How to block Motherboard.vice.com referral spam in Google Analytics

3 Methods: Create an exclude filter  |  Create a campaign referral path filter | Create a language settings filter

Motherboard.vice.com (vice.com) is a questionable website that utilizes referrer spam in order to desperately obtain online visitors.

Motherboard.vice.com (vice.com) is a questionable website that utilizes referrer spam in order to desperately obtain online visitors. The downside to vice.com’s unethical use of referrer spam is that it can ruin your website’s data collected and monitored by Google Analytics.

motherboard.vice.com spam

In late 2016, a Russian referrer spammer named Vitaly Poplov spammed several well-known third-party websites and vice.com is one of them. Other domain names that this spammer spammed around the same time include lifehacĸer.comreddit.comabc.xyz, thenextweb.com, and addons.mozilla.org.

motherboard.vice.com referral

The reason why this particular spammer is spamming your Google Analytics data with motherboard.vice.com referral traffic is because vice.com published several articles promoting the spammer Poplov and some of his works. At first, vice.com only published one article (http://motherboard.vice.com/read/this-pro-trump-russian-is-spamming-google-analytics); However, once vice.com noticed that Poplov would spam the articles they wrote about him they published even more about him and reached out to him to hold private discussions with him. Now, vice.com utilizes their relationship with Poplov in order to get their content spammed.

Associated urls

  • http://motherboard.vice.com/read/this-pro-trump-russian-is-spamming-google-analytics
  • http://motherboard.vice.com/read/spammer-now-spamming-google-analytics-with-motherboard-article-on-spam
  • https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/google-wins-legal-battle-against-pro-trump-spammer-over-the-letter-g

Poplov has been referrer spamming other URLs in promotion of his own search engine for a very long time and doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon; especially with all the attention he’s getting from websites like vice.com. The downside to this persistent spammer is that his work can ruin your Google Analytics data and make it hard to monitor your website’s appropriate information. The traffic acquired from referrer spam can affect most of the data in your GA reports. For example, the referrals will appear to land on a single webpage on your website and leave from the same website and this will create a 100% bounce rate. If your website is targeted by referrer spammers you may not be able to identify your website’s actual bounce rate unless you filter the traffic out.

motherboard.vice.com google analytics

Although referrer spam can ruin your analytical data it will not harm your website or affect your website’s SEO, including your rank in Google search results pages. This is simply spam that wants to get your attention.

The spammer will utilize various tactics in order to make it look like your website received referral traffic from motherboard.vice.com even though it really did not. This type of web traffic is a specific type of web traffic known as “ghost traffic.” The spammer essentially sends phantom visitors to your website’s Google Analytics account in order to make it appear as if someone visited your website from the referral URL.

Referrer spammers usually target your website’s data for several reasons:

  • Referrer spammers want to promote a website and want you to visit the webpage or search for it online through Google search engine results pages.
  • Referrer spammers want to boost their rank on Google search engine results pages by creating backlinks. They do this by logging requests into your website’s access log, which is then crawled by Google’s indexing bots and seen as a backlink to the spam site.

Create an exclude filter

Use this filter to block all referral traffic from vice.com. To block a webpage on vice.com use the Alternative Filter below.

1. Open your Google Analytics account and go to the Admin tab > Click Filters on the right side in the VIEW section.

2. Click the + ADD FILTER button to create a new exclude filter.

3. Add Vice.com or something you can easily remember as the Filter Name.

4. Select the Custom Filter Type.

5. In Filter Field, find and select Campaign Source in the list. In the Filter Pattern text box, add vice.com and click the blue Save button on the bottom of the webpage. To add multiple URLs to the same filter you can make a Filter Pattern similar to this with a | between each URL: Example.com | Example\.com | vice.com

Create a campaign referral path filter

1. Open your Google Analytics account and go to the Admin tab > Click Filters on the right side in the VIEW section.

2. Click the + ADD FILTER button to create a new exclude filter.

3. Add Motherboard.vice.com or something you can easily remember as the Filter Name.

4. Select the Custom Filter Type.

5. In Filter Field, find and select Campaign Referral Path in the list. In the Filter Pattern text box, add a section of the webpage’s permalink (ie: /r/technology/comments/read/this-pro-trump) and click the blue Save button on the bottom of the webpage.

Create a language settings filter

1. Log in to your Google Analytics account and go to the Admin tab

2. In the “View” column select Filters and then click + Add Filter

3. Add a Filter Name: Language Spam (or something you can easily remember)

4. Go to: Filter Type > Custom > Exclude

5. Select Filter FieldLanguage settings

6. Add a Filter Pattern\s[^s]*\s|.{15,}|\.|,

7. Click on the blue text that says Verify this filter to see a preview table of how this filter will work in your account. You should only see language spam on the left side of the table: filter-verification-language-spam

8. After you verify the filter click the Save button on the bottom of the page

  • Hello! I found you guides on removing these Spammers very helpful and just used your one for 3mapsVitaly, and O-o-8-o-o. I had no idea. For some reason I cant get this one to work. Any other suggestions? I also am seeing results for top10-way with a referral path of /try.php. I am assuming these are spammers as well? I can’t find any information to find out for sure.

  • I had no idea to exclude this referral spam that was coming to my site. Today I excluded it. Thank you so much for such a nice post sir.

  • Ava

    Thank you!!! I just blocked them

  • None

    I asked them to delete their articles numerous time to no avail! They are desperate!

  • I am continuos receive visitors from motherboard.vice.com, and I wonder that is it search engine. This post make me so suprise and I understand that our visitors get virus but they dont know. But motherboard drive traffic to my site by what way? Is it good for webmaster like me?

  • Hi , I did try the filters and is not working for me.
    My bounce rate increased and they are constantly on Real Time mainly from mobile, Russia.
    Is it the site motherboard that causing all that trouble?
    Active Page Page Title Active Users
    1. / motherboard.vice.com/read…spamming-google-analytics

    Is really frustrating and is causing a lot of problems as I said the bounce rate increased dramatically. The domain I am referring is not old I bought it 10days ago and bouncing is over 75% cos of it. Please help me …Any alternative solution ? Should i contact google ?

  • Is it possible to block the spam entry completely with this method?

  • Angry man

    This motherfckers SPAM my website everyday im sick of it. Thats abviously his they get visitors misarable bastards..

  • Mrs

    Thank you for this article and the tutorial on how to exclude the referral from google analytics! I’ve had this happening on my website all day and wanted to figure out how or why it was happening. If I create the filter, will that still affect my analytics data or will it just be filtered out entirely from my reports?