Even I am confused. But the problem is that he is spamming the web analytics of our blogs and websites.
So there should be some way to filter this and similar kind of spam from our reports.
What do you think ?
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats pyramidmedia 7/15/09 6:17 AM
yep, same problem here. 8 visits today all from the notebooks blogspot. we're a video production company.
very strange.
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats WeatherARC_Melanie 7/15/09 7:31 AM
I noticed the same issue with my website.  Here is how I filtered out their site from showing up in my Analytics info.  First I noticed when I went to the hostnames information in my Google Analytics page it listed another site other than my own.  That site ended up being the Brasil site everyone here is talking about.  I copied that hostname and then clicked on analytics settings at the top.  I then clicked on Filter Manager and clicked Add Filter.  Name the filter whatever you want, choose custom filter as filter type, click exclude, for filter field select hostname, and for filter pattern enter the hostname of the site you want to block, lastly determine which of your sites you monitor you want this filter applied to.  I do note this only filters this information from your reports it does NOT prevent this person from doing this and "stealing"/using your analytics code number.
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats szolyd 7/15/09 7:36 AM
Me too. I have a concrete design company ( www.szolyd.com ) - 11 hits from the notebooks blogspot. I think this person is trying to up the traffic to his/her site.
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats Alirat153 7/15/09 9:09 AM
I found this thread after getting 14 referral hits from notebooks-brasil.blogspot.  It is very concerning if we don't know what they are up to.  I'd hate for my relationship with Google to be compromised iin any way, as a webmaster I'm pretty dependant on an ongoing good relationship!
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats Pettit 7/15/09 9:29 AM
Seeing the same problem - I have about 50 sites and each day I see more of my sites getting 10-15 hits from this blog. Not sure how they are getting found because the sites are not linked.

Thanks WeatherARC_Melanie for info on how to filter these out. I figured it could be done but had not taken the time to figure out how to do it.

Hopefully GA support will see this and look into what it going on.
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats Alirat153 7/15/09 10:20 AM
Sounds like a bot to me. How do we know its not putting malicious code on our sites?  Can we report this spamming behaviour to anyone?
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats mpballroom 7/15/09 11:32 AM
Same here - ballroom dance business.  10 hits 7/15/09 - how would you know if this site is trying to jack your analytics number?
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats formula3pics 7/15/09 12:34 PM
Same here, I run a photography site and like most of us have been hit 10 times in 1 day
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats PPC_Guru 7/15/09 12:43 PM
Log Spam, Referrer spam or Referrer Bombing is not a new issue.

It is a method of attracting direct visits from a webmasters, faking traffic for a paid-for-inclusion-directories or annoy webmasters by posting fake message or fake keywords. Also old public stats programs like Webaliser or AWStats showed a backlink to the faked referrer which had SEO benefits for the spammer. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Referrer_spam (Note: GA is defaulted to private, so referrers are not publicly posted, as far as I am aware). http://www.nickycakes.com/fake-your-referer-get-more-traffic/

I suspect the spammer has harvested a bunch of GA accountID`s (e.g UA-0000000-1) from a photography or gps directory or from a public GA accountID`s list:
http://www.dmoz.org/Shopping/Consumer_Electronics/Communications/Global_Positioning_System/
http://adsspy.com/top/top4.html

Then pasted these accountID found above into GA tracking code hosted on gps-brasil.blogspot.com and then sent traffic to these internal pages.

To check if you are effected...

1. Go to visitors tab >  network properties > hostname and look for gps-brasil.blogspot.com or unknown domains
2. Search for allintext:UA-0000000 or "UA-0000000" on google (you can even setup a google alert to be notified if google finds a site your accountID)
http://www.google.com/search?q=allintext%3AUA-10005&filter=0&num=100
3. Do a site search on gps-brasil.blogspot.com to find the page with your accountID.
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&num=100&q=site%3Agps-brasil.blogspot.com&filter=0&num=100

To fix, add an Include hostname filter to GA. I suggest you do this on a new profile or one profile with no filters applied.

Include only mysite.com in GA (Simple version)
Hostname mysite\.com

Cheers

Phil.

* There is a tidier RegEx version of the include only hostname filter, where \.123\.123.123 is your domain as an IP  see: servercheck.me/domain-ip-lookup/
Hostname (^|\.)(mysite\.com|123\.123\.123.123|\(not set\))$

* google cache, MSN translate visits will also be shown in the hostname report. This is because when a user views the cache of your page, the tracking code still runs, but this is hosted on google servers not your hostname.

*  If you site is copied and the tracking code is unchanged you will also notice this in the hostname report.
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats theroadforks 7/15/09 12:46 PM
We also got 14 hits in 1 day.  Will try reporting.
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats PPC_Guru 7/15/09 2:31 PM
I have...

Contacted Blogger .com to remove the 2 site for TOS violation; specifically Refererer bombing or backlink spam.
http://www.google.com/support/blogger/bin/request.py?contact_type=spam

Contacted Adwords team to refund advertisers who paid for traffic from  gps-brasil.blogspot .com & notebooks-brasil.blogspot .com as it is using an illegitimate means of traffic generation.
https://adwords.google.com/support/bin/request.py?clickquality=1&ctx=clickquality

Contacted Adsense team to disable adverts onthe 2 sites, as it is using an illegitimate means of traffic generation.
https://www.google.com/adsense/support/bin/request.py?contact=violation_report

Hopefully this will discourage the spammer!

