Is commercial posting really commercial? 
Posted: 23 July 2011 02:47 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Seriously. How many people, coming on to their favourite board for a good invigorating row about street signage languages in New York or what to call a 17th-century savant, will stop in their tracks and say “Buy a golfing trolley! Yes! That’s what I really want to do right now!”?

Is it really worth doing? Presumably yes, since they do it; but it does seem strange.

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Posted: 23 July 2011 03:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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It’s completely automated. The spammers are bots that just find message boards and fill them with crap in the knowledge that they will get perhaps one click out of every ten thousand that see the post; which since it is completely automated is worthwhile to them. They us some crude word-recognition criteria, but there isn’t much “intelligence” in what they’re doing.

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Posted: 23 July 2011 04:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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The spammers aren’t expecting people to read it (although it’s an added bonus if they do). It’s all to do with the arcane mysteries of Google search ranking. The more places on the net that the spammers have a presence, however tenuous, the weightier their Google ranking. Sometimes they don’t even submit a post to a forum, simply register and bury themselves away in the Profile. It still does the trick.

Curse them to hell, they’ve been so obtrusive over the last couple of days. I know Dave is valiant and tireless in cleaning the board but when they take over the whole front page of the forum for a few hours, as they have done today, one worries about people who come to the board when it’s like that, take one look and don’t come back.

I know there’s no perfect solution but a couple of suggestions (apologies, Dave, if you’ve already looked into these). First, while spambots apparently find captchas no problem at all to get past, reCaptcha has reportedly been successful in cutting down the volume of forum spam. Alternatively some swear by mathematical equations or logical fields added to registration, another barrier which spambots find difficult to surmount.

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Posted: 23 July 2011 04:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I’m going to upgrade the software underlying the site, in the hope that this will upgrade the captcha protocol and block some of the spammers. But finding the time to do it is an issue.

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Posted: 23 July 2011 10:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I understand the time constraint Dave mentions.  The spam is annoying but I easily work around it. 

The software, “vBulletin” is used on several sites I contribute to.  I rarely see spam on these sites; in fact, I cannot recall ever having seem the sort of spam on those sites that I see here.  I thought it might have something to do with not instantly deleting spammer’s accounts, but that’s just a WAG. 

Happydog might have some useful input on this issue… Perhaps better discussed in a PM, than accessible for all to see…

The value of this site to me and the enjoyment of the comradery here far outweighs the annoyance of the spam.  I will continue to work around it.

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Posted: 23 July 2011 01:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I’m also constrained by what’s offered in the Expression Engine software.

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Posted: 24 July 2011 12:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Dave is right, of course, most forum spam is automated and even Captcha isn’t much of a problem when you can buy 10K captcha solutions for less than $20. Yes, you can pay people twenty bucks to solve ten thousand captcha challenges for you. Oh that’s retail price for just anybody. The really big players pay far less. And yes, we are talking about cyber sweat-shops. You’d be surprised at how much of this goes on. Hell, the going rate for a 350 word original article written in English on the topic of your choice is like $4… retail. Even Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (which is at the high end of the spectrum) offers ridiculous deals on some stuff. Lots of hungry people sitting at computers these days.

It’s pure math. You know how much it costs you to spam, you know what sort of click-through rate you’re going to get (spam has a long track record and the stats are good), you know how much you’re going to make on each sale, and so if you know what you’re doing at all, then you know before you even start the campaign how much it is going to make. There are a lot of idiots out there who don’t really know what they’re doing, they’re just taking a shot, but the pros do it right and they make very serious money.

Even universally hated Viagra spam gets a .02% click-through and porn spam can be as high as 5% click-through. Spam pays. As you say, if it didn’t pay, it would go away.

I’ve seen a few spam posts here that were obvious attempts to get a decent back link, but the days of spamming to rank are over and only the idiots still do it. The real pros aren’t trying to rank on Google because they’re operating outside of Google. All of their traffic comes directly from the links in their spam.

Also, some of the software used by these guys shares information. Once a post gets through and can be verified (for even a short time) then you become a prime target.

Personally, I’m not annoyed by spam. I know how and why it exists and I simply tune it out. Pogo was right… We have seen the enemy, and he is us.

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