Recently, I’ve been keeping a sharp eye on some of my side projects that I just started working on, some of them have little to no content, so getting repeated referrals from a website is not only bizarre but curiously suspicious. I logged in yesterday to Google Analytics to find that two of my websites (with completely unrelated content) have been visited by referral from “forum darodar” (I won’t post the actual link because I don’t want them to have a backlink from my site, and draw more traffic). The referral in Google Analytics looks like this:
So you’re probably wondering, what the heck is this forum, and why is it drawing traffic to my blog?
What is darodar./com?
The link, if you click on it, takes you to a Alibaba website with a referral link. This is a clever, but shady, way to bring traffic to a referral link. A person will sign up to be an affiliate for Alibaba, and then just spam all these new websites with a robot or spider so that it shows up to the webmaster. The webmaster, confused as to what exactly is going on, clicks or enters the URL to figure out what it is. Then a cookie is placed on his computer and gives the advertisers a commission if the webmaster actually manages to make a purchase on Alibaba, or the next advertiser of choice. Multiply this by ten of thousands of websites… and you get a rich black hat advertiser making money on the internet. In most cases it is against the terms of service for the advertiser. It’s also incredibly looked down upon.
Quick Note: “forum.Darodar” and “Ilovevitaly” are the same type of referral spam.
Infographic: How the Darodar Forum Affiliate Spam Works
Who is behind the Darodar Referral Spam Campaign?
The jury is still out on that one… although by the looks of it, the “darodar” domain name use to be a Russian based search engine of some sort based on old caches from Wayback Machine, but now it seems that the spammers are instead originating their spiders and robots from IP addresses routed through China.
How to block Darodar referral spam
EDIT: This method is reported to no longer be working. To stop receiving reports of these websites in your Google Analytics, please follow this trick instead. This is the only current working method as of Dec. 29th, 2014
Special shoutout to Dave over at Sudorank for this guide
First, find your .htaccess file in your FTP program or website directory. Paste the following code in the file:
SetEnvIfNoCase Referer darodar.com spambot=yes
Allow from all
Deny from env=spambot
Voila! No more spambots.
9 thoughts on “Google Analytics Darodar Forum Spam – What is it?”
I’m experiencing the same problem! It came from top referrer forum.topic59009552.darodar.com as said by Google Analytics.
At first I thought this may be a referrer from someone’s post in a forum but then I notice that it was just spam. However I do find some weird page views. According to the Analytics, they’re from Russia(???) and all of them were done by the same user and these visits lasted for 0 sec. If you try the darodar link, you will be first redirected to shopping.ilovevitaly.ru (I love Italy???) then be redirected again to aliexpress.com. Most of the spams happened only on the day my blog was set up. This’s really wired.
I don’t understand why Alibaba is doing this if it’s true that they’re spamming in this way. I’m from China and I use their service very often. It’s a well known corporation and I don’t think they need to do this. Spam will no doubt be stains on their fame.
Anyway, I’m still confused because the referral spam actually caused some visits.
Thanks for your study on this issue. 🙂
I don’t think that Alibaba really knows this is happening, it’s probably someone through their affiliate program, but yes, it’s pretty annoying!
The darodar.com referral spam showing up in my Google Analytics reports is NOT coming from any real traffic to my site.
The shady marketer has gathered the GA IDs of countless websites, and with those IDs they are able to spoof traffic directly to Google Analytics to get listed as a referrer in the reports, without the need to visit any websites.
Changing your .htaccess file will have no effect on this referral spam because the shady marketer never visits your website.
Very nice infographic and description of what’s taking place.
Hi Ty – good point to mention, although have you tried the method at the bottom of the page for blocking Google Analytics from reporting bots and spiders?
Looks like that might be the only option at this point.
I haven’t checked on that solution, but Google says, “The backend will exclude hits matching the User Agents named in the list as though they were subject to a profile filter.”
Since the shady marketer has done a fantastic job of hitting GA directly, I’m sure he’s not including a unique user agent that can get him filtered.
It’s a good setting to have enabled, but I doubt it will help with this. I’ve turned it on for some of my sites but won’t know if it works for another couple days…
I am blogger user, how I insert those line in my blog?
If you have access to the .htaccess file in your FTP program (like FileZilla or Cyberduck for Mac) you an manually add those lines to the code inside of the .htaccess file. Otherwise, you will need to follow the Google Analytics guide here to block ALL robot spam from appearing in Google Aanlytics. Best of luck! https://plus.google.com/+GoogleAnalytics/posts/2tJ79CkfnZk
Good research on your part. I’ve updated my .htaccess method to use your variable idea- nice and concise. I also wrote a post on methods of blocking spambot traffic, so if you’re looking for alternatives to htaccess, give it a read! http://gearside.com/stop-spambots-like-semalt-buttons-website-darodar-others/
Hi Chris – appreciate the comment! I took a look at your post and loved that you included options to get rid of Semalt too… Hopefully Google will crack down on these sites as they are becoming more and more of a nuisance.