Cheers

Phil.
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats heatjohns 7/15/09 2:56 PM
I just noticed I received 14 hits on Juy 5th from gps-brasil.blogspot.com. Photographer as well...
Reading this has been interesting, I do hope it is nothing to be concerned about!
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats jj0205 7/15/09 4:16 PM
i just got 19 hits to www.footyandracingtips.com and my eyes nearly popped out of my head.I have a football tippng service and its dead at this time of year.Im not a photographer either

all very strange
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats rory.roybal 7/15/09 6:37 PM
Same thing happened to me, with a twist. Quite confusing, read on ...

I received 14 hits on my website http://www.miraclesormagic.com on July 14 from network location: comite gestor da internet no brasil, which is the description for www.cgi.br, the "management company of the Internet in Brasil" (translated from Portuguese). Under 'hostnames' the site for the same visits is listed as www.web.com, which is a web design and marketing company based in Jacksonville, FL. Under 'Traffic Sources', the referring site is listed as: notebooks-brasil.blogspot.com.

Huh? And ... is this really a problem if he hits our sites, other than messing up our reporting that is (for which we can filter him out as suggested I suppose)?

A special thanks to the guy who reported all this, maybe the spammer will be zinged and stopped, or at least strongly dissuaded. Is there more that should be reported based on the above??

What is the summary of what we should do?? Thanks in advance!
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats Amoll 7/16/09 8:52 AM
Dear Phil,
Thanks for the knowledge about this stuff and for the reporting done
to google. :)
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats codecoaster 7/16/09 3:56 PM
I had 10 visits from the notebooks in brazil site too on the 10th of July. Time spent was 0 and bounces were 100%.
I have a lot of images on my site too.
http://www.solundrian.com (index.php)
although they seem to be using the old index.html page which has a lot of javascript
Should I report this to my hosting company?
Are they only trying to generate traffic?
Have they hacked my site in some way?
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats bserendipitous 7/16/09 6:16 PM
Thank goodness I'm not the only one but I was pretty freaked out because I had 10 hits on 7/12 from notebooks-brasil.blogspot.com / referral on a "By Invitation Only" blog about my daughter...not good.  Thanks for all of the info posted, going to rerun scans just in case and keep an eye out here for other info.  Thanks again.
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats lunarsedge 7/17/09 12:39 AM
I got 14 hits on July 14 from the same spammer and I only advertise themes for BlackBerry Smartphones.   Any word from Google yet?    www.lunarsedge.com
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats SueRiz 7/17/09 3:21 AM
I have the same problem, just showed up in the reporting i pulled for the past 2 weeks. 8 hits. Is google listening here as this looks to need a central solution
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats AnalyticsPro.Chris 7/17/09 4:51 AM
Hi everyone,

Analytics will report any page that has your tracking code in your account. Analytics does not automatically exclude any data from pages that have your tracking code. To avoid this scenario, you can add the filter mentioned by Phil in his response above. He's given a good explanation of the scenario as well.

@Phil: Thanks a lot for following up on this.

-- Christelle
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats kostak 7/19/09 7:07 AM
Thanks Christelle, Phil and all.  We too have had an issue with 'brasil' with our remodeling business site.

I think Phil "lost" me a little with his description - a bit over my head, I'm afraid.  

That said, I was wondering:  our business is very local in nature - we don't require world-wide presence.  He mentioned FILTERs - but I wasn't sure if this filtered access to the site - or just the analytics reporting?

Is it possible to filter access to the site - say to just USA ONLY?   I would LOVE to know this!

Thanks in advance!
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats The Lost Agency 7/22/09 2:43 AM
@kostak the "filters" are applied to the Google Analytics data before it appears in your account. You can add filters to just include regional, country visitors etc... A easier way would be to use the dropdown menu at the top right side, and create a segment that just had visitors from "united states" that will display. This is a dynamic filter, it does not get rid of this data from your account just displays it differently. If you want to learn more about this, I suggest checking out Justin from EpikOne's blog.
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats PPC_Guru 7/22/09 3:22 PM
@AnalyticsPro.Chris

As I am sure you are aware this is not a GA problem, it is just an issue effecting GA users without a hostname filter and a spam issue with Blogger .com

However, it has been 7 days & the two sites hosted on blogger .com are still live & my requests sent to Blogger, Adwords & Adsence have not been dealt. So I now beginning to wonder if Google takes spam seriously? Also, I would encourage the GA team to take a zero-tolerance approach with this type of activity, in order to discourage an escalation of log spam in the future (i.e if the spammer knows he can get away with it, other spammers will follow).

So, just to recap the effects of the spammer, lets call him Mr "A Hug":

154,000 spam comment posts
http://tinyurl.com/154000-spam-blog-posts

4,176 backlinks to notebooks-brasil.blogspot .com
http://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com/search?p=http%3A%2F%2Fnotebooks-brasil.blogspot.com&bwm=i&bwmo=s&bwmf=u

1,469 backlinks to gps-brasil.blogspot .com
http://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com/search?p=http%3A%2F%2Fgps-brasil.blogspot.com&bwm=i&bwmo=s&bwmf=u

7 pages visible in the google cache:
http://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Agps-brasil.blogspot.com+OR+site%3Anotebooks-brasil.blogspot.com&num=100&filter=0

50+ users on GA forum report being effected.

