Since sometime last week (not sure of the exact day or date), I have been getting a number of spammers signing up to my network. From my early years on Ning, I never had a problem with spammers. Several months back, I started using CloudFlare to help keep it that way. I have now had to set my network for to approve members before they can join, since the numbers of spammers signing up were increasing.
What changed, you may ask? Why are these spammers suddenly attempting to join my network? They're using the mobile version if my site to join! Maybe a month ago, someone joined my network, but they had no profile pic despite that one is required to join. I mentioned it here, and Eric informed me that it's because this person signed up via mobile, bypassing the profile pic requirement. Every one of these spammers who have been trying to sign up have my default network profile pic, which tells me they're joining via the mobile version of my site.
I hope Ning can do something about this. I really hate having to approve members as I am the only admin at my site, and I feel it's a deterrent to new members. I've gone five years without ever having a spammer problem, and no here I am for the first time having to deal with this.
Below is a screenshot of a spammer's profile page, and you'll notice the simple responses and my old network icon.
I just noticed these spammers are also able to bypass one of my multiple choice questions. For the question "What Best Describes You?" I have several answers to choose from, yet these spammers have chosen none of them, and are able to insert "1" into the required field. This should not be possible!
Here goes another one that's tried to join since I posted this discussion. Notice the network icon is my old icon, clearly there are problems with the mobile site.
What I meant to ask is if there's any way to turn off the mobile site until something is done about this? Don't think I haven't been looking, I have.
Thanks for the info Patrick! I guess I don't have to worry about it since I never enabled a mobile version on my site. But I do have a question...how did you make it mandatory to upload a photo right off the bat?
Oh I didn't even think about the Questions that are asked upon joining. got it! Thanks!
You're welcome Donna.
Woah! I've been getting the same thing, just in the last couple of weeks. They've been selecting all of my question categories and entering "1" to the questions with answer fields. Although I'm usually quick to spot spammers, I was on vacation and a few crept through. I got complaints from my members and have switched to manual approval, which I wish I didn't have to do...
Sorry it's happening to you too, Kristy. Ning needs to do something about this, because these spammers are obviously exploiting the /m version of our networks.
Great update on the issue Patrick. Thanks!
You're welcome, Jords!
this is happening cross platform at a rate of 3 at a time. apparently someone has written a script which takes them to all ning network and automatically attempts to sign them up.. it's truly a very stupid way for some 13 year old to be wasting their time on....
TIPS: make sure you ask thoughtful questions for profiles. if they do not take the time to fill them in, they will never take the time to contribute to your network.
if you haven't enabled email verification, this is the time to do it.
Good tips. Just an aside -- email verification was enabled on my site, but the recent spammers still got through. Which is why I reverted to manual approval.
Indeed, Kristy. I have always had email verification and captcha in place. My security is tight, it's the mobile interface that is at fault here.