Some notable referrer spammers. Do NOT visit these websites!

Referrer Spam

What is it?

Referrer spammers are dubious companies that try and get their website details into your website system logs.

Why should I care?

Referrer spam volume is growing rapidly. At Quantum Websites we now regularly see thousands of spam referrals per day. If your website has only a moderate or small amount of visitors, then referrer spam is likely to significantly distort your visitor statistics. Due to the spam, people are often under the false impression that their website traffic is steadily growing, when it may not be at all. This can lead you to make a lot of false conclusions.

For those people that track their own analytics, such as Google Analytics, you need to be careful not to click on the links to the referrers website. The referrers website may have viruses or maybe just further spam links.

If you run your own website you need to be careful that you are not making your logfiles public as this could negatively effect your search ranking.

How to stop referrer spam

At Quantum websites we do the tedious work of fighting referrer spam for you. We do two major things, and if you run your own site you may be able to copy these suggestions:

Example of blocking referrer spam at the webserver if using Nginx.

Block referrer spam at the webserver level

We stop some of the spam by blocking the offenders from visiting your website at all. We run an Ngnix webserver and you can see the configuration required to block some well known spammers in the graphic.

Add an Google analytics spam filter

If you are using Google Analytics (GA), then the spammer just needs to capture your unique GA code, and thereafter does not even need to visit your website in order to spam your analytics. We use the referrer spam blacklist held on Github to build a filter that removes spam from your data. In this way we can proactively block referrer spam.

The tool below will automatically generate the latest spam filters for you. Just click on 'Create referrer spam filters'. Beware, as the Google filters have a maximum length this tool will generate quite a few filters!

Referrer Spam Filter Tool

How the referrer spam filter works

The tool loads the referrer spammer list from Github and converts into the Google Analytics filter format. If you don't know how to add filters to your analytics account, it is explained here.

Contact us

If you think that your visitor data has been distorted by spammers, then contact us at any time. In sever cases we may also decide to issue an new tracking id.

Further resources

If you want a technical understanding of referrer spam, then check this excellent post:

You can contribute to the referrer spam blacklist held on Github: