Preventing and Stopping Spam

stoping spam

It’s impossible.

Just give up.

OK, not really.

But it is difficult – spammers have become far more adept at slipping spam into your mailbox, on your blog, into your forum, on Facebook, on Twitter, on MySpace…

There is rarely anywhere you can go on the Internet that is immune from the threat of spam.

Different Types of Spam

Emailed Spam

According to spamlaws.com, emailed spam accounts for 14.5 billion messages globally per day, or roughly 45% of all emails sent. Of that spam:

The most prevalent type of spam is advertising-related email; this type of spam accounts for approximately 36% of all spam messages. The second most common category of spam is adult-related in subject and makes up roughly 31.7% of all spam. Unwanted emails related to financial matters is the third most popular form of spam, at 26.5%.

Surprisingly, scams and fraud comprise only 2.5% of all spam email; however, identity theft (which is known as phishing) makes up 73% of this figure.

While an emailed virus can also fall into this category, its purpose is usually different than “spam” email, which is usually designed to extract money from you directly in some way.

Comment Spam

Comment spam generally relates to blogs, and generally involve bots that seek out commenting systems for blogs and posts random general observation with copious sucking up like:

Thank you for the post! It was very informative and I agree completely! Keep posting your posts are really cool! I will keep reading!

that are too general to singly apply to a post, but play on everyone’s need to have people think the stuff they write is completely and totally fabulous giving it far more of a chance to get through.

While a lot of these posts are automated, there are known places in some countries (cough China cough) where people sit around manually and spread these comments around. While the comment itself would seem kind of silly but not contain anything particularly nefarious, if you look at the link to their web site you’ll usually find it’s some version of some spammy site trying to sell you something, or an affiliate link.

While it’s purpose is not designed to sell you, the blog owner, something, it is designed to get a link on your blog to manipulate the target URL’s indexing rankings. This is also called Spamdexing.

Forum Spam

Forum Spam is pretty closely kin to Comment Spam, though forum spamming can take a few different routes. One is the standard nonsensical forum post with the link to the spamvertised web site in the signature that we went over in the Comment Spam section.

Another version is someone that signs up for a forum until they have 10 nonsensical posts (the 10 threshold seemingly the common number that most forum owners pick) and then they PM all the subscribers with their spamvertising – if they do this in a vast, mad rush and your forum emails out these messages to your subscribers, this can get your site dinged by your host for spamming due to the fact that

  1. It’s spam being sent via email
  2. It’s being sent from your site.
  3. The URL contained in the message may already be on an RBL, so it can still get the server RBLed for spamming.

so this type can turn into something particularly damaging.

Social Media Spam

Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and the like are not immune to spammers, and while this type of spam doesn’t generally present any direct threat to your site unless its malware or a virus that they are trying to infect you with, it can be incredibly annoying.

And worse, there are some things you can do that will get you pegged as a Twitter spammer whether accidentally, or on purpose, so we’re going to go over that, too.

So, yes, we now have a spam series

It would be nice if spamming was so rare that one post could cover all of it in depth, but unfortunately, that’s just not the case.

Over the next few posts, we’ll take each type of spam and look at it a little more in depth, as well as give you some tricks and tips regarding handling it its influx and how to make sure that in marketing your site, you’re not responsible for an outflux.

One Response to Preventing and Stopping Spam

  1. Alesia Matson says:
    June 21, 2010 at 4:38 pm.

    Wow! I'm famous!

    Or maybe infamous, depending on how sick everyone else is of the subject. :)

    I may be sick of span, but not of learning about new ways to circumvent it in my email and on my sites, so rock on Jen! I'll be reading along avidly.

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