Sugguested Action points for Google:

* PREVENT organic traffic by removing the 2 sites from Google cache for using Black Hat SEO
(specifically using Blog post spam with a backlink & Referrer Bombing backlink)

* DISABLE monetisation by Disabling Content Network adverts
(Email spam is an Adsence TOS violation, so I would argue that automated Referrer Bombing should be treated the same, it is not a legitimate source of traffic generation. See point 5 – “unsolicited mass emails or unwanted advertisements on third-party websites”)
https://www.google.com/adsense/localized-terms or http://www.google.com/adsense/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=48182

* SUSPEND the 2 sites:
(point 10.0 - Blogger can suspend a site at time for any reason)
http://www.blogger.com/terms.g

Cheers

Phil.

* Please can the hostname filter is added as a the default filters (e.g next to the exclude IP or Include subdomain filters) to make it easier for users to fix this?

* If the log spam bot starts faking the referrer string & visiting websites (rather than executing the tracking code on an internal hosted site  web .com)
then the hostname filter will not be effective and thus an exclude referrer or exclude IP will be necessary.

* Also can Refer Spam be added as a tick box or classification to Adsense violations report page (currently this is classed under other)
https://www.google.com/adsense/support/bin/request.py?contact=violation_report
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats rory.roybal 7/24/09 4:19 PM
Awesome post PPC_guru, and I agree. On behalf of all of us (I assume), thanks a lot for your comprehensive and quantified analysis and recommendations.

Top notch.

- Rory
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats PPC_Guru 7/25/09 7:43 AM
UPDATE:

It`s funny what happens when you mention the words "Google not taking spam seriously"...

...a bunch of Google Goblins suddenly sprung out of nowhere & jump into action ;-)

* Blogger .com have suspended gps-brasil & notebooks-brasil (around 24th July).
* Adwords have confirmed they are investigating inbound traffic to these 2 sites and if it is found to be harming advertisers, appropriate action will be taken against the AdSense account (23rd July)
* @AnalyticsPro.Christelle has sent me a personal message saying she has taken ownership of this issue & looking into an "easy resolution" for users. I am not sure what this easy resolution will be yet, so I am guessing it might be an an "only include traffic from my domain" button or filter, or a re-processing of the GA logs to exclude this spam traffic (or both). This will be confirmed by Christelle & the GA team.

So... This is positive news.

A couple more actions I would like Google to take:

* Banned the sites from Google organic or apply a -30 position penalty:
http://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Agps-brasil.blogspot.com+OR+site%3Anotebooks-brasil.blogspot.com&num=100&filter=0

* Reduce the SEO benefit of Referral Booming by adding rel="nofollow" to the "Sites also visited" links in Google Adplanner & Google Trends for Websites:
http://www.google.com/adplanner/planning/site_profile#siteDetails?identifier=wikipedia.org
http://trends.google.com/websites?q=wikipedia.org

If a public (or spiderable) version of the Adsense Placement tool becomes available, the links to these domains should also be nofollow e.g.
https://adwords.google.com/select/SiteDetail?target=youtube.com
http://www.google.com/intl/en_us/adwords/select/afc/partners.html#country=br

To aid in detection of the referring bombing sites, I would suggest the GA team monitor any GA accounts that have received a sudden inbound traffic spike where the referring domain is: adwords\.google\.com
or referral page matches: ^https?://(www|adwords)\.google\..+/analytics/reporting/referring_sources\?id=([^&]+)

Where $A2 is the GA account of the effected user, who has click on the link in the Referring sources GA report & landed on the spam domain. Note: this makes the assumption that the spammer is using GA tracking on his trafficked/spam domain (e.g gps-brasil.blogspot .com or notebooks-brasil.blogspot .com)

Keep up the Good work Google Goblins ;-) and thanks for making such a nice, free & popular analytics package!

Cheers

Phil.
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats PPC_Guru 7/25/09 7:44 AM
UPDATE:

It`s funny what happens when you mention the words "Google not taking spam seriously"...

...a bunch of Google Goblins suddenly spring out of nowhere & jump into action ;-)
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats lucyphoto 7/26/09 5:27 AM
I'm a photographer too and had 14 hits on 10th July - reading all your posts with interest!
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats Amit Barfa 7/26/09 6:36 AM
Although the Account has been suspended i have just seen My analytics and found that i have also got the 10 page hits from This site with the 100% bounce rate on 10th july 2009.

Thanks google for suspending such sites .
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats PPC_Guru 7/28/09 2:29 PM
Here are some other ways to deal with log spam using server side changes (rather than GA changes).

This is based on these 2 articles:
http://www.webproworld.com/internet-security-discussion-forum/58838-prevent-referrer-spam-block-bad-bots-stealing-bandwith.html
http://www.addedbytes.com/apache/block-referrer-spam/

If your site is using Php/Apache you can edit the  .htaccess and use one of these 4 methods to block the robot:

RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} ^bot_name_here.*$ [NC,OR]

or..

deny from xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx

or..

