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A new surge of referrer spam is damaging Google Analytics data sets. These attacks have rendered the Traffic Referrals report useless for many Google Analytics properties. The problem can even be so significant for small business sites that it seriously distorts the number of sessions and page views. In the following example, lines 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 are all spam.
In 1994, the Robot Exclusion Protocol was established as a voluntary system for webmasters to control which robots could access which pages of a website. In a nutshell, under the system, robots such as Googlebot announce themselves to Web servers and download a file, robots.txt, that says which pages are allowed and not allowed to be crawled.
Last week’s rising anxiety for digital marketers was the release of Apple’s iOS 9 with ad-blocking technology. In “Welcome to hell: Apple vs. Google vs. Facebook and the slow death of the Web,” Nilay Patel, editor-in-chief of The Verge, worries that ad blocking is going to kill small publishers and leave the Web a fragmented set of proprietary silos controlled by big tech companies.