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 IT?
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.
HOW IT WORKS
Who is doing this?
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 stop it
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.
Official Google Response:
Thank you so much for writing in!I understand where youre coming from and trust me, apart from being an advertiser, you are a member to our family. Without much ado, I will first guide you through the steps of how these fake visits can be excluded.1. Remove referral traffic sources.Sign in to your Google Analytics account.Click Admin in the menu bar at the top of any page.In the ACCOUNT column, use the dropdown to select the Analytics account that contains the property you want to work with.In the PROPERTY column, use the dropdown to select a property.Click Tracking Info.Click Referral Exclusion List.To add a domain, click +ADD REFERRAL EXCLUSION.Enter the Domain name.Click Create to save.This will help you exclude the traffic that is creating issues for you.2. Edit view settings (Important)Sign in to your Google Analytics account.Select the Admin tab and navigate to the view in which you want to change settings.In the VIEW column, click View Settings.Scroll down to find Bot Filtering.Check the box for Exclude all hits from known bots and spiders.This will help you avoid such instances in the future.Additionally, as I have already said, I am just an email away, so feel free to write back in case of any query, you have related to AdWords or Analytics, be it a small one or a big one. I will try to get it sorted at my best.Questions? Leave one in the comments section below!Immediately see the strengths and weaknesses of your website, plus check keyword ranks!