Block Ghost Referral Spam

There has been a large increase in the amount of Referral Spam in WordPress sites in the past few months. I am not completely sure why that is or if maybe people are just starting to take more notice of it. While some referral spam can easily be blocked with rewrite rules, some cannot be.

The type of referral spam that cannot be blocked via htaccess or nginx rewrite rules is a type of spam called Ghost Referrals. These types of referrals can’t be blocked because they are actually never visiting your WordPress site at all, hence the name “Ghost” referrals.

These are the types of referrals that you will see littering your Google Analytics reporting and will eventually drive you mad if you don’t know how to stop them. However, the good news is that it is possible to stop them from screwing up your Google Analytics even if you can’t use rewrite rules!

First, let me clarify, that these Ghost referrals do not ever visit your site and will never show up in your access logs. These referrals only show up in Google Analytics reporting because they are using GA Management Protocol allowing them to post a fake pageview with your unique GA code.

The way to block them from showing up in your reporting is by using a filter inside of Google Analytics itself. To learn how to use the filter block in Google Analytics, please check out this well written article with amazing screenshots:

https://www.tythewebguy.com/block-darodar-with-filtering/

The most recent examples of Ghost Referrals are: Darodar, iloveitaly.co, priceg.com, blackhatworth.com, and hulfingtonpost.com. All of these must be blocked with a filter in Google Analytics. No amount of rewrite rules will do you any good like they would for say, Semalt or makemoneyonline.

More info on Ghost Referrals: https://www.ohow.co/what-is-referrer-spam-how-stop-it-guide/#Referrer_Spam_List_updated_18-april-15

Buttons For Website Spam: https://210mike.com/buttons-for-website/

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13 Comments

  1. […] What about Darodar and iloveitaly spam? Those are Ghost Referrals and rewrites won’t work. Check out my article about how to block this particular type of annoying spam: https://210mike.com/block-ghost-referral-spam/ […]

    January 18, 2015
    Reply
    • Mike Price said:

      Hey Mike,

      Thanks for sharing. I did a lot of research on this topic including that particular well written article! 🙂

      January 18, 2015
      Reply
  2. This is a new thing for me, perhaps I should often check it also on Google Analytic. Previously I had not noticed the spam like this.

    Thanks Mike.

    February 13, 2015
    Reply
  3. TD said:

    I understand using filters in analytics for my own statistics, but doesn’t Google itself use all hits to somehow rank sites? Don’t these ghost spammers hurt my SEO ranking?

    March 20, 2015
    Reply
  4. Vaughan said:

    Why does Google not automatically filter this type of spam? Its extremely frustrating and time consuming for everyone to have to do this when Google could do it once and eliminate the issue all together.

    June 11, 2015
    Reply
    • Mike Price said:

      Hey Vaughan,

      Completely agree with you! I am honestly not sure why Google doesn’t do this. You would think they would be well aware of the nasty issue.

      June 11, 2015
      Reply
  5. himanshu dhingra said:

    Hello.

    Your article is great.

    But i have a problem, how can I identify that whether the spam is a ghost one or the normal one?

    currently I am receiving spams from:

    floating-share-buttons.com
    http://www.event-tracking.com
    4webmasters.org

    Please tell me shall i use htacces method of google filter method for these.

    Waiting for your kind reply.

    July 10, 2015
    Reply

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