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Get Rid of Startwp(.)org Referral Spam In Google Analytics

Referral spam redirects continue to circle the Web. A big spam network of affiliate websites is gaining a huge momentum, namely – spam leading to Startwp(.)org. They boost the internet traffic of partner sites, by degenerating Google Analytics data of other, targeted sites. One of the most frequent redirects comes from fast-wordpress-start(.)com.

SensorsTechForum-startwp-org-main-page-referral-spam-referrer-redirect

Name Startwp(.)org
Type Referral Spam
Short Description The webpage may cause malicious redirects to third-party websites and vice versa. The spam can quickly devaluate a site’s statistics.
Symptoms You may see multiple redirects to other potentially malicious sites. You might notice a sudden statistics drop in Google Analytics data.
Distribution Method Spam Bots, Referrals
Detection Tool Download Malware Removal Tool, to See If Your System Has Been Affected by Startwp(.)org
User Experience Join our forum to discuss Startwp(.)org.

Startwp(.)org Referral Spam – How Is It Spread?

There are two effective ways of spreading spam, both using the following spam bots:

  • Web Crawlers

Web crawlers are programmed scripts that crawl the Internet, from one website to another. They can distribute spam very quickly. The crawler fetches and analyzes information about websites, like if there is no Captcha, no robot identification, no regular updates or monitoring, etc. If a site has flagged the crawler and its activity for being spam, this spam bot chooses other sites to crawl. There are cases of spammers making their bots more durable and can also pay people to assist them in filling out Captchas.

  • Ghost Referrals

This type of spam is more sophisticated, thus more efficient. The term Ghost indicates that the spam doesn’t only bypass bot identification but also involves benefiting from free HTTP data passing through. This action could allow cyber criminals to conduct large spam campaigns on a website, meddle with Google Analytics data and devaluate a site’s statistics very swiftly. That is because the internet traffic from such bots normally has a 100% bounce rate. It is like a user visiting the affected website and leaving immediately. Traffic is redirected to websites set in the Ghost Referral. If there is a sudden spike in your Google Analytics data caused by Startwp(.)org or some of its affiliates like fast-wordpress-start(.)com you should quickly block it. Other analytical data may be affected as well.

Startwp(.)org Referral Spam – What Is It?

Startwp(.)org is a referral spam website. The referral traffic caused from it aims for a targeted website and devaluates its analytical data calculated by Google Analytics. It can disrupt that data with deceptive referral traffic known as ghost traffic. That’s how it promotes its affiliate websites, so that they have higher hits from all these redirected visits.

The referral spam generally gets redirects from the fast-wordpress-start(.)com domain. The situation can suddenly change if a more profitable spam bot uses another domain.

Startwp(.)org can affect any website by generating fake referral traffic from many different locations using spam bots, compromised computers and other various techniques. The accumulated fake Internet traffic is used to expand Startwp(.)org, its partners and affiliate websites, all of which gain a better SEO ranking as a result.

Startwp(.)org Referral Spam – How to Block It

To stop the Startwp(.)org referral spam from doing further damage to your website’s statistics, we have researched and found removal methods, with instructions given below.

Method 1: Filtering Startwp(.)org Spam in Google Analytics:

Step 1: Click on the ‘Admin’ tab on your GA web page.
Step 2: Choose which ‘View’ is to be filtered and then click the ‘Filters’ button.
Step 3: Click on ‘New Filter’.
Step 4: Write a name, such as ‘Spam Referrals’.
Step 5: On Filter Type choose Custom Filter –>Exclude Filter –> Field: Campaign Source–> Filter Pattern. Then on the Pattern, enter the domain name – Startwp(.)org Step 6: Select Views to Apply Filter.
Step 7: Save the filter, by clicking on the ‘Save’ button.
You are done! Congratulations!

Also, make sure you check out these several methods to help you further block out this referrer spam from Google Analytics:

More Methods To Stop Spam Bots and Spiders In Google Analytics

We have also researched the following methods to remove this spam:

Method 2: Block Startwp(.)org from your server.

In case you have a server that is Apache HTTP Server, you may want to try the following commands to block Startwp(.)org domains in the .htaccess file:

RewriteEngine on

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://.*Startwp \.com/ [NC,OR]

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://.*Startwp \.org/ [NC,OR]

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://.*fast-wordpress-start \.com/ [NC,OR]

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://.*Startwp \-for\-website\.com/ [NC,OR]

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://.*Startwp \-for\-website\.org/ [NC,OR]

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://.*fast-wordpress-start \-for\-website\.com/ [NC,OR]

RewriteRule ^(.*)$ – [F,L]

Also here is a web link to some spam URLs being blacklisted from other servers:

Ultimate Referrer Blacklist by Perishablepress.com

Disclaimer: This type of domain blocking in Apache servers has not yet been tested and it should be done by experienced professionals. Backup is always recommended.

Method 3 – Stop Startwp(.)org Via WordPress

There is a method outlined by security researchers online that uses WordPress plugins to block referrer spams from sites. There are many plugins that help deal with referrer spam, simply do a google search. We have currently seen one particular plugin reported to work, called WP-Ban, but bear in mind that you may find an equally good or better. WP-Ban has the ability to block users based on their IP address and other information such as the URL, for example.

Also, in case you feel like you may have clicked and been redirected to one of the domains mentioned in the spam message, and you believe your system may be compromised, you should scan your computer with a particular anti-malware tool. Downloading such software will also make sure your computer is safe against any future intrusions as well.

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Spy Hunter scanner will only detect the threat. If you want the threat to be automatically removed, you need to purchase the full version of the anti-malware tool.Find Out More About SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool / How to Uninstall SpyHunter

Berta Bilbao

Berta is the Editor-in-Chief of SensorsTechForum. She is a dedicated malware researcher, dreaming for a more secure cyber space.

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