Spam has been a problem almost since the beginning of the internet; it's created by hackers and distributed various ways in order to either create a nuisance, introduce viruses, or scam unsuspecting internet users. Of late, website owners have noticed a different kind of spam when they've gone through their Google Analytics accounts: records of numerous visits from specific websites. This traffic is false and it's meant to clog up Google Analytics data and render it difficult to understand or even meaningless.
Very recently a new type of ghost spam has appeared, generated by malware and courtesy of Vitaly Popov, a Russian developer and IT expert. Mr. Popov's spam reveals "traffic" from the website motherboard.vice.com. This spam attempts to accomplish three goals: to celebrate Donald Trump's recent electoral victory, to direct traffic to that corrupted website, and to cause trouble for Google against which Mr. Popov holds a grudge.
Fortunately, the malware in question will not compromise your data or your computer. It won't affect your search rank or impact your site's SEO, but it will make analyzing Google Analytics data very challenging because it will reveal a large number of false hits. The malware also places a large toll on a computer's operating system, using up memory and compromising the computer's ability to complete more complex processes.
How is this ghost spam and not just garden variety spam? This type of spam, like other types, attempts to promote a website via referrals, but in this case the website has questionable traffic. The data will reveal high bounce rates. The first goal is to get webmasters to visit the intended site for whatever reason the spammer intends - for sales leads, to spread malware, or to conduct phishing attempts. Even if the webmasters only look at the website in Google, the spammer wins. A second goal is to boost the pagerank of the site on Google by creating backlinks which are then crawled by Google's indexing bots.
Knowing this, it's important not to visit the sites promoted via ghost spam or search for them on Google. If you would like help removing the motherboard.vice.com Google Analytics referral spam in Chrome, Firefox, or Internet Explore, click here. If your business would like advice or help with Google Analytics, SEO, or other products like Google AdWords, Corporate Conversions has the experience you need to evaluate your website's functionality and lead generation capability. Call us anytime.