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Professional Forum Spammers
Going up / down / or sideways?

 6:00 pm on Nov 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

Couple of recent posts I've seen made me wonder about this age old topic and how it's playing out at WW nowdays.

I even had an old thread bookmarked.

Professional Forum Spammers [webmasterworld.com]

So is this "stuff" on the rise here, going down, or just treading water?



 6:17 pm on Nov 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

IMO same as it always was .."drive by" spam at weird hours and in fora where they know the mod isn't around at that time is always there, first time posters who never read TOS and post their domains, is also always there, those who forget ( or don't read TOS and post code dumps with their domain is still around ) with a slight increase in those touting for SEO and article writing.. as in "I'm an SEO specialist and / or I have extensive article writing guest blogging experience and in my opinion" being mentioned in the first 100 posts from the same member ( resumé posts is how I think of them ..or trying to be subtle "sig" posts )...They used to be less frequent back in the days when you couldn't sign up with what was obviously your business name or site name as your "nic" here..

That would be IMO a good rule to begin enforcing again..would cut back on a lot of the "instant experts" ..

The "good post thankyou for sharing/ inforation" type posts that come in from some countries ..tend to attract the pro forum spammers from nearer to "home" as well..

The social media threads especially get a lot of those..

I read almost every thread here in each forum, every day..and I keep odd hours..and may drop in many times per day, I have one machine that has WebmasterWorld "active threads" page running as it's home page..and I leave it open ..so I see a lot of spam that doesn't "last"..;)


 6:53 pm on Nov 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

Unprofessional North American Forum Spammers
There is a so-called white hat SEO site that recommends people visit forums and give answers to questions with "helpful" links back to their own site. They call it a "win-win" situation because the web publisher is answering questions and getting a link out of it. Needless to say there are a legion of North American mom and pops who follow that advice and having it backfire. I don't blame that site for all those spammers, but Unprofessional North American Forum Spammers have increased in the past year or so. Virtually none of them are interested in relationship building, brand building, or goodwill building. They are in it for the drive-by link.

Professional Forum Spammers
From what I see, a significant number are white label workers. They are hired by web designers/SEO practioners in North America and the UK to post to forums to promote small businesses who are likely paying peanuts. I have called several of the small businesses and they were shocked at what was being done to promote their businesses. I have spoken with some of the web designers and they have either been been clueless or without scruple.

The interesting and sad part is that there is no money in spamming forums for links because the bottom fell out of that method. You hardly see professionals spamming on their own behalf because it doesn't work anymore. The money is in duping small business owners with the technique.

They spam at odd hours of the night because that's the working hours in the country of origin, not for any strategic reason. Some of these spammers are pretty good at what they do. I won't go into tactics though.

I have banned a wide range of IP addys so for me professional forum spamming has been going down while unprofessional North American forum spamming has been holding steady.

[edited by: martinibuster at 8:00 pm (utc) on Nov 3, 2012]


 7:23 pm on Nov 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'd agree with all of the above ..except this part
They spam at odd hours of the night because that's the working hours in the country of origin, not for any strategic reason.

in relation to here at WebmasterWorld..there is one forum ( not yours:) where I see the spammers hit it, and only it, between 4 am and 7 to 7.30 am Paris time..
the particular mods are both ( I think ? ) in the USA asleep at that time ...

The spam relates precisely to that forum..they don't spam any other forum here..

However at that time of "night/day".. I'm around quite often ..as are Bill and Incredibill, and Tedster..so it doesn't last long ..but they still hit that forum almost daily,and only that one, always in the same time window, always very relevant spam to that forum..
always with "sign up links"..

If I'm working on something on another machine, I leave the active threads tab open and an aubible "pinger" on this box, when a new post is made here, soft chime goes off.. ( also does it when the "ads" at top right change )..when it pings that time in the morning..50% of the time..it's a spam post of a "sign up" type in that particular forum....agreed.. they are usually foreign ( or have slightly "disjointed English" )..but usually ( 99% of the time, as is most spam ) spamming for USA or far less often UK based businesses..


 11:33 pm on Nov 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

back in the days when you couldn't sign up with what was obviously your business name or site name as your "nic" here

Funny you should say that, because at least half the posts that send me in search of a moderator have {name of brand-new user} == {name of linked site}. So that's where I'd put the block. Obviously you can get around it, but your average {malfeasant of any type} is no more intelligent than they need to be. Why make it easy for them? :)


 11:58 pm on Nov 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

My comments above are about forum spammers outside of this forum, not specific to this forum. :P


 12:54 am on Nov 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

Yes, I know. And then they come over here and proudly report that as part of their initial SEO they've posted links in every possible relevant forum so what are they doing wrong? :)

But is is fun when you can tell just from the title of a post what it's going to be, and by the time you get to it in your cascade of open tabs it's no longer there. "Oh, good, I'm not the only person awake at 3AM".


