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10 Types of Forum Spammers

This entry was posted By Cubert on Friday, June 12th, 2009 at 5:38 pm and is filed under Offbeat. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

We’re all familiar with spam, including web forum spam, which is most recognizable in the form of an obnoxious post that offers to sell or promote some seldom needed product or service. However, there are many other types of forum spam out there that can be often overlooked. I have assembled a list of the ten types of forum spam that you might encounter, ordered from most innocent to most sinister. Each spam type has been issued a Super Villain nickname along with a summary description and an example:

Type 1: Cross Post Spammer

Super Villain Nickname: Paniczilla

Unlike other forms of spammers, the Cross Post Spammer is soliciting responses, rather than products and services; however their posts can still be intrusive and frustrating nonetheless. More often than not, a Cross Post Spammer will be a relative newbie to either web forum etiquette or to the field that they are working in, and their cross posting is likely made in a desperate panic fearing that their posting will be missed unless it is posted under every category of a forum. An example of the type of post that may be made by a Cross Post Spammer is as follows:

Quote:
Forum: HTML and Web Markup

Subject: I urgently need your urgent help urgently in upgrading my web!

Someone please help me! I talked to my web designer 30 minutes ago, and he said that we are losing money every day because we are only using web 1.0 and not web 2.0. He suggested that we upgrade to web 2.0 technologies immediately, but he is now out of town and he did not tell me how to do this!! I can’t afford to lose money, so could someone PLEASE tell me how to upgrade my web from 1.0 to 2.0?! I would be SOOOO grateful! I just installed the Windows Vista with the Internet Explorer 7 package, but I do not know if this is a full web 2.0 upgrade! If I am missing any component please let me know what I need to do!!!! Thanks, please respond fast!

Forum: Server Side Programming Languages

Subject: I urgently need your urgent help urgently in upgrading my web!

Someone please help me! I talked to my web designer 30 minutes ago, and he said that we are losing money every day because we are only using web 1.0 and not web 2.0. He suggested that we upgrade to web 2.0 technologies immediately, but he is now out of town and he did not tell me how to do this!! I can’t afford to lose money, so could someone PLEASE tell me how to upgrade my web from 1.0 to 2.0?! I would be SOOOO grateful! I just installed the Windows Vista with the Internet Explorer 7 package, but I do not know if this is a full web 2.0 upgrade! If I am missing any component please let me know what I need to do!!!! Thanks, please respond fast!

Forum: Search Engine Optimization

Subject: I urgently need your urgent help urgently in upgrading my web!

Someone please help me! I talked to my web designer 30 minutes ago, and he said that we are losing money every day because we are only using web 1.0 and not web 2.0. He suggested that we upgrade to web 2.0 technologies immediately, but he is now out of town and he did not tell me how to do this!! I can’t afford to lose money, so could someone PLEASE tell me how to upgrade my web from 1.0 to 2.0?! I would be SOOOO grateful! I just installed the Windows Vista with the Internet Explorer 7 package, but I do not know if this is a full web 2.0 upgrade! If I am missing any component please let me know what I need to do!!!! Thanks, please respond fast!

Type 2: The Community Member Spammer

Super Villain Nickname: Lost Sheep

Every now and again, a respected community member may post an incidental unsolicited ad for something they are involved in. This could be an innocent mistake by the forum members who has simply grown too comfortable and has forgotten some of the forum rules and feels it necessary to post about some ebay items they have for sale. The offence is relatively minor, but could evolve into widespread community member spamming if not put in check. Example:

Quote:
Hey Guys, I’m saving up for a wii so I’m selling all my old playstation games on ebay. If anyone wants to help me out, check out my auctions:

http://www.ebay.com/auctionlinks

Type 3: The Classic Spammer

Super Villain Nickname: Obnoxio

The classic spammer will be easy to spot and is the forum spammer that most are already familiar with. Typically, the classic spammer goes to a forum, registers, posts an unsolicited ad for a product, quite often not even targeted to the forum he is posting (often electronics, prescription drugs, gambling or adult websites), and will provide either a link or some hotmail/yahoo/gmail email address to reach them. Their spam will look something like so:

Quote:
Buy Some Crap!

I’ve got:

TK421’s

Rick Rolls

My Pod Accessories

Send email for lowest guaranteed prices!

sumfool@spammail.net

Type 4: The Request for Help Spammer

Super Villain Nickname: The Damsel

A Request for Help Spammer will make a post to a forum seeking help, advice, or assistance. This could take form of asking for a review of their website, asking for help in fixing a problem on their website, or looking for feedback about something posted on their website. Most of the time such posts are legitimate, and these requests always seem quite inoffensive. However, the questions are typically a little more vague that a typical request for help, and the emphasis of the post will be weighted more towards visiting the poster’s website, rather than solving the issue. Example:

Quote:
Hi Everyone! We just finished our new site that sells discount perfume. Please let me know what you think. Check it out right away, there are some great sales for the first 2 weeks:

http://www.supersmellystuff.net

or

Quote:
Hey, check out my site! Epic site!

http://ww.mysiteisnotthatepic.com

Type 5: The Informational Spammer

Super Villain Nickname: The Diverter

The Informational Spammer will look for questions on a forum that they know how to answer, however instead of posting the solution outright, they will post the answer to their blog or website, and provide a link to the solution, rather than answering the question outright on for forum. Example:

Quote:
User: WorriedWayne

I’m getting this crazy oscommerce error when I try to install it, it says that my host isn’t local! What gives?

