Ghost spam is a major pain for analysts.
Solutions have surfaced that claim to take care of this for you. But before you jump for joy, do take a close look and make sure you’re not trading the hassle of ghost spam for something even worse.
It could cost you your job.
In a previous post, we described several ways to fight the clutter that this unwanted traffic produces in your analytics data. And yes, it can be a lot of work.
Therefore, it’s not surprising that some services have sprouted to offer to continuously fix this for you. Some services offer to periodically update filters for your Google Analytics data sets (i.e. “Views”).
Before you sign up for one of these services and provide access, do read the fine print. Do you realize that you are providing wide open access to your data? For anyone to apply filters to your Google Analytics Views, they have to have “Edit” access at the Account level, which is the top level Super User access that only the most knowledgeable users should have.
- If you are with an agency or consulting company, you are exposing your client’s confidential data to a 3rd party. What does your contract say about this situation? Can you do this without violating your service agreement?
- If you are a considering this for your own company, make sure you run this by governance or IT. If you check out the use statements of these organizations, they say that by subscribing to their service, you do so at your own risk.
What type of freedom are you giving the tool? Likely lots. Here’s an example:
So let’s say someone at the spam blocking service company runs amok, extracts information they said they will not access and shares it with one of your competitors or your clients’ competitors? What then? Check out the disclaimer. You likely have little recourse:
Hard work though it may be, brush up on Regular Expressions and manage your View filters yourself. Although not perfect, selecting the “Bot Filtering” box in your View Settings does exclude most spam. Google is continuously updating this filter in Google Analytics.
If you want to use a third party’s service, sign up for the segment update from Loganix (which we do mention in our earlier post). Applying segments does not permanently affect your data and you’re not giving Loganix any access to your data.
Have you found any lower risk solutions for managing referrer ghost spam? Do share. We’d love to hear about them.
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