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GMail Spam Finally Fixed

...but not by GMail, sad to say

4:20 pm on Dec 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Google Mail seems to have the largest user-base, so I guess that it is not too surprising that most spam attempts at the forums on my site come from folks registering with a GMail email address. I made a suggestion here [webmasterworld.com] last July on how to fix it: "provide a URL to which registered webmasters could post XML reports of forum spam from G-Mail users". It was ignored. No surprise there. Then I came across Stop Forum Spam [stopforumspam.com] and, glory be, it works.

  1. GET an xml report listing whether--and how often--an email address/IP/username has been reported as spamming.
  2. (once registered) POST email address/IP/username details of users spamming your forums.

Simple, effective, and it works. Finally, I've been able to re-enable gmail.com, mail.ru & a score of other domains for the forums. Yes, the odd un-listed person still hand-posts spam. One press of a button and, not only are they banned on my site, but also on hundreds of other sites.

Try it.

5:51 pm on Dec 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

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joined:Mar 12, 2004
votes: 12

Be a little careful - I have come across real people who have never spammed but who have got on that list. As with any such system there are innocents blocked together with the guilty.

It is a very useful system though. One of the things on my list to do is not to deny these IPs and addresses from entry but to flag them. Perhaps require their first posts to be approved by moderators. That would be much more effective than just blocking all gmail addresses - there are a few real people who use Gmail.

10:29 am on Dec 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

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votes: 0

there are innocents blocked together with the guilty

Agree totally, vordmeister, and I hate having to do it.

Before my post in July (linked in the first post) I'd re-enabled GMail for that very reason. One hour after doing so, someone with a GMail email address spammed the forums. That continued remorselessly across the next week or so until I threw in the towel and banned them again. Now, with SFS [stopforumspam.com], not only is GMail available, but even mail.ru & several other email domains that previously made me shudder. I now look forward to seeing a spam email! It means that I can ban them for the community, and not just myself.

GET list frequency on the SFS reports (`how often reported') are frequently in double-digits. That is most unlikely to be an 'innocent blocked'.

One more feature: having got spam posts under control, I found 2,000 'silent' spammers. They are registrations with personal details full of (the usual) links, but no posts. Those links are still polluting my Google SERPs, since G picks up each registration and browses the profile. Well, no longer. After some Control Panel code-changes I'm able to report them as well, and remove them.

Finally: for best, Google should have put this in place themselves, or have coordinated it between all email providers, and especially free-mail providers. Their lack of action suggests that they do not care. SFS provides a viable solution.

Try it.


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