Topic: I need your input.

As you know we get our fair share of spammers (or more precisely, spamdexers) on our site. 

They're coming in to post a link (or links) and some quick references to their site in order for Google, Yahoo and Bing to rank them higher in internet searches. 

I hate it.  I call them out on Twitter, and I've even written the companies that are hiring these unethical "SEO" Companies.  I've hard-coded lines of programming into our message boards so that links won't be followed by search engines.  No matter what I do, it doesn't work.

We're getting about 10 new registrations per day, usually 9 of them are bogus.  On the weekends, the numbers double and even triple that and nearly all of them are bogus. 

For the last couple weeks, I've actually been closing our site to new registrations overnight.  It's worked for the most part, but they still sneak in during the day.

I'd like to require new registrations to be approved by an actual person before they can post on our site.  We'll catch 98% of spammers this way.  It will lead to less spam, better search results for us and maybe even the comeback of the unicorn.  (ok, maybe not unicorns, but more rainbows?  you bet.) 

The down side?  It may delay registration by as little as a few minutes and up to a few hours.  Many other forums have gone this route, and it might just be our solution.

What do you think?  Would this delay negatively affect new registrants, to the point where they don't even bother to register?

P.S. While I was actually typing this, two spammers registered.  Full Lace Wigs and Goose Down Jackets.  It's getting ridiculous.

Re: I need your input.

Rick.....thanks for putting this out for everyone to see and to be able to respond to.

In the long run all of us will benefit from a smoothly running forum.  You have provided us with the greatest tool for communication and education and in my opinion if something seems right to you then it is right for me also.  The approval process seems to be a good choice.

We can help you by periodically posting a reminder to those contemplating membership of this forum by encouraging each prospective member to please be patient during the process of approval.  It is to the benefit of all.

Again thanks Rick, for putting this out.
Marion

THIS INFORMATION IS NOT INTENDED NOR IMPLIED TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE. YOU SHOULD ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF YOUR PHYSICIAN OR OTHER QUALIFIED HEALTH CARE PROVIDER

Re: I need your input.

Thank you, Rick.  I see your "name-&-shame" on Twitter & am shocked at how many there are.  Whatever you think will help would be totally fine by me.

When I joined in August '09, I was desperate for help & I've been wondering if a slightly delayed registration would have deterred me.  I actually don't think it would, if the reason were made as clearly as you've just expressed it.

I hate spammers.  It truly offends me that Boards like this are used so manipulatively.

Thank you for all you do for us. For my part, please keep doing whatever you think will help.

Best regards
Julia

“When it is dark enough, you can see the stars." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Re: I need your input.

Hii Rick, I agree with all. When registering is there a way to say that the registration may take a couple of hours and to please be patient. We are so unique and much needed I don't think anyone would mind a short wait. Thanks for all you do!

Teddy ~In our hearts forever~ATTITUDE is EVERYTHING
Any suggestion I offer is intended as friendly advice based solely on my own experience. Please consult your doctor for professional guidance.

Re: I need your input.

Hi Rick,

Thanks for bringing this issue onto the boards here. I know that the work that you do for us all here with the spammers is so important and we are all so grateful to you for all of your efforts here. Plus I read all of your arguements with the SEO companies on Twitter and RT when you find the source of the spam. But it seems like publicly shaming these people does not work, hardly surprisng I guess as they have zero morals.

What is the legal situation regarding spamming and breaking the terms and conditions when a poster joins a site? EG - If it is written into the terms and conditions that a poster must not spam etc then maybe a threatening legal letter to some of these SEO companies would help? I note the reply on Twitter that one of them gave you very recently saying that they are sorry and they will try and get them to stop, but that you have to deal with it at your end. Surely if a spammer is representing one of these SEO comps then the onus is on the SEO comp to stop that person spamming on it's behalf? Trying to wriggle out of it by saying it is your responsibility to block them sounds ridiculous to me. Sorry if I'm waffling here or if that would not be possible, just thinking out loud.

As to your suggestion requiring new members to have their regestration approved by an actual person, I like that idea a lot. If a new member is genuine them I'm sure that they will have no problem with waiting a very short amount of time before their registration is activated and approved, I know that that short delay would not have put me off at all from joining here. What I would add though is maybe on the registration page there could be a message explaining that all new registrations will be approved by an actual person, say how long it should take etc and explain why you have to do this. I wouldn't have thought that all of this will put off any genuine people, after all, everyone hates spam.

If I can help in any way Rick just ask. Thanks so much for all that you do for us, we couldn't do it with out you.

Gavin

Any advice or comments I give are based on personal experiences and knowledge and are my opinions only, they are not to be substituted for professional medical advice. Please seek professional advice from a qualified doctor or medical professional.

Re: I need your input.

@Lainy, yes, we'd mention to new registrants that there will be a short delay.

@Gavin, that's the problem.  These SEO "companies" have Pakistani, Iranian and Indian IP addresses.  They read the forum rules like I read my 62 page iTunes agreement.  (which is not at all, they skip to the bottom and hit "Accept")  Legal proceedings are near impossible.  Shaming the individuals that hire them are my best bet.  That guy in New Zealand that told me I need to stop them at the site?  What a joke.  It's like he's telling me I need to put up a fence around my yard because his dog keeps digging holes in it. 

@all, thanks for the input.  I appreciate it.

Re: I need your input.

Hi Rick,

I thought that might be the case with the IP addresses and reading of the rules etc. Well as long as you keep outing and shaming them on Twitter then I'll keep RT'ing them as well then.

Thanks Rick,

Gavin

Any advice or comments I give are based on personal experiences and knowledge and are my opinions only, they are not to be substituted for professional medical advice. Please seek professional advice from a qualified doctor or medical professional.

Re: I need your input.

Thanks everyone.  We're going to give it a go.

Re: I need your input.

GO-RICK-GO!!! Show all those -------we are a force to reckon with and may the
Cyber Force be with you!

Teddy ~In our hearts forever~ATTITUDE is EVERYTHING
Any suggestion I offer is intended as friendly advice based solely on my own experience. Please consult your doctor for professional guidance.

Re: I need your input.

Well, it stopped 5 spammers last night and who knows how many didn't even sign up when they saw a different "Registration" page.

So, all in all, it seems to be working. Ah, finally.

Re: I need your input.

Great to hear, Rick.  You needed the break.

THIS INFORMATION IS NOT INTENDED NOR IMPLIED TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE. YOU SHOULD ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF YOUR PHYSICIAN OR OTHER QUALIFIED HEALTH CARE PROVIDER

Re: I need your input.

Where there is a will and a way there is Rick!!!!! And we are glad about that!

Teddy ~In our hearts forever~ATTITUDE is EVERYTHING
Any suggestion I offer is intended as friendly advice based solely on my own experience. Please consult your doctor for professional guidance.

Re: I need your input.

Great news Rick!!!

Any advice or comments I give are based on personal experiences and knowledge and are my opinions only, they are not to be substituted for professional medical advice. Please seek professional advice from a qualified doctor or medical professional.

Re: I need your input.

Marvellous!!  Thanks, Rick big_smile

“When it is dark enough, you can see the stars." - Ralph Waldo Emerson