 5:46 pm on Nov 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

with a slight increase in those touting for SEO

Not sure about "slight". There's quite a lot of sleight these days. You know the type... "You can't beat capricious Google, everyone is doomed, SEO is dead, but I took on a client suffering from just the thing you mention, and now his sales are up 50%"

Classic sales patter: establish bond (in this case, commiserate with problem and show matching Google hatred), self-vouch for experience in sorting problem, de-emphasise alternate solutions. Rinse and repeat.


 6:06 pm on Nov 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

with a slight increase in those touting for SEO

Not sure about "slight".

I was being circumspect ;) ( savor the experience , it doesn't happen often ) ..most of us can spot and thus, know who are the "culprits" anyway.."naming and shaming" doesn't work on "those who have no shame" ;) ..like those who post about how "high quality" what they post, write, blog etc is..

Pushy "self praise" doesn't seem to be considered spam in all countries and cultures though, ( nor does public "mutual back slapping" and what I term "incestuously citing of each others reputations" ) especially when related to SEO or SMO...or practiced by "consultants" in those fields..


 6:57 pm on Nov 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

...SEO is dead...

That's one of my fav expressions! Do you see me as a forum spammer?!

Reading through this thread is beginning to make me second guess how I can express myself in general terms. By no stretch of my intentions am I here for anything but to learn and try to be helpful where I can. Yet I know I sometimes drop names or sometimes link references. When I do as far as I'm concerned it's typically related to the OP if even in a round-about kind of way.

Now I'm even considering myself naive concerning this thread topic because I wasn't even aware there were professional forum trolls. I've said before I don't want attention beyond what arrives my way naturally. And, on 2 occasions in 2 years here I have received PMs from someone asking me about my services but I have turned them down other than to offer a general (non-commercial) perspective if I was able to.

But reading the comments here (not just the one I quoted) I'm thinking geez that sounds like me -- I'll be walking on eggshells now :(


 8:37 am on Nov 6, 2012 (gmt 0)


Not at all! It's the people saying there is nothing you can do to make Google like you, while simulteneously boasting of all the clients they have caused to recover.

Some features of the modern "Pro Spammer" or "SEO Tout" include:
- Tag team "big-ups"
- Sympathy Google hatred
- Constant mention of "clients" who have now recovered
- Frequent suggestion that no one can understand Google
- Permission to be penalised*
- Pretending to have all the answers (but hiding behind "no one can understand Google" if challenged)
- Label anyone who shows signs of success in Google as a Fanboy
- Label anyone who suggests diversifying away from Google as an idiot ("Google is the internet")

Some perfectly innocent people display some fo these signs. Some spammers don't do them all. That is the insidious effect of Pro Spammers, they poison a forum and look like real members. And in a polite space like WebmasterWorld, you can't really call people on it.

*As in, it's not your fault you are penalised because
- Not your fault you bought links / everyone buys links / you must buy links
- You shouldn't be penalised for using an SEO in the past who bought links for you
- "Legit" things are now penalised
- You might not have done anything wrong, and might be subject to negative SEO


 9:09 am on Nov 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

Frequent suggestion that no one can understand Google

I'd be hard pressed to think of anyone on this planet that this description does not apply to :)

:: cue for GoogleDude* to step forward and say "Heck, I work for google and I don't understand them! ::

* I know that isn't right, but you know who I mean.


 9:57 am on Nov 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

For a given value of "understand"

In broad strokes, Google is pretty simple. In detail, it's incomprehensively complex.

The SERP-generating part of Google doesn't like too many ads, doesn't like autogenerated, spun, or syndicated content, and wants searchers to be happy with BOTH the mix of results on the SERP, AND the quality of the site they eventually visit.

They penalise too many ads, overt manipulation (of many sorts) and repeated violation of quality quidelines.

It IS hard to get on to the first page of results, simply because of maths. For a conservative million-result SERP, your page has to be in the top 0.00001% of all results. Being merely the in the top 0.001% means page 100 obscurity.


 12:28 pm on Nov 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

A quick look at the active list just a few minutes ago shows the spammers have been busy.

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