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^https?://(gps-brasil|notebooks-brasil)\.blogspot.com.*$ [NC,OR]

or..

deny from notebooks-brasil.blogspot.com
deny from gps-brasil.blogspot.com

Personally,  I think it would be a good idea for Google to start collecting a blacklist of bad referrers, bad IP`s & bad user-agents, to help make GA better.

This list could be build using:
a) IP`s found in GA logs exhibiting the following behavior - new visitors, always using the same user-agent, only loading homepage, with a single pageview (i.e 100% bounce rate) or visiting the site more than 10 times in a short period of time, each time with a new cookie but with the same IP.
b) bots found to be caught in a JavaScript spider trap, or not able to pass a captcha box, or found to be ignoring robot.txt (the webproworld article above also mentions there is a script that adds the IP of these "bad bots" automatically to the block list in the .htaccess file)
c) a list manually provided by users

Once this blacklist list has been created, then the bots can either be blocked at:
1) server level using .htaccess described above or a simular using IIS
2) by a GA logfile import script (maybe written in perl code by the GA team)
3) by users adding exclude hostname, exclude referrer or exclude IP filters.
4) if the GA API allowed for filters to be created (it does not currently) then a function could be build by a GAAC to automatically add the filters to users accounts.

Ideally, I would like to see a button that said "enable GA log spam protection" which would then exclude known "bad bots" based on this blacklist and add and include mydomain hostname filter.

On a related note there are some bots running javascript & creating accidental log spam or non-human visits:
* Server & speed checkers (Gomez, Pingdom)
* Image monitoring services (MarkMonitor aka Kintiskton)
* SearchEngines checking for cloaked sites or behavioral targeted content (e.g. I think the MSNBOT ppc bot sometimes run javascript when checking sites that have for viagra phrases)
* Ask .com (I think the site snapshot which is used for the binocular preview thumbnail runs JavaScript)
* Offline website copiers (e.g HTTPtrack)

Cheers

Phil

* Your bandwidth costs will also be reduce from using .htaccess blocking as a bonus!

* If you are using a Wordpress or blogger widget which displays a live version your top referring sites make sure links are rel="nofollow".

* I tried to find the IP of the spammer within Urchin, but as the JavaScript was hosted on web .com it was not visible in my sites log files.
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats Steven Lockey 7/29/09 6:51 AM
Got more of this happening again today from 'www.thebesthosting.org'

Not sure why anyone would want to do this but its a pain in the butt.

Am surprised that analytics doesn't default to just the main domain and if you want to add extra domains to use on that profile you have to add them rather than just include any domain.
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats PPC_Guru 7/29/09 12:06 PM
@StevenLockey

The spammer is doing this to generate direct traffic from webmasters & organic traffic from improved listing in the Search Engines.

Here are the Alexa Traffic stats for the domain, this give an estimate of number of webmasters visiting the site directly. (Note: compete.com did not show any data)
http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/gps-brasil.blogspot.com
http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/notebooks-brasil.blogspot.com
http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/www.thebesthosting.org

That`s an interesting point; possibly the default configuration for new profiles in GA should be to have an include hostname filter turned "on" from the start, rather than users having to enabled this. This would mean that if a user wanted to use two domains within one profile, then they would need to "opt-out" of this setting or turn it "off". This would defiantly help inexperience users or those not familiar with GA filters.

Cheers

Phil.
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats PPC_Guru 7/29/09 12:08 PM
Image did not save in last post, try again...

Alexa Traffic stats Image
http://i30.tinypic.com/2s0hdu1.jpg

Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats BeautyHealth 7/30/09 6:19 PM
I have been reading this thread for a number of days and have a few things to post on some of my observations.

I had a number of hostnames mentioned showing up in my stats. Another site that showed up which I visited was gameharbor.com. After doing a search for this site online, I found that  Gameharbor is a known malicious website, which downloads spyware/malware onto your computer allowing your system to become compromised

As a result of my personal investigations, I have found that some of these hostnames are affiliated with porn websites and checking my backlinks, I have had one or two porn websites parasitically leeching onto my blogs which receive relatively high traffic. Also, I think gameharbor.com is linked to a browser hijacker or malicious BHO or plug-in, which redirects your blogs as well as homepages to a mirror website. Now, my blog has been hijacked on about three separate occasions where my password was changed and I was locked out. When I reset the passwords and managed to get back in, I couldn't find any changes, but now I realise that my blogs have been cloned and there are possible mirror websites out there to fool visitors coming to my blogs. This may have something to do with theft of adsense earnings by fooling visitors who are redirected to a new page with the hijacker's adsense code attached to it to generate adsense income. This has something to do with iframe tags.

I have also observed that there are website copying software available which copies your complete website or blog in it's entirety onto a person's hard drive. I can see that this would be useful for a person trying to steal your website or blogs content and pictures for financial gain offline, possibly or for use in a mirror or cloned website.

Your computer could also be itself compromised especially if there is no firewall, antispyware and antivirus present to protect your system.

Don't forget that by merely visiting a website, your computer can become affected by malicious code. I have also come across clickjacking attempts on my system. The use of noscript in firefox blocks this.

