We are all familiar with that category of spammers who join our networks and paste comments on members pages requesting them to email them at an email address included in the comment. They hate us NCs and our admins.
Well now they are using a new trick so that network administrators don't notice them. What they do now is visit members pages and click on Add as a friend and then include their messages in the friendship request. In this way a network administrator could be right there logged in while a network is been spammed.
I found this out yesterday on my network. The spammer signed up and cleverly set up a very neat profile with nothing suspicious. I was logged on. He / she had a short chat with me in the chat room then went quiet. I suspected something was going on. I refreshed my homepage several times but didn't see anything. Then I noticed members' profile pictures were rotating (This means someone is clicking on each one of them and doing something on their page which doesn't show up in the activity feed - and that thing is most likely to be requesting friendship)
So I turned on my network's watch dogs (two secret accounts I have) and there the spammer had requested friendship with the malicious message included. So by the time I kicked him / her out some damage had already been done.
So NCs, they are getting smarter. Get smarter too.
Now they are aware of the things that make them so obvious as they sign up. They don't use sexy pictures anymore, funny email addresses, etc. Now they come in looking clean, and less suspicious.
The best thing ever I can think of that can be done remains giving NCs the ability to set a limit to the kind of activities a new member can do within a set period of time on a network.
Thanks for sharing. I've suggested a Probationary User-Class that network creators could manage settings to, and that would essentially put up all new member activity up for approval by an admin. Obviously better if they never get in the door, and are permanently blocked, but the fact is they adapt and the consequences to the community's end-user experience are dire. Right now I require all prospective members to do an e-mail interview with me, but once the network gets rolling I imagine that will become increasingly untenable.
It's the only solution I find best for the moment. These spammer are real people living among us. They are not spam bots. In spite of all the sign up spam prevention techniques, they are able to get through.
The sign up quiz is one of the best things to do too but has it's own downside. Networks use a quiz with and answer a spammer can not guess but targeted potential members can easily guess but this is only suitable for networks that target locations or very closed niches. For a network like mine we are open to almost everyone and it is almost impossible to come up with such a quiz that spammers can't guess the answer.
Setting membership to approval is a good measure but has it's downside. It turns members off, discouraging them from coming back even when approved. It's hard work for the NC to sit all day and night waiting to approve new members.
Yes Spam will never be eliminated completely but probationary membership status is a better measure than all the measures Ning offers now for spam protection.
I've never had a spammer or spambot issue in my five years at Ning, but that's not to say a few haven't tried. Thanks to Phil at Ning, I've been using CloudFlare and have had no attampts since then.
+1 CloudFlare is the way to go!
CloudFlare - protecting against 13 year old skiddies since 2009.
LOL I like your description, Ron!
Yes it is, Jor!
Let me check out what is Cloudflare
I get the same thing. Cloudflare helps but doesn't stop all of them. I think it depends on how much traffic you get.
yeah I think so. I just signed up at cloudflare
Cloud flare requires us to change our DNS settings. Not sure about doing that.
I don't see why not, Denis.