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We set up a Referral Exclusion List for our Google Analytics properties, foo.example.com and bar.example.com. However, now when we look at the "Full Referrer" dimension of page views and events, we no longer see foo.examnple.com or bar.example.com, and see many more (direct) full referrers, which is incorrect.

Is this a bug in Google Analytics, or is there some other configuration we need to do alongside setting the Referral Exclusion List entries so these domains appear in the "Full Referrer" dimension as anything other than (direct).

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I wouldn't expect something on the referral exclusion list to appear in the referral report at all, either as itself, or as direct. Excluding the referrer means that it doesn't start a new session, it continues the last session from your site. The referrer report should only be new sessions.

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  • Fine, but I'm not talking about the referrer report. I'm talking about the "Full Referrer" field, which can be used in a variety of reports for a variety of reasons. It appears that GA is throwing away this very useful information.
    – Mike Godin
    Dec 1, 2021 at 16:35
  • If you put something on the referrer exclusion list you are basically saying that it isn't a referrer because they are coming from part of your own site. You would usually exclude services where you refer visitors to them and then expect the user to come back. Things like login providers, credit card processors and things like that. What are you using this for? Dec 1, 2021 at 16:49
  • I want to classify where entries to a page are coming from: either direct, from the same site, or from external sites. It seems that I need the referrer field, (which is reported to GA), in order to discern between direct and same site while also looking at external sites.
    – Mike Godin
    Dec 1, 2021 at 21:40

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