The use of the comments form on blogs is also risky as malicious individuals are using the comments forms on blogs solely to spread malware, which can be used for increasing traffic to porn, gambling websites, again for financial gain. These comments when read can be seen as sometimes incoherent, repetitive or maybe written by a bot and not a human. These comments can have links to malicious blogs or sites with no content or profiles which are hidden.

Using Hijackthis, virus scan, firewall, script blocking, checking you browser plug-ins which could be compromising your computer can help.

Also, music or filesharing sites with free downloads could be compromising your system as well as flash videos. I was reading about a dangerous flash exploit which can compromise any browser about a week ago, apparently this exploit has been around for a while now (since Nov/Dec 2008).

Also, as PPC_Guru has said, they are also falsely generating traffic to domains of their choice using hijacked/compromised blogs. Your blog could be compromised with malicious code added to your blog template, which can be hard to find unless you know how to look for it.

Another thing I noticed on my hard drive is screenshots of webpages which are possibly being stored for later access by a hacker or upload. Adware was found which was a memory hog and was slowly down the computer to the point where the red light would be busy for about 10 minutes and computer frozen. This could only be stopped or rectified by resetting the computer.

Latest security updates on your operating system and browsers are advised.

So, these are some observations and notes I have taken, which may be helpful for somebody to figure out more of what is going on.
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats PPC_Guru 7/31/09 4:02 PM
@BeautyHealth

Thanks for your personal investigations.

This post is about GA log spam it is unrelated to browser hijacking, server hacking, or malware/virus. However I have addresses your individual concerns at the footer of this message.

"…as PPC_Guru has said [...] used hijacked/compromised blogs. Your blog could be compromised with malicious code added to your blog template"
I did not say that on this post - I think you are getting that confused with a different issue (e.g Gumblar/Beladen)

@BeautyHealth made useful 2 points:

1) Similar to email spam, once you have arrived at a "nasty site", then “nasty things” are going to happen to your Browser/PC.

2) GPS/Notebook & gameharbor .com are monetised differently.

Monitisation: GPS & notebook is most likely an individual using an adsense content network account, gameharbor .com is part of organisation (information .com) that is indirectly funded via a Google revenue share agreement.

Information .com is a Google search network partner. If is found to be using a spam technique to generate traffic, then it will get it`s first warning (i.e I believe there is a 3 strikes rule & to get kicked out off a network).

I am not sure about the malware issue on gameharbor .com, but there is an invalid click issue here…

------- Excuse me while I put on my ppc hat ;)

gameharbor .com is using this frame:
http://searchportal.information .com/?o_id=104897&domainname=gameharbor.com

Which then changes the domain to an ID: (so that the parked domain is hidden)
http://searchportal.information .com/index.mas?epl=12356

The landing page is a portal with links to expensive search phrases; the intent is to funnel visitors to adverts on the second page & fool google into thinking that the user typed these phrase into the sites internal search box which is shown in the footer.

Invalid & low quality click are common among the 2nd & 3rd tier search engines, and this highlights the need for Google to be more transparent & allow auditing of the google click id (gclid) and set all "no referrer" clicks as Invalid.

Information .com also has adverts on http://www.goooogle .com, lol!

I am also seeing a meta refresh delays & javascript window.history.forward(); events being used to send double counting clicks on the goooogle .com domain, this looks like a very naughty publisher!
E.g <meta http-equiv="refresh" content="7;url=http://advertiser .com/landingpage.htm?source=google&medium=cpc" />

If you are an advertiser & you want to read more about Click Quality & Invalid clicks there is a good document here: http://images.clickforensics.com/cqc/CQC%20Call%202-18-09FINAL.pdf also ClickForensics used to provide a Free basic service they called the “Click fraud network” - I am not sure if this is still available, but you can ask! http://www.clickforensics.com/resources/click-fraud-network.html

----------
@BeautyHealth (personal/individual message)

It sounds as though your hosting provider is not giving you very good advice... if your site has been compromised 3 times and "you were unable to find what they have changed"... then something has changed because someone is locking you out of your site each time!  Ask your hosting provider restoring your website to a point priory to when it was compromised, also ask then to enable php logging and consider "restricting FTP access to your IP".

Copying your website should not be a big issue, Google is very good at ignoring duplicate website clones. If it is really bothering you, just email a cease & desist or filling a google search index spam request form: http://www.google.com/contact/spamreport.html

If you are really worried about viruses wait for the Google Chrome OS to come out in Q4, this is based on Linux so will be virus free.
----------

Cheers

Phil.
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats prangy 8/1/09 4:43 AM
I've had hits from this site as well - 8 hits  - nothing to do with my site.
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats PPC_Guru 8/1/09 5:14 AM
@prangy

The spammer is only targeting Google Analytics & creating tracking code with incremental accountID e.g.
 
UA-000001-1
UA-000002-1
UA-000003-1 etc...

The tracking code is hosted on his site (e.g web .com). They have not visited your website, thus you will no see any visits other stats packages such as Awstats, Webaliser or StatCounter etc

Add the exclude hostname filter described above, to prevent.

Cheers

Phil.

* GA is estimated to have a 55% coverage of the web, thus it is likely to the first target for spammers:
http://trends.builtwith.com/?tag=analytics

* If you are using a second profile for a new domain (e.g UA-xxxxx-2 ) I suspect you have not been effected, as the spammer is just targeting the first profile (e.g. UA-xxxxx-1), but it is still best to add the hostname filter to prevent future GA log spam.

