Forums are great places for like minded people to get together to discuss their chosen topic of interest. There are thousands of forums in cyberspace and each forum often has thousands of individual members. All would be fine and dandy in these often happy and friendly communities except for one big bugbear. Spammers like to join forums and then post links to their often unsavoury websites. The forum Administrators and moderators usually jump on them and delete their posts almost as quickly as they are submitted, so what do spammers think they actually get out of posting in forums? Let’s have a look at some reasons why they do it.
First of all, let’s define what a forum spammer actually is. A forum spammer is a person or in some cases a cyber robot that signs up for membership of a forum. The first thing they usually do is edit their profile (the section where they can enter certain personal details) and include a link to their website. They will often use an unintelligible user name, the name that they will be known by in the forum. They will usually hide behind a dynamic IP address. Once their membership has been accepted by the forum, they will often create a single post or sometimes multiple posts that contain either one or more links to their website or affiliate sites and sometimes *** ographic pictures linking back to their *** site or sites.
Now let’s surmise why they do these things.
First, by creating a profile, they obtain what is known as a “back-link” to their website, which is desirable in the endless struggle to achieve a good search engine ranