Web Site Spam

Spam has become more and more tiresome, as your web site grows and attracts visitors it will attract people that want to fill it with spam posts, linking back to anything they are selling, fake Ugg boots, viagra etc… Some sites are so over run by robot spiders trying posting spam that they get little satisfaction from running a web site.

We often get asked by people how to stop or prevent spam to their web sites, the first thing that you need to understand is that web site spam, like email spam is not usually carried out manually, spammers use spiders and robots to attack 1,000’s of web sites at the same time, this is an automated system that is trained to look at web sites and find forms they can fill in to post spam to your web site.

Web site spam comes in many forms:

Contact forms: Web sites used to advertise an email address as a way for visitors to contact web site owners, unfortunately the spammers started to harvest and collect the email addresses to send email spam, most web sites now have a contact us page with a form that can be filled in to send you a message, this hides your email address from spammers but does not stop them filling in the form and contacting you with offers that you really do not want.

Forums: These are a big target for spammers, they create posts that link back to web sites they promote, the spam post is usually unrelated to the forum, is poorly written and rarely makes any sense.  One or two of these you can live with and delete manually, but it does not stop at this, your web site will get attacked by these spammers over and over again

Blog comments: Much the same as forums, when you create a blog post on your web site it is great to hear other peoples views and comments, genuine replies are welcome, but I have seen web sites with 100’s of comments that do not relate to the subject, they are all about the spam

One of my earliest experience of this was a forum web site I ran that was being attacked so badly by spam spiders, no sooner had I deleted the posts than more appeared, it got so out of hand that I took the web site off line whilst I tried to work out what to do. Since then I have carried out various tests on web sites, one one such test a web site that I left unprotected had an average of more than 1,000 spam comment posts in an hour.

Nowadays there are many things you can do to protect your web site from spam, Captcha is one that most people will have come across, before being able to post on a web site you have to decrypt a badly written word that you can hardly read, this can be most frustrating for your visitors, some I have found are so bad I just give up and leave the site. Others I have found to be fun, interactive puzzles that you have to solve before you can post.

Other forms of spam prevention are working behind the scenes, they are remote services that collect data from 1,000’s of web sites, your web site then checks the database before allowing a visitor to post to your web site, the whole process happens in milliseconds and goes undetected by the your visitor.

Web Site SpamOne such system that is used by many people is Askimet and is free to use for personal, non-commercial sites and blogs, they stop an average of about 7.5 million spam posts per hour and you will see from the image how good it works.

The stats you see are from Highbury House, an Arsenal News site that we redesigned and host on our own servers. The worst month Akimet recorded was in October 2014 when it stopped 69,342 posts in one month, an average of 2,236 spam posts per day. The web site was moved to our server in November and the spam attempts dropped to 2,540 and further reduced to just 717 in December.

Why did the amount of spam attempts drop so suddenly? Did Askimet fail to do its job properly?

No, Askimet is a great tool for stopping spam, but we have a better one, Askimet can only prevent visitors to your site from posting spam, the technology we use on our servers stops them reaching your web site, it works much the same as Askimet.

In March of this year we moved servers and worked on the server technology tweaking some setting, whilst we did this Askimet, once again, was there to save the day, preventing 48,458 spam posts in April. The new spam technology was installed to all servers in May, you can see the results for June, July and August.

Whilst spam is bad for you, ham is good, ham is the amount of good posts to your web site, this shows the amount of visitors interacting and posting good comments / contributions to your web site. The philosophy behind Highbury House is that it is a place “Where it is ok to disagree”

If you want to spend more time enjoying your web site and less time worrying about protecting it from spammers Contact Us today

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