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Can I prevent 404s created by spammers linking to forum posts

404 spam forum linking error

     
3:20 pm on Feb 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Here is the problem. Every now and then a human spammer creates an account and posts in my forums, typically some crap about kitchens or pills or loans etc.

The spammer then also creates links from other sites to the forum post he created within my forum.

I come along and delete the spammers forum account and all his posts.

Google then throws up 404's because there is content missing that is being linked to from other sites.

I just wanted to ask if anyone knows how to best combat this and prevent the 404's.
3:58 pm on Feb 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Administrator andy_langton is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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I don't think you need to prevent the 404s. It's the best response (short of a 410 "gone") to content that is not there - and you don't want to be there. Any none-4xx response carries with it the suggestion that content is there, was there or might be there in the future, and you don't want any of those!

The best answer, of course, is to try to prevent spammers from posting, but that's a whole different kettle of fish. I think you just have to accept 404s in these instances.
4:06 pm on Feb 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Thanks Andy. I was having similar thoughts. I already have successfully stopped just about all the automated bots from registering on the forums but there is nothing I can do against humans actually creating an account.

Good to know, I will just have to ignore the 404's in Googles Webmaster Tools I suppose.
4:15 pm on Feb 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member jimbeetle is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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Google then throws up 404's...

Just to be a bit anal, Google has nothing to do with this, your server is serving the 404s.
4:24 pm on Feb 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I know, I meant to say that Google Webmaster Tools are reporting the 404's as errors.
6:03 pm on Feb 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member g1smd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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They are not errors.

You want requests for those deleted pages to return 404.