* It is possible spammer could update his bot script to start visiting sites homepages, if this happens you would see visits in other stats packages. If this happens use the .htaccess server blocks or add an exclude IP or exclude referrer filter.

Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats re-cycling 8/22/09 4:24 AM
Sorry to be dense, but I can't see how to include only my domain name in the filter setup in the profile.  There only seems to be the option to include only a subdomain.
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats Alan A 9/11/09 9:53 PM
Hi PPC Guru, if your still listening,

As at least one other person mentioned, I noticed spam referrals coming from thebesthosting dot com & after following your steps (visitors>network properties>hostname) I noticed the source was web dot com. After further investigation, I am reasonably certain that the source of the spam is coming from Brazil, although not from gps-brasil.blogspot dot com/referral, as originally reported in this thread.

I have implemented the fixes as per your recommendations. Thank you! I also noticed other various IP's appearing as hostnames although just 1 or 2 referrals per IP, not 13 as with thebesthosting dot com. My fixes will handle them as well. It does seem a bit unnerving though that others have my GA code. Is that something that should concern me? Is by possessing my GA code the only way that urls & IP's, other than my own, can show on my GA reports?

Thanks again
Alan
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats meanestindian 9/12/09 12:58 PM
After quick resolution to gps-brasil.blogspot.com being cleared up sometime back, just thought I'd report that I am also now having problems with www.thebesthosting.org. Hope they can be shut down in the same way gps-brasil was.
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats ptrwiv 9/13/09 7:30 AM
I've had referrals from thebesthosting . org as well, weird.
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats Wildlife Artist 9/13/09 10:01 PM
Help!  I am trying to make sense of the technical terms that are being said here..... As, I am an Artist and this is not my forte!  I too have noticed the hits from Brazil.  

On July 14, I had 14 hits from Pelotas, Brazil (Source was notebook-brazil.blogsport.com and Host Name was www.web.com).  

Then again on September the 12, 10 hits from Barueri, Brazil (Source was the besthosting.org and Host Name was www.web.com).

Sorry, but I cannot make sense as to how to block this.  Believe me that there are some of us out there who create the art, but the technical jargon is out of our grasp.... Is there a simple version, you know.... How to Block this 101?  What I have read thus far makes somewhat of sense, but not enough to know what to do.... Or perhaps Google is taking care of this?  But if that is the case, why the recent September 12 hits?  Help!
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats kidswriter 9/14/09 6:18 PM
I too received 9 hits on my GA on Sept 13th from Brazil where the hostname was listed as www.thebesthost.org. I am in CA and my blog is on writing so I thought this seemed odd, and thus googled the hostname and found this forum. I followed the advice from WeatherARC to filter out the sketchy host address and will report this to google as PPC Guru advised, thank you.
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats kidswriter 9/14/09 7:04 PM
correction to previous post: the hostname on my GA was thebesthosting.org
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats yololo 9/15/09 9:35 AM
I also have received 11 hits from referring site - thebesthosting dot org;
hostname  web dot com on 13Sep09.  I'm going to add the filters - thanks PPC Guru.
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats namdnalsiroj 9/17/09 4:33 PM
10 hits from www.thebesthosting.org on sept 17 2009, and I've noticed them before.
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats namdnalsiroj 9/17/09 4:35 PM
BTW, I'm also a designer, webdesign.
Why all the interest from them in design related sites?
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats namdnalsiroj 9/17/09 4:40 PM
There's only ads for hosting there.
GA-spam => webmasters visit to check out referrals => see ads for hosting => clicks => revenue.
Could that be their logic?
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats DineMonkey 9/17/09 6:05 PM
Seeing exactly the same thing: 13 "hits" from thebesthosting according to GA, but nothing in my raw logs. And, yes, this is an account ending with -1

Same thing happened a while back with gps-hosting but I didn't pay enough attention to connect the dots... Will be adding the filter, but the same thing is bound to happen again when they switch to another domain.

Google should implement a way for webmasters to limit the hostnames/ip addresses that may call analytics code of a particular account. Same way you can exclude domains from displaying adsense...
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats Site Publisher 1 9/17/09 6:07 PM
I've also experienced this. On August 30, 2009 I got a visit from thebesthosting.org originating in Pelotas, Brazil. They made 10 visits, looked at 1.40 pages/per visit and spent >00:00:00 on my site. I've never had a visit register as ">" and the next day my traffic went down for days after the unwanted visit. Then I got a visit today from Barueri, Brazil. This time they made 8 visits, looked at 2.62 pages/visit and spent 00:00:01 on the site. They've got to be using Black Hat SEO tactics. My SE traffic has been down for about a week now and this didn't help. I consider their "visits" to be attacks. I have a blogger blog but I own my domain name which is now 2 years and 3 months old as of today. I don't trust them. I put in a Google search for thebesthosting.org and I'm going around to various sites to get information about them. I want them shut down. I want IP blocker software to keep unscrupulous trolls such as them off my site. Fortunately I haven't been click bombed and my site does show up in the SE (if I do a name search) but my SE traffic is way down.
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats PPC_Guru 9/19/09 2:36 AM
@AnalyticsPro.Krishna

I have click the feedback button on the Google advert box shown on thebesthosting .org then click report violation & ticked the "other spam type".
https://www.google.com/adsense/support/bin/request.py?contact=abg_afc&url=http://www.thebesthosting.org/&hlrm=es&client=ca-pub-6733043237345805&gl=GB

I will wait for a response from the Adsense Team. Hopefully the Adsense adverts on thebesthosting .org (pub-6733043237345805) will be disabled for using a log spam bot to drive traffic. See related Click Quality case [#470414201].

