How to fix the ‘Vote For Trump’ bot in Google Analytics

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:


Referral traffic from Vote For Trump bot


 

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!!!


source-of-referral-traffic-vote-for-trump


 

But the excitement died as I clicked on the source. It lead me to the same referral path which looked something like this:


tnw-traffic


 

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:

  1. Go to Google Analytics > Admin > Filters > Add Filters

  2. Add the filter like below: create-filter

  3. ‘Verify’ and ‘Save’ the filter save-filter

And you are done. When you click on ‘verify’, the blank cells in the ‘After’ column indicate that the filter is working fine.


verification


 

UPDATE December 15th 2016:

People are observing spam traffic from the below sources as well:

  1. 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
  2. o-o-8-o-o.com search shell is much better than google!
  3. 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:

  1. The best blog I have come across to tackle spam traffic is ‘Definitive Guide to Removing All Google Analytics Spam’
  2. thenextweb.com justification on the spam can be read here: ‘A Russian Trump fan is celebrating by hacking Google Analytics’
  3. Read on how to verify your filter by Carlos Escalera
  4. Learn more about Language Filters
  5. 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.

10 Comments

  1. Alexander  - December 1, 2016 - 11:12 am
    Reply /

    This doesn’t work (anymore)

    Did exactly what you described and got this when I verify:

    This filter would not have changed your data. Either the filter configuration is incorrect, or the set of sampled data is too small.

    Got 115 session from them…

    • Boris Poonia  - December 2, 2016 - 6:27 pm
      Reply /

      Hey Alexander,
      The verification sometimes doesn’t work, for now just apply the filter and it should block the spam referral traffic

      Just do a double check on the steps from the tutorial and monitor your traffic once you apply the filter

  2. Karen  - December 2, 2016 - 11:27 pm
    Reply /

    I’m getting the same results. Have tried different variations of the URL including Secret.google.com* but nothing seems to change.

  3. Sohaib Siddique  - December 3, 2016 - 10:04 pm
    Reply /

    it’s really annoying, nice to find your article now i am done with these step and will let you now if I have another problem

    Thank you again

    • Anubhav Tiwari  - December 9, 2016 - 11:16 pm
      Reply /

      Hi Micha… I prefer using segmentation only for the sake of comparison, because it does not remove data from the reports. For example, I will prefer using segmentation if I have to compare the performance of a particular marketing campaign against another, viewing mobile visitors versus desktop visitors.

      Conversely, I use filters to remove ‘spam’ from the report level or any other data which needs to be included from the reports.

  4. João Barbosa  - December 20, 2016 - 4:38 pm
    Reply /

    Hi

    I tried the usual “known bots” option in Google and it didn’t work; I tried this as well and didn’t work; tried excluding by country (as this traffic is coming from Russia, Poland and Vietname and my company fortunately doesn’t work there) and preview says it won’t affect the data.

    • Anubhav Tiwari  - December 21, 2016 - 11:01 am
      Reply /

      Hi João Barbosa,

      1. Known bots thing might not work if the list is not updated. So I can help if you let me know the steps you used for it.
      2. How are you verifying if the method given in the blog is working or not. Can you please share the screenshot?
      3. I suggest you not to exclude the country as you may lose out on the legitimate traffic coming from Russia.

      Thanks,
      Anubhav

  5. Mauro Fellmann  - February 28, 2017 - 9:57 pm
    Reply /

    Hello

    Thanks for the article. But sadly Im not able to create an effective filter for this problem.

    When I try to create a filter excluding the “Language Settings” i have the following error: “This filter would not have changed your data. Either the filter configuration is incorrect, or the set of sampled data is too small.”

    But if I try to exclude “ru” using the Filter Field “Language Settings” I’m able to get some data. The thing is that I don’t want to exclude possible Russian visitors.

    How I can find a solution for this?

    All the best

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