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John Smith From Google - UTM Google Shopper - Creating false abandoned carts

ingramleedy
New Member
3 0 13

I am using Google Shopper to push our products from Shopify store into Google Shopper.  Google Shopper seems to have a bot that constantly crawls our products, adds an item to a cart, goes to check out and creates an account variant of "John Smith" - johnsmith+1222@gmail.com or some other number.    

 

Shopify doesn't track user-agent or IP address for abandoned orders. So I installed 3rd part apps to discover and found the IP addresses all belong to the Google IP allocation.  

 

It's frustrating as this is creating many abandoned carts which throw off the statistics and analytics for the site, creating accounts, kicks off automation scripts, etc, etc, etc.  

Does anyone else have this issue?   

-Ingram

 

 

Replies 103 (103)
Shawn_Bercuson
New Member
1 0 2

Yes! I've been experiencing the same thing. It's incredibly frustrating. I reported it to Shopify customer service and here is their response:

 

And with regards to John Smith, I spoke to my Team and because these orders are abandoned carts, there's nothing that is happening that is currently negatively harming your shop, but you could definitely look into blocking his IP address. I believe you'd be able to track his IP using Google Analytics and then use a tool like Traffic Guard to block or this app here seems to track & give the option to block as well, IP Log.

No very helpful. If you figure out a way to combat this, please let me know. 

 

Cesaru14
New Member
1 0 2
I have just got the same issue. This bot is creating abandoned checkouts everyday... Is getting me mad. Any solution found??
pakt2019
New Member
2 0 2

Any luck addressing this? We are having the same issue. 

seanphurley
New Member
2 0 8

What's the latest on this? I have a client for whom this is a material issue.

morebackpack
Tourist
3 0 9

I've got this too....anyone got any ideas what this is? Is is harmful?

James155
New Member
2 0 4

I have the same issue. Any update on this? This is really bad.

Skugoo
New Member
1 0 2
Same issue on my store. Anyone figured out how to deal with it yet?
Kyle_Russell1
Tourist
3 0 1

Yup, same problem here. For us it started on Nov 11, 2019 and since then we've gotten 206 abandoned carts from "John Smith", address 

 

John Smith

1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
mountain view CA 94043
United States
(650) 253-0000

 

which is the GooglePlex address and one of Google's support phone numbers and the email address is always some variation of:

 

johnsmithus65@gmail.com
johnsmithus20@gmail.com
johnsmith.us82@gmail.com
johnsmith.us5@gmail.com
john.smith.us50@gmail.com

 

Unfortunately, I don't think we as shop owners have any way to combat it without some back-end help from Shopify. I'd love to be wrong though so if anyone has a fix, I'm all ears!

morebackpack
Tourist
3 0 9

Come on Shopify! Look how many people are having this issue. Must be a way to block it.

rseabrook
Shopify Partner
17 0 13

All of the abandoned carts in Shopify are mildly annoying, but I don't think they are harming our store.

 

However, we use Klaviyo as our ESP. Every abandoned cart becomes a profile in Klaviyo and also receives an abandoned cart email sequence. This is causing harm in two ways:

  1. Klaviyo charges by the profile, so a bunch of junk profiles inflates our bill.
  2. Sending emails to un-monitored inboxes can hurt deliverability for our entire account.

Does anyone know WHY these abandoned carts are created? Is it legitimate Googlebot traffic? I have read that it could be Google automatically verifying that shipping costs in your store match what is submitted through Google Merchant Center.

LucyKMD
New Member
2 0 0

I'm having the same problem... started in November 2019 as well. Has ramped up dramatically in the last week. 

Michele_Carr
Excursionist
22 0 5

They definitely skew our statistics regarding abandoned carts and "Customer numbers". We have had trouble with this for the past year. Shopify will not help. They keep giving links to apps that do not address the problem.

Garry46
Tourist
8 0 5

alright, so my store has caught the john smith bug as well.Untitled-2.jpg
john-smith.jpggoogle.jpg
Despite his customer info all pointing towards google, this bot has nothing to do with google. 
I performed a reverse image search to see if I could trace it back to anything that might tell us anything about what's going on. I found some interesting results. 

First of all, surprise-surprise, that image was taken from an actual person that exists online and is probably completely unaware. I may pick up one of his books after this.
todd-harra.jpg
The interesting thing that I found was a quora.com user account associated with the same image as "john smith".
Untitled-5.jpg
This account responds to people on Quora about airline related things in order to promote its scam airline ticket site. I looked flightschannel up on bbb.org. There is an LLC filed, but the operation uses a forwarding address in Nevada as it's company address. Also, according to most reviews online, its a bait and switch scam with foreign accents. 
uh.jpgUntitled-6.jpg

Conclusion:
John Smith is not Google. If its the same scammers as flightschannel.com, the are probably working outside of the US despite my Shopify store not detecting a VPN. It is possible that the same AI is being used by different people, though. Either way, would appreciate a fix.


TylerAtSmithTea
New Member
2 0 3

Yes! This is the detective work we need.

Michele_Carr
Excursionist
22 0 5

Someone mentioned their Klaviyo account and customer numbers. We have Klaviyo as well. Although it is a pain, we can go in and remove all the John Smith customers.

 

Here is something I am wondering about however. How is this "person" getting to our stores? Is it possible that there is PPC fraud going on here?  a click or 2 to get to our store is one thing, but hundreds of clicks adds up to a chunk of change down the drain.

 

Is there a way to find out if these visits are coming to us through PPC?  If so, I would think Google would want to get involved in this.

Garry46
Tourist
8 0 5

I'm not sure if it's PPC fraud because they never arrive there from google. 
not-ppc.jpg

Michele_Carr
Excursionist
22 0 5
How can you tell if they arrive there from Google?
Garry46
Tourist
8 0 5

According to Lucky Orange they arrived there from "direct link", whereas others such as the non-john-smith examples in that screenshot arrived via google ppc.

AutoParts
Tourist
3 0 3

It's not fraud. It is a Google shopping. What they are doing is testing that your shipping rates match what is in your google shopping feed. 

 

the reasons they do this is some unscrupulous companies will put free shipping in their shopping feed, to make them rank higher in google shopping but in actuality charge customers for shipping. 

 

Once Google catches them doing this they block the products or the entire feed from google shopping. 

 

The "John Smith"  bot is adding parts to your cart to see your shipping charges. There is no other way to know the actual charges that a customer would pay.