Using automated bots to generate fake referrals (log spam) to drive traffic, contravention two points within the Adsense T&C:
https://www.google.com/adsense/localized-terms

5.0 You shall not ... indirectly generate queries Referral Events ... through any automated, deceptive, fraudulent or other invalid means, including but not limited to through … the use of robots or other automated query tools.

I estimate about 10,000+ Google users have been effected (i.e all Google Analytic users without the hostname filters enabled). Note: the out-of-the-box Google Analytic setup does not have the hostname filter enabled.

5.0 (xi) engage in any action or practice that reflects poorly on Google or otherwise disparages or devalues Google’s reputation or goodwill. You acknowledge that any attempted participation or violation of any of the foregoing is a material breach of this Agreement & that we may pursue any & all applicable legal & equitable remedies against You, including an immediate suspension of Your account & the pursuit of all available civil or criminal remedies.

A proportion of users are incorrectly thinking that there is a problem with Google Analytics, when in fact it is just a spam bot, thus you may be able to argue that point 5.0 (xi) devalues Google’s reputation applies?

The key point; is that a large proportion of GA users are Adwords users, thus when Adsense allows this activity it is actually hurting the hand that feeds it!

To put this in a parallel context:

I have also contacted the Bluehost affiliate manager to disable affiliate account CODE88 used by thebesthosting .org e.g.
http://www.bluehost .com/track/thebesthost/CODE88 hopefully bluehost .com will also have something thing in their ToS that discourages sales generated from bot activity.

The users of the bluehost forum are also users of Google Analytics, thus by allowing new sales generated by thebesthosting .org it is actually hurting existing users of the bluehost community!
http://www.bluehostforum.com/showthread.php?p=74869

I would like to see Google purse criminal remedies against Adsense publishers who are using log spam to drive traffic. The reason for this, is that publishers can easily live with small satellite adsense account being disabled, but to receive a court summons & BIG fine will not be expected & this will act as a BIG deterrent to other publishers who are considering using the same tactic.

Thanks

Phil.

P.S.   Is their any news on a new tick box to "only include traffic form my domain" feature within GA cms? (or a hostname blacklist feature)
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats Lorrie 9/19/09 8:52 AM
I have also been affecting by the activities of thebesthosting. Thank you PPC_Guru for your posts.  They have been very helpful. I hope some action is taken against them.
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats Alan A 9/19/09 9:44 AM
PPC Guru,

Glad to see you are still listening :-)

Did you happen to notice my question, "It does seem a bit unnerving though that others have my GA code. Is that something that should concern me?" In other words, other than the spammers possibly receiving traffic from a webmaster's click, are there any other personal ramifications resulting from my GA code being used by another? (not including how it may affect Adsense, as you discussed above)

Thanks!

Alan
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats PPC_Guru 9/19/09 10:45 AM
@Alan_A

All GA account ID code (e.g. UA-xxxxxx-1) are publicly visible on the footer of the site they are installed on.

The GA code on its own is meaningless.

In order to reset your GoogleAccounts password which is associated with GoogleAnalytics account, the spammer would also need to know your email address and somehow be able to receive the reset password link sent to this email address, so-long as you are careful with your password, you have nothing fear.

So, to answer your question: you should not be concerned. There are no personal ramifications resulting from your GA code being used by another, only the inconvenience of seeing fake traffic.

To give you another example: thebesthosting .org`s GA accountID is UA-9928486-1, but the only people that can access his stats would be the spammer himself or GoogleAnalyics team.
 
The only thing that the spammer is able to do, is know which GA accounts are active by the fact that the accountID is stored within the referring url. Thus if a webmaster clicked on a link in the GA referrals report to thebesthosting .org the ID would be stored in the referral field e.g.  google.com/analytics/reporting/referring_sources?id=XXXX .The spammer has no way of contacting these active users accounts, so I would not be concerned.

Thanks

Phil.
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats Alan A 9/19/09 6:16 PM
Phil,

"All GA account ID code (e.g. UA-xxxxxx-1) are publicly visible on the footer of the site they are installed on"

Wouldn't ya know...I viewed the page source & there it was :-) You would think I would have thought of that on my own but....

Thank you very much for your detailed & clear explanation!

Alan
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats Site Publisher 1 9/21/09 5:11 AM
He's at it again. ISP is the hosting machine. On Sun. 9/20/2009 I got a referral visit from thebesthosting.org. He made 11 visits, looked at 2.45 pages per visit and spent a mere 00:00:01 on the site. What is Google doing to stop him? Defrauding Google should be considered internet crime, correct? I also notice that when this guy trolls my site, my SE traffic goes down. Ever since he first trolled my site in late August 2009 my Google organic traffic visitors have dropped. And since his last two visits, I don't have any Google traffic at all. How is he doing this?
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats Tyrone222 9/21/09 7:58 AM
I would also like to know why google cannot stop this--or is it something a computer illiterate such as myself can do?  My concern is that it throws off my analytics numbers ( I assume).
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats SavvyWebDesign 9/23/09 10:12 PM
My stats are also showing referrals from bestwebhosting dot org and from web dot com.

