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Old   May 8, 2010, 19:15
Exclamation Forum Signature Spammers Deleted
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Peter Jones
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We've done some spam cleaning on the forums. If things are not working correctly or if we broke something please let us know.

A common forum spam is to register in a forum and add a signature with a link to a spam site. Nothing is posted and the reason people do this is to increase the number of links to the spam site. This increases the likelyhood of Google and other search engines to refer people to the spam site.

We have seen an increasing number of these signature spams here on the forums. Cleaning away this manually is now too much work and instead we will automatically clean away these spammers regularly.

Today I ran an SQL query to delete all users who have not posted anything but have a signature set. There were about 1,000 such users. 98% of these are spammers. 2% are probably legitimate users that have registered and added a signature, but haven't yet posted any messages. If you are one of the few legitimate users that we deleted please accept our apologies and please go ahead and register again.

We might also soon change the setup of our forum to not allow a signature to be set until a certain number of posts have been made.
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Old   May 11, 2010, 04:53
Default Spam net further tightened
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We continue to see an increased use of this form of signature spam from newly registered users. It doesn't hurt the forum very much in the short term to have a bunch of non-active users with spam links in their signatures. However, in the long term this is not good and we will continue to fight this spam very actively. If you are a new user please do not add a signature to your user the first thing you do. Post a few CFD related messages first. Otherwise you might get caught in our tightening spam prevention measures for signature spam. At first I couldn't really see the reason why people spent so much effort to register a user on CFD Online and all they did was to add a spam link to their signature without ever posting any messages. No real people, only web-robots, visit the pages of non-active users. Hence, no real users would see the spam links. I have learnt a bit more about why people do this now. Here is the story:

1. People register on legitimate sites like cfd-online.com and add a spam link to their user page or signature. By not posting any messages they avoid our normal spam prevention techniques.

2. Then they send out many thousands of spam emails containing the link to their user-page on cfd-online.com. Because cfd-online.com is not a spam related site most spam filters are not triggered by links to cfd-online and let the email through

3. A small fraction of the people receiving these spam emails containing links to a user-page on cfd-online will visit that page and there they will find the spam link. Hence, cfd-online.com is used as a middle-man to fool spam filters.

An additional benefit in adding a link to a spam site from a user-page on cfd-online.com is that that increases the number of links to the spam site. Search engines like Google rank sites based on how many other sites that link to it. Google's web-robots visit all user pages on a site like cfd-online.com. Hence, having links from a page on cfd-online.com increases Google's rank of the spam site.

This type of spam is very bad for cfd-online.com in the long term. Having spam links on our site and spam emails refering to pages on cfd-online.com will both hurt our Google ranking and increase the problem with spam-filters deleting our legitimate emails.

We will fight this spam very actively now. Some measures we will keep secret in order to not let the spammers know how to avoid them. Things we are doing are:
  1. Mass deletes of spam related posts and users
  2. Mass banning of spam related users
  3. Tags to make Google avoid visiting user pages
  4. Users have to prove that they are CFD users by posting a certain number of CFD related messages before they can add a signature or a link to their user profile
Some legitimate users might get caught in this tightened spam-net. We apologize for any problems we cause in fighting this spam. If you have problems or need our help please contact us directly on webmaster@cfd-online.com.
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Old   May 27, 2010, 05:55
Thumbs up SPAM net tightened and offenders banned and registered in SPAM databases
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The link and signature spamming continues, but I don't think that the forum is affected much by it now. We have developed a good procedure on how to handle this type of link spamming. We have installed a couple of new utilities to automatically find and remove this spam and ban the offending users. We have also developed a special tool which will submit the spam links and the IP numbers used to post the spam to various spam databases at Google and other places. Hence, the spammers are slowly hurting themselves by trying to spam our forums here

Our link-spam defense net is now so tight that there is a risk that we also catch a few innocent users in it. We are very sorry if you are an innocent user who has been caught in the spam net and have been banned from the forums as a spammer. Please feel free to contact us via an email to webmaster@cfd-online.com to sort things out.

To avoid this spam net please do not add any links to your profile (homepage, signature, etc.) or post links in your first posts to the forums. 95% of all new users who post links or have links in their profiles are spammers and will attract our attention directly. Only post links or add links to your profile when you have been a member of the forums for some time and have posted several CFD related messages and proved yourself as a CFD community member. Even then please be very restrictive with links to external sites.
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