Referrer spamming tactic has been around for quite a while. It entails the use of black hat SEO techniques to ensure a website reflects in Google Analytics for other websites. A referrer link is a bait that hooks an online user to the referrer website. This technique has gained prominence on Reddit and HackerNews.
Ivan Konovalov, the Semalt expert, says that the use of referrer links has certainly reached another level thanks to the efforts of Vitaly A. Popov – the owner of the Russian spam website darodar.com. His website takes advantage of the Google Analytics string identifier code which allows it to generate all existing identifiers in use at once. When a random page is loaded the same analytics identifier as the one you use reflects in your website statistics. Ironically, one doesn’t need to know your URL to spam your website. What the spammers need is to hook or ping your analytics identifier to their page.
Now let’s come back to the Russian spam, Popov has monetized this technique with devastating effect. A single click on any of his spammed links redirects you to websites such as Amazon, eBay or AliExpress. This is facilitated by an affiliate link dubbed IloveVitaly.com and routed through his website. How does he get money from this? Well, he won’t make any money if you click on the redirect links without purchasing from the resultant website. However, when you purchase in future, Mr. Popov through the Vitality website will earn a commission on your transaction.
Also, Mr. Popov targets and baits website owners who possess a greater chance of making regular purchases. Once you receive his tracking cookie, you’re hooked for life. Statistics from SimilarWeb shows Darodar.com attracts over a million visitors monthly.
Popov has recently added a new twist to his malicious practice when registering a new website named thehulfingtonpost.com. In this trick, a baited webmaster or administrator sees this domain pop up on their analytics and promptly checking for their ‘mention’ on the Huffington Post. Ironically, Mr. Popov is yet to be banned by any of the programs he’s been exploiting. Since he’s still generating traffic, even anti-spam clauses cannot punish him as they only cover email marketing campaigns as stipulated in the terms and conditions.
Nevertheless, there’s the likelihood that a future review of his practice could lead to termination of his affiliate agreement. In the near future, the Huffington Post might also invest in a legal suit ending up in the seizure of the domain under the abuse of trademarks clause. Until this happens, Mr. Popov will continue to make loads of cash thanks to the baited clicks from website owners through his 31 affiliate domains under his scheme.
Now you are informed of this Russian spam; we can suggest you remove the referral spam from Google Analytics by excluding it in the exclusion list of your account. Simply add the domain hulfingtonpost.com, darodar.com and all of the other domains to the list. Filter restrictions can also effectively apply for the same purpose.