Regarding the question of <b>how concerned we need to be</b>: to expand on what Phil said above, if I understand this issue correctly, nothing malicious is being done to our websites or our computers; we're simply being tricked into visiting a certain website to increase its traffic count. Adding a filter to Analytics won't stop the misuse of our tracking numbers, it just prevents us from seeing annoying information. ;)  Yes, this trick distorts our Analytics numbers, but it's up to the individual to decide how significant that is. Personally I choose to simply ignore the referrers in question.

And, of course, do not visit those websites, and do not post links to those websites on forums.

Phil, thanks for your efforts on this matter. Adding a thank-you to Google in one of your earlier posts was a classy touch!
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats PPC_Guru 9/29/09 4:51 PM
@SavvyWebDesign

I agree with your point: currently 15 visits per month is a drop in the ocean for most medium-to-high traffic websites. This small number of visit can easily be ignored.

The problems becomes more serious if it is done on a much larger scale. For example  if 1,500 fake direct visits are shown on a day, this could distort average bounce rates & conversion rates, and become more than just annoying.

Secondly, GA does not provide the option to re-process log data, so if a site was shown to have 1500 faked visits there is not currently the option to delete the fake information without removing real visits (e.g the only option available is to re-creating the a GA profile).

Hence the importance of adding a hostname filter now, or GA adding preventative systems or deterrents.

Cheers

Phil.

One further point, I suspect the spammers mentioned above are using the same IP. So it should be relatively easy for Google to isolates this traffic across all accounts and add a perl script to not process any GA data that is coming from these IP`s.
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats gripolan 10/16/09 6:13 PM
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats veshrajprasai 7/5/10 8:50 AM
i got a same problem with 35 visitors from USA and Russia with 1 page visit and 00:00 time on site.
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats kathymb 7/10/10 4:33 PM
I'm having the same problem, and it's from thebesthosting .org / referral.

I did the search query you posted at the beginning, and Google search found these sites: http://bit.ly/axqoew

I hope this helps in squashing these wankers.
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats Don 1234567890 7/18/10 7:11 PM
C'mon, Google.  You're powerless to do anything about this lone spammer creep, splattering his junk all over Google Analytics?  And this has been going on for how long now?

BTW, to everyone else, Google surely knows exactly how pervasive it is (and yet, there's no official message about it?).  They own Google Analytics, of course, and so, they probably have an exact count of how many times these URLs show up as referrers and host names, and on what GA codes they appear.  At this point, there probably are few accounts on the planet the spammers haven't hit.  So, no need to post your site info.  They already know.  The question is why they haven't done anything about it.
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats BeautyHealth 7/28/10 10:32 PM
Don,

It's a good question you are asking.

I have today carried out a check on Google's domain with the Google's safe browsing diagnostic tool and the following (see below) is what I get. Apparently, once again the Google domain has been compromised with malware, scripting exploits and trojans. Additionally, the forum won't allow me to post links so I had to delete them.

Message to Google: Does anyone actually check this at all?

Safe Browsing

Diagnostic page for google.com

What is the current listing status for google.com?

This site is not currently listed as suspicious.

Part of this site was listed for suspicious activity 5 time(s) over the past 90 days.

What happened when Google visited this site?

Of the 26274 pages we tested on the site over the past 90 days, 117 page(s) resulted in malicious software being downloaded and installed without user consent. The last time Google visited this site was on 2010-07-28, and the last time suspicious content was found on this site was on 2010-07-28.

Malicious software includes 1444 scripting exploit(s), 7 trojan(s), 4 exploit(s).

Malicious software is hosted on 275 domain(s), including (had to delete this)

11 domain(s) appear to be functioning as intermediaries for distributing malware to visitors of this site, including (had to delete this) 

This site was hosted on 28 network(s) including (had to delete this) 

Has this site acted as an intermediary resulting in further distribution of malware?

Over the past 90 days, google.com appeared to function as an intermediary for the infection of 15 site(s) including (had to delete this) 

Has this site hosted malware?

Yes, this site has hosted malicious software over the past 90 days. It infected 2 domain(s), including (had to delete this)

Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats NEPsolar 2/18/11 11:42 AM
I am having the same problem as the first post...a random website in Brazil is visiting. BUT they are the only visits my site is getting. I know this is not true as people have called our company from our website. it is www.web.com that is the hostname visiting.

i didn't quite follow Phil's post on filtering so if there is a more detailed explanation i would appreciate.
Re: gps-brasil.blogspot.com/referral shows up in analytics but not awstats GallivantingGracie 2/23/11 10:26 AM
I have a similar problem and I'm hoping it's not going to affect my account or cause a problem. I had 1 visitor from referring site: bit.ly/ForexTradingStrategies in Brazil on Feb 3 and I never even posted my first blog until today. What's up with that? something to worry about?
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