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I got this in Google Analytics:

A significant portion of referral traffic to property example.com is from the following hostnames, which may be self-referrals:

4webmasters.org

Self-referrals are referrals from pages within your own domains. Self-referrals can obscure the actual sources of traffic to which conversions and other engagement on your site should be attributed. As a result, your referral metrics could be inaccurate. Further, self-referrals could be indicative of improperly-configured cross-domain tagging. Your users could be generating a session per domain, which would artificially inflate session counts.

There are multiple different Analytics misconfigurations that can cause self-referrals. Users navigating from an untagged page on your site to a tagged page can appear as self-referrals. Users navigating from one subdomain on your site to another subdomain that uses a different cookie domain can appear as self-referrals. If you track multiple domains in one web property, users navigating across multiple domains on your site without linker parameters set up to transfer cookie information properly can appear as self-referrals.

To avoid self-referrals, ensure all pages on your site are correctly tagged with the Analytics tracking code, make sure that cross-domain tracking is configured correctly on all your pages, and check your cookie domain settings in your tracking code to be sure that all subdomains in a domain are using the same cookie domain.

Has Google lost it's ever loving mind??

What is the status of Google's action on Ghost Referrals?

This has gotten more than old!!

  • Oh, great, another MegaIndex.ru style SEO site scanner on the loose. Referer Spam => webmasters.stackexchange.com/questions/78582/… – Fiasco Labs Apr 25 '15 at 4:57
  • I wonder if this is a warning that google may be thinking that you injected an affiliate linking scheme into your site to create an artificial good website reputation, but google needs to be more clear with their messages. – Mike Apr 25 '15 at 7:08
  • I don't understand, so if this is about how Google Analytics presents data no? – Osvaldo Apr 25 '15 at 8:42
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    @Mike That is what p1$$3$ me off about this whole thing- like I did something wrong! Google should have made significant code changes by now and this should not be my problem. Basically, it seems like Google is not doing a damned thing and ready to blame others. I am sure that is not the case, but basically that is what is happening anyway. – closetnoc Apr 25 '15 at 22:14
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    ... Yes. Google's loving mind turned into unpredictable mind at best. – Mike Apr 26 '15 at 3:34
6

There are plenty of threads about this in the Google product forums:

Here are some of the best comments from those threads:

Dreamframer: I just called google analytics help. The support was very interested in the problem, and the guy forwarded it to someone else. He also said that we have to keep this thread live, because there are people from Google who monitor these forums, and eventually they will respond.

AnalyticsEdge: They are aware and are discussing. They never pre-announce changes, and no one discusses security measures in a public forum (unless a scandal occurred). Do not expect a public announcement until something changes.

Having said that, they do watch the forums for what is happening, so keep complaining. There are workarounds in the meantime. A hostname include filter matching your site hostname gets rid of most of it. Switching to a -2 tracking code is another alternative (but you lose historical continuity).

By the way, fake traffic bouncing in Google Analytics has ABSOLUTELY NO EFFECT on search engine rankings.

Whims: This has been an ongoing and growing problem for a number of months. Google [is] aware of it but at this stage [has] not addressed it. Interesting discussion on it here if you should choose to read further https://plus.google.com/u/0/+StephaneHamel-immeria/posts/hSSgMSqoLup

The Google+ Analytics page has this to say about the issue now:

GA Data Quality is Important. Here’s how to eliminate bad referral data.

Good data analysis depends on good, quality data. In today’s business environment there are many things that can impact data quality. If you use Google Analytics, there are a number of tools at your disposal to ensure good, quality data in your account.

For example, we have tools that will automatically eliminate data from automated spiders and bots. We also have filters that can be configured to eliminate specific data. Exclude filters can be used to exclude data from a specific referral source.

We’re putting together a guide of recommended settings to help ensure the best quality data in your account. Look for it soon.

  • I particularly like the last link. I agree with one comment that Google can stop some of the bleeding by removing the known spam referrers after the 24 hour cycle. That would be a start. You found more than I did. I only found how to filter stuff which does not matter to me. This is because I can be patient and do not care as much as someone who lives and dies on this data. I used to manage previously failed projects for a global telecom generally of critical importance. The first thing I would do is figure out what happened, what could be done immediately, and where the fault would lay. – closetnoc Apr 28 '15 at 17:13
  • Then I would have a meeting in which I would make a statement and begin a forward conversation as to what is being done and where we stand. I did this daily. As as note, these were often company financial analytics and partner sites and products so communicating that you care and are on it was paramount. Thanks for looking into this! It looks like Google will stay mum until there is a fix. I would just let the public know that it is a priority at the very least- regardless of the fallout. That is just plain good management of your customer base- establishing trust. – closetnoc Apr 28 '15 at 17:17
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    I guess G is not going to say anything at all and we will never know the status of things until they figure a new bug for our sites. Short of the right hand of the big G coming to SE and proselytizing on the virtues of the 3.14159265359 commandments- thou shalt not spam, thou shalt not covet thy neighbors traffic, thou shalt not bear false pharmaceuticals, thou shalt not something something I forget (that's your .14159265359), this is probably as close an answer as we can expect. Thanks!! – closetnoc Apr 29 '15 at 0:20
  • There is an official word from Google Analytics now plus.google.com/u/0/+GoogleAnalytics/posts/3985ij5QeCa. Although it is not clear what will be the action. – Carlos Escalera Alonso May 5 '15 at 20:25

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