User: SolutionSteve

Hey Wayne, I’ve got the answer to your question below, check it out at:

http://www.ishouldhavejustpostedtheanswerhere.com

Type 6: The Recruitment Spammer

Super Villain Nickname: The Abductor

A Recruitment Spammer will own a forum of their own, which is usually either a new venture of a forum that has remained small after a period of poor performing promotions. In an attempt to bolster registrations, the Recruitment Spammer will hop around from forum to forum posting unsolicited ads to drum up interest in their website by offering mod positions or simply asking others to register. Often the forum under the control of the Recruitment Spammer will be in direct competition of the forums they spammer is soliciting users from, making this forum of spam more repugnant than the spam of a Classic Spammer. An typical example that you may expect to see of recruitment spam is as follows:

Quote:
Forum: HTML and Web Markup

Hey guys! If you are great at answering HTML questions you should check out my website! It is the newest HTML help forum and we are accepting new mods. Stop by and send me a message and I can make you a mod right away!

http://www.myoneuserforum.org

Type 7: Thread Hijack Spammer

Super Villain Nickname: The Infiltrator

The Thread Hijack Spammer will methodically go through as many of the forum’s threads as humanly possible, in search of thread topics that even loosely relate to the warez the spammer is hocking, and post suggestions for their website or service. The topics typically do not need to be an exact match for the Hijack Spammer, and broad topics will suit them. Additionally, there is no thread too old for a Hijack Spammer to infiltrate, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see a Hijack Spammer posting to a thread that hasn’t seen activity in 10 years. A thread infiltrated by a Hijack Spammer might look something like this:

Quote:
User: Tom

Post Date: January 01, 2000

Hi Everyone, I am having a problem with my table layouts. Can anyone see what is causing the gap in the AOL web browser?

User: Harry

Post Date: January 2, 2000

Hmm, It looks like you didn’t close your second nested table. Just add the closing tag.

User: Dick

April 21, 2008

If you are looking for tables we have the best selection at somewhat competitive prices! Check out crazytableoffers.net

Type 8: Serial Topic Spammer

Super Villain Nickname: Repeatator

The Serial Topic Spammer is an interesting sort. This type of spammer will have a list of prewritten forum posts saved to their computer, and register across dozens of different forums making the same exact post. Additionally, because they are simply posting the same generic messages across volumes of forums, their posts might often seem out of place or a little unusual. However, unlike the Classic Spammer, the Serial Topic Spammer won’t advertise a service in his post and instead his signature will contain links to their own website, or websites that they are representing as an SEO expert. They will typically not return to their original posts to look for replies to their threads, as continuing a thread will not give them any added benefit. The Serial Topic Spammer will only benefit by the volume of pages that have his signature links, so he will move on quickly after making his fury of seemingly participator postings. Think you’ve found a Serial Topic Spammer? Just Google the subject of their message and you’ll likely find a googol of results! A Serial Topic Spammer’s message may look something like the below:

Quote:
Subject: What a weird experience I had in Alaska!

I have recently been to Alaska and it was truly a different experience. Just being so far from the rest of mankind can certainly change your perspective on reality! Has anyone else had such an altering experience?

Signature Links: Cheap Crap | Cheaper Crap | Crap Not Worth a Mention

Type 9: Group Spammer

Super Villain Nickname: The Horde

Group Spammers might just be the most difficult to spot. The plan involves creating and establishing several usernames in a community, which may all be set up from the same person, or possibly a small gray hat SEO service or other marking service. Each member of the group will then attempt to increase their post count through shallow participation on existing forum threads. Most of their posts are typically pretty short and lack any real substance. Such examples are “good job on answering this member’s question” or “Mozilla will always be the most popular choice in my opinion”. Eventually, after enough of a post count has been built up for each of the group members to have established a reasonable community standing, the group spam will start. It begins when one of the members of the group ask a question about a specific company or website and solicit the opinions of others, in which case the rest of the group will chime in with praise about said company. Alternatively, a group member may post a question about what solution will work for their needs, which would be answered by group members suggesting the services of the website they are representing. An example of the group spam is as follows:

Quote:
User: SunMoon

Greetings honorable associates! I have found the website that offers the hosting named thewebsitethatoffersthehosting.com. But before do the signup, please say me if they are respectable for their services?

User: RisingDawn

Hello, your question is very understandable. You would not want to do the signup with those that would deceive. I have looked for this company and have found the reviews are highly supportive of this service. I would suggest that they are of a powerful value to you!

User: DanDan

Yes! I do use this service! It is so wonderful that I will continue to use them again for a long time. Good question that you asked.

Type 10: Link Bait Spammer

Super Villain Nickname: The Inflamer

The Link Bait Spammer is one of the sneakiest varieties. The link baiter will slip quietly into a forum and post a link to some outrageous or inflammatory website and remark on how horrible the topic is. Infuriated readers will then often repost the link themselves on other forums or pass the link around to their friends and acquaintances to show them the offensive and insulting material, which is exactly what the Link Bait Spammer had intended, for it is the link bait spammer who owns the offending website and profits from the viral traffic that is generated by the controversy that they created. An example of link bait spam is as follows:

Quote:
Unbelievable! This website proposes using NEW BORN BABIES AS FUEL FOR MOPEDS!!! They claim that a moped can get double its mileage by running on ground up baby goo as opposed to unleaded gasoline! I don’t care how much fuel can be saved by such a horrendous action, we need to protect the babies and put a stop to this! Look for yourself, their website is below:

http://www.babyfuelwebsite-withlotso…adsenseads.org

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[...] For a further list of do-nots on web forums, please see my previous post: 10 Types of Forum Spammers [...]

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