Introduction to Fighting Spam (AntiSpam)
Why do you get spammed?
Comment spam is a plague on all blogs, forums and generally all websites that allow user generated content.
Why is that?
Spammers are actually professionals hired to do just that! What they try to achieve is to place a link to their own website (or the website of their client) in some place of your website. They may use robots to spam you automatically, or they may use Indians paid $1/hour to spam you manually all day long.
Why is that?
Because if Google indexes and trusts your site and sees a link from your site to their site, Google will start to trust their site. And if they do this on one million different blogs and forums and sites, then Google may start to trust their site one million times more.
Ok, Google isn’t actually that stupid but spammers believe it. The discussion about whether or not comment spamming is an effective technique is a whole topic on itself…
Let’s concentrate on countering the nuisance of those spammers instead.
What to do about it?
Basically the mindset you need to have to effectively counter spammers is the following:
- Make your site LESS attractive for spammers
- Make your site MORE difficult to spam for robots
- Make your site MORE difficult to spam for humans
- Make it faster for you to remove spam than for spammers to create spam
Each new version of b2evolution includes new techniques under the hood to make it harder for spammers and new features for you to fight spam efficiently. So you should always upgrade to newer versions of b2evolution to stay on the cutting edge of antispam.
How to make your site LESS attractive
NEVER publish user generated content automatically. Always let comments go to draft or community status first and only publish legitimate comments. That way Google will never see the spam and spam professionals will never put you on an "A-list" of sites to spam.
You will notice for example, that in the b2evolution forums, everything you post has a "community" banner until a moderator decides it’s not spam, at which time it becomes public. If you log out, you cannot see anything that is in "community" status. (Google is always logged out ;)
How to make your site MORE difficult to spam for robots
Turn off trackback. It’s that simple. And never turn it back on.
Trackback is actually so efficient for spammers that you could think it has been designed by spammers!
For the rest, use the latest versions of b2evolution. They really are a PITA for spambots ;)
How to make your site MORE difficult to spam for human spammers
You could use CAPTCHA plugins for this but the drawback is that they actually cause more pain to real users than to spammers who are paid to crack CAPTCHAs all day long.
We don’t recommend CAPTCHAs.
How to be efficient at moderating spam ?
b2evolution v5 has efficient antispam features like:
- Remove SPAM comments with 1 single click in the dashboard (comments are in the recycle bin in case of a wrong click)
- Delete a spammer user which will delete all his posts & comments in a single swoop.
- In case you already have hundreds of thousands of spam comments, there is also a last resort tool to "declare spam bankruptcy" and get rid of it all in a single swoop…
(more to come)