So recently, I was going through our Google Analytics Account to analyze the traffic for the month of November. I found that we are getting unusual traffic from places which looked suspicious. After doing some research, I found that this is a widespread Google Analytics ‘Vote For Trump bot’ and many websites are being affected by this.
Screenshot below shows how the bot appears in Google Analytics under the Language section:
Our website was getting a large chunk of traffic from some source, which was mentioned as “Secret.google.com You are invited! Enter only with this ticket URL. Copy it. Vote for Trump!”
So, some Language mentioned as- “Secret.google.com You are invited! Enter only with this ticket URL. Copy it. Vote for Trump!”, was sending third highest traffic to our website. It was quite obvious that the traffic is spammy. Without investigating further, I tried to the find the source of the referral traffic and found something exciting. We were getting traffic from thenextweb.com!!!
But the excitement died as I clicked on the source. It lead me to the same referral path which looked something like this:
This link lead me to TNW Article which said –
“The spammer we’ve written about below is using the Google Analytics Measurement Protocol to create hits and send those to your Google Analytics property. These hits seem like they’re coming from this page or another page on thenextweb.com, but they’re not.”
So yes, this was a ‘Vote For Trump bot’ and more details can be found here.
But how to fix this spam traffic?
You can try the following steps to filter the traffic coming from this bot:
Go to Google Analytics > Admin > Filters > Add Filters
Add the filter like below:
‘Verify’ and ‘Save’ the filter
And you are done. When you click on ‘verify’, the blank cells in the ‘After’ column indicate that the filter is working fine.
UPDATE December 15th 2016:
People are observing spam traffic from the below sources as well:
- Vitaly rules google ☆*:｡゜ﾟ･*ヽ(^ᴗ^)ﾉ*･゜ﾟ｡:*☆ ¯\_(ツ)_/¯(ಠ益ಠ)(ಥ‿ಥ)(ʘ‿ʘ)ლ(ಠ_ಠლ)( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)ヽ(ﾟДﾟ)ﾉʕ•̫͡•ʔᶘ ᵒᴥᵒᶅ(=^ ^=)oO
- o-o-8-o-o.com search shell is much better than google!
- Google officially recommends o-o-8-o-o.com search shell!
These bots can also be filtered out of GA using the steps explained above.
Some useful reading to tackle bots traffic:
- The best blog I have come across to tackle spam traffic is ‘Definitive Guide to Removing All Google Analytics Spam’
- thenextweb.com justification on the spam can be read here: ‘A Russian Trump fan is celebrating by hacking Google Analytics’
- Read on how to verify your filter by Carlos Escalera
- Learn more about Language Filters
- Post by Google on Creating and Managing Filters
So that’s how you can tackle the “Vote for Trump” bot. Hope you find this helpful. And do let us know if you have spotted unusual traffic on your site. It’s always great to compare notes.