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The Trump Bot

Posted by Jeff Davis on Fri, Dec 09, 2016 @ 11:36 AM

Or Interesting Things You Find In Google Analytics

I was giving a presentation recently on Google Analytics so I jumped in and took a look at the results before the meeting. Imagine my surprise when I noticed that the second most common language used to access the client's website was "Secret.ɢ You are invited! Enter only with this ticket URL. Copy it. Vote for Trump!"

No kidding.

Screen Shot 2016-12-08 at 7.02.08 PM.png

So I contacted Google and asked them what the h#$% was going on. After being routed around the world, tech support was able to tell me they had "no idea" but I can show you how to add a filter that will not let them see it". No thanks, I am more interested in figuring out what the problem is and fixing it.

Today I was looking at another client's Analytics and saw similar results. So I looked at the Analytics for our site and there it was again. I am starting to see a trend.

Screen Shot 2016-12-08 at 6.44.40 PM.png

 I quick Google search turned up a few articles on the topic. An article by Mike Richwalsky suspects it is a bot that surfaced on the day of the presidential election. The short version is that there is no known way to remove this "language" from Google reports, you can only filter it out. 

Apparently this bot infects the browser on your device and sets the default language to the "new" language shown above. Then as the individual visits websites, Google Analytics picks it up as a defined language and reports it as such. I still have more investigating to work through, but I am surprised by the number of infected machines. As I have reviewed Google Analytics for our clients, roughly two out of three websites are reporting this "language". 

Here is a link to an article talking more about the individual thought to be responsible for starting this mess.

Amazing at the length some people will go to make a point.

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