What is “to use this feature visit: event-tracking.com” in Google Analytics

Nothing is safe online. Not even Google.

Anyone who checks their Analytics regularly has probably noticed the annoying referrer spam: websites that aren’t actually sending visitors to your website, but instead trigger fake pageviews that pretend their website is a great source of traffic. In many cases, they’re bots trying to get you to visit their website and buy something.

What you probably haven’t seen is Event Spam.

As of Wednesday, May 6, one of my clients is now having their Google Analytics Events spammed for event-tracking.com. This is the first I’ve seen of this in the wild, and I believe it hasn’t been reported on yet. Here, the purpose is to drive pageviews so they can make money off AdSense, Google’s own advertising platform. How’s that for irony? You can identify this traffic with Event Category: “to use this feature visit: EVENT-TRACKING.COM”

Previously, the spammers had targeted pageviews as their method. With targeting Events, they gain access into more potential fields to spam us on, and they start to clutter up the Event data that we’ve purposefully pruned and cleaned to give real insight into client websites.

Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 11.27.42 AM

 

An Open Letter to Google Analytics

So we’ve attached an open letter to Google Analytics for all SEOs to send out. For the sake of the platform, we need to make them aware of how spammers are gaming things. Please send and share!

Dear Google Analytics,

We have a problem. Your service is getting exploited by spammers using really basic techniques. You have the best free platform, BY FAR, but you’re getting schooled by these fools. We can’t wait on guides or implementing a pile of custom filters. Users need you and your spam team to attack this problem before it becomes an epidemic. We need spam data eliminated from Google Analytics.

Thanks, from your besties,

Top Draw

  • Oh, boy, that’s another level. I guess referral exclusion lists are not going to help much there, right? Would it be any help to use Google Tag Manager?

    • Brian

      No,

      it doesn’t matter whether you use GTM or just simply Google Analytics

      • We’ve been running include only filters on hostname and, in some cases, removing Russia and Brazil altogether to avoid having to remove every single referral source. Still room for improvement.

    • Exolon

      Yeah this really is quite meta :) Thankfully, they don’t seem to be adapting much, since all the event names seem to be the same.

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  • Justin Cutroni

    We’re working on it… stay tuned.

    • That’s encouraging. On what part (event spam, or all of it)?

    • montz

      A timeline would be great to set expectations but thanks for the free product !

    • Looking forward to it!

    • drakemalone

      For now, can maybe exclude certain HOSTS as a filter on the whole account as well (or just remove in the event report each time you look at it via a Filter/Search in there).

    • Hi Justin – Thanks for checking in on this issue. Do you have any updates?

  • Annoying..

  • Peter Vermeulen

    I created a filter named ‘Block Spam (events)
    Exclude
    Event Category
    .*(EVENT-TRACKING).*

    • William William

      you are a genius and angel! thanks for the useful and simple information. ;)

  • Yeap, from May 6th here as well. Wild West of Internet. :)

  • Shyam Sunder Sharma

    past 4-5 month, i am getting lost of spam traffic..:-)

  • henrikakselsen

    I setup a custom filter to avoid it, but it’s annoyting

  • I created a filter in my GA for them and other ghost referrers. Worth the time to do to avoid the skew!

  • Melanie Roberts

    Guys, Google isn’t getting schooled. They know full well about this, and are leaving it for as long as they can I’m sure because THEY MAKE MONEY OFF ADSENSE TOO. They aren’t making money off you or I. And to get another Analytics platform even half as good, we have to pay for it. So, I don’t think they are concerned about attrition rate at this point.

  • bluetango

    I blocked all countries except the USA on GWM and yet I check my GA and I have 20 countries that have visited my site. Are these bots or What ?

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