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Question: How to tackle SPAM with SMF?

Category: Tips and Tricks

1) What is "spam"?

Spam is the abuse of electronic messaging systems (including most broadcast media, digital delivery systems) to send unsolicited bulk messages indiscriminately. While the most widely recognized form of spam is e-mail spam, the term is applied to similar abuses in other media: instant messaging spam, Usenet newsgroup spam, Web search engine spam, spam in blogs, wiki spam, online classified ads spam, mobile phone messaging spam, Internet forum spam, junk fax transmissions, social networking spam, television advertising and file sharing network spam.

Spamming remains economically viable because advertisers have no operating costs beyond the management of their mailing lists, and it is difficult to hold senders accountable for their mass mailings. Because the barrier to entry is so low, spammers are numerous, and the volume of unsolicited mail has become very high. The costs, such as lost productivity and fraud, are borne by the public and by Internet service providers, which have been forced to add extra capacity to cope with the deluge. Spamming is universally reviled, and has been the subject of legislation in many jurisdictions.

People who create electronic spam are called spammers.


2) Forum spam

Forum spam is the creating of messages that are advertisements, abusive, or otherwise unwanted on Internet forums. It is generally done by automated spambots. Recent trends shows increasing number of human spammers.

Most forum spam consists of links to external sites, with the dual goals of increasing search engine visibility in highly competitive areas such as weight loss, pharmaceuticals, gambling, pornography, real estate or loans, and generating more traffic for these commercial websites. Some of these links contain code to track the spambot's identity if a sale goes through, when the spammer behind the spambot works on commission.

Spam posts may contain anything from a single link, to dozens of links. Text content is minimal, usually innocuous and unrelated to the forum's topic, or in a very old thread that is revived by the spammer solely for the purpose of spamming links. Some text is included to prevent the post being caught by automated spam filters that prevent posts which consist solely of external links from being submitted. Full banner advertisements have also been reported.

Alternately, the spam links are posted in the user's signature, in which case the spambot will never post. The link sits quietly in the signature field, where it is more likely to be harvested by search engine spiders than discovered by forum administrators and moderators. Some forum engines, including SMF, offers their users possibility to add a link under their avatar. This may also be used, and usually information hidden in this field is very unlikely to be spotted by administration.



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