For Site Owners: How Spammers Work, & Why They Target Sites that Don’t Always Appear to Match Their Target Demographic
Ever wondered why spammers are so persistent in joining & posting messages in your blog/forum/community, even if their products/services have nothing to do with YOUR site’s subject matter, or the demographic that frequents your site? Why are they even there, and why won’t they go away?
Truth is, these flea marketers are NOT targetting you or your members. They are targetting the search engines which crawl your blog / forum / community. They want their links to be picked up by these automated spiders, to achieve a search engine ranking of their own. They are trying to hitchhike on your site’s existing popularity with the search engines, to get their spam sites listed. Even if your moderators are diligent in pruning these messages and banning these guys, they have already achieved their objective.
These spamming companies often hire low-cost labor to sign up & post messages. So the guys who post these unwanted messages are more likely to be hired hands than the spamcorp boss. They are very unlikely to be familiar with the subject matter of your blog / forum / community, so their posts are either blatant spam, or vague generic messages where they put their spam link in the URL field.
Now that we are clear about their intentions & modus operandi, we have a better idea of how to stop them. The “anti-spam question” on your site’s sign-up form should be something your site’s target demographic will be familiar with, yet is NOT easy to google for. If the spammer can’t even get past these questions, they can’t even register successfully! (Therefore, you should NEVER allow unregistered users to post.)
Of course, if they are dead persistent in infiltrating your site, it is still possible for them to painstakingly find the answer and register successfully. If your question gets compromised, quickly replace it with a new one. It’s best to stop spammers dead in their tracks at the REGISTRATION phase, so they can’t do any further damage, while you and your moderators can rest easy.
– AH (Nov 8 2012)