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The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread

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Elfmama:
While I'm not a mod on this forum, I am on two smaller fora.  Like most mods, I nail my share of spammers.  And at least 7 times out of 10, the spammer begins by resurrecting an ancient thread and posting a null-content message, usually in broken English. "This are very intersteing.  I think so too." The links they're spamming for are usually in their signature block, although I've seen much sneakier ways.  Quoting an old response and putting a link there instead of their reply, or hiding a link inside the coding for a smiley.

OK, the broken English and null-content I understand.  They probably don't speak English well, much less fluently.  But why in the name of little green apples do they resurrect an old thread instead of posting in active threads where they're more likely to slide past unnoticed by the mods?  ???   And why hide a link in such a way that one actually has to hunt for it, thus ensuring that almost no one but the mod will see it?

Slartibartfast:

--- Quote from: Elfmama on September 28, 2013, 06:24:04 PM ---While I'm not a mod on this forum, I am on two smaller fora.  Like most mods, I nail my share of spammers.  And at least 7 times out of 10, the spammer begins by resurrecting an ancient thread and posting a null-content message, usually in broken English. "This are very intersteing.  I think so too." The links they're spamming for are usually in their signature block, although I've seen much sneakier ways.  Quoting an old response and putting a link there instead of their reply, or hiding a link inside the coding for a smiley.

OK, the broken English and null-content I understand.  They probably don't speak English well, much less fluently.  But why in the name of little green apples do they resurrect an old thread instead of posting in active threads where they're more likely to slide past unnoticed by the mods?  ???   And why hide a link in such a way that one actually has to hunt for it, thus ensuring that almost no one but the mod will see it?

--- End quote ---

My guesses:

1) If they're picking a thread at random from an external source (e.g. Google), and the forum has an extensive archive, they're a lot more likely to hit an older thread than a new one.

2) Hiding the link doesn't help for getting people to click it directly, but Google pagerank is directly influenced by how many unrelated places on the web link to your website.  So if you can sneak into old threads on a hundred different forums and stick a link to your website somewhere the mods won't delete it, Google thinks a hundred different people have all linked to your website and will put you higher in the search rankings.  If you're trying to sell "V1AGRA!!!" or herbal supplements or guaranteed stock tips, there are millions of other sites out there doing the same - and chances are a casual searcher isn't going to scroll through 2500 pages of results to find your site.  If you can carpetbomb enough other sites with links, though, you might be able to break into the top page or two for a handful of useful search terms and greatly increase your web traffic.

3) The broken English thing - that's because "sit and post spam comments all day for a penny apiece" is really a viable job in some parts of China and India.  Which says something about the local economies.

Liliane:

--- Quote from: Slartibartfast on September 28, 2013, 09:57:31 PM ---
--- Quote from: Elfmama on September 28, 2013, 06:24:04 PM ---While I'm not a mod on this forum, I am on two smaller fora.  Like most mods, I nail my share of spammers.  And at least 7 times out of 10, the spammer begins by resurrecting an ancient thread and posting a null-content message, usually in broken English. "This are very intersteing.  I think so too." The links they're spamming for are usually in their signature block, although I've seen much sneakier ways.  Quoting an old response and putting a link there instead of their reply, or hiding a link inside the coding for a smiley.

OK, the broken English and null-content I understand.  They probably don't speak English well, much less fluently.  But why in the name of little green apples do they resurrect an old thread instead of posting in active threads where they're more likely to slide past unnoticed by the mods?  ???   And why hide a link in such a way that one actually has to hunt for it, thus ensuring that almost no one but the mod will see it?

--- End quote ---

My guesses:

1) If they're picking a thread at random from an external source (e.g. Google), and the forum has an extensive archive, they're a lot more likely to hit an older thread than a new one.

2) Hiding the link doesn't help for getting people to click it directly, but Google pagerank is directly influenced by how many unrelated places on the web link to your website.  So if you can sneak into old threads on a hundred different forums and stick a link to your website somewhere the mods won't delete it, Google thinks a hundred different people have all linked to your website and will put you higher in the search rankings.  If you're trying to sell "V1AGRA!!!" or herbal supplements or guaranteed stock tips, there are millions of other sites out there doing the same - and chances are a casual searcher isn't going to scroll through 2500 pages of results to find your site.  If you can carpetbomb enough other sites with links, though, you might be able to break into the top page or two for a handful of useful search terms and greatly increase your web traffic.

3) The broken English thing - that's because "sit and post spam comments all day for a penny apiece" is really a viable job in some parts of China and India.  Which says something about the local economies.

--- End quote ---

It could also not be actual people at all, but spambots. While I've never moderated fora, I've been the moderator for several chats and we got a lot of spambots in there. If it'd been actual people it would have been much easier to take care of, but we ended up having to apply blanket bans. Any users in the countries (yes, it was entire countries!) that got blanket banned were SOL...

ladyknight1:
Yes, I have some very old posts on a food related forum, and am now getting replies to my posts from 5+ years ago. Spam all the way.

Elfmama:
I didn't know that about the Google pageranks, thanks! :)  That does make sense.  And one of the forum owners is seriously considering blanket banning of whole countries, because we have no members at this time from those countries.  Pakistan and China, but for some reason not India (yet.)  At the moment we're having fun poking at them.  "JoeSmith, that's a very interesting screen-name for someone from China/Pakistan.  Is there a reason that you chose it?"

The other one won't do blanket banning, because they do get a lot of legitimate traffic from India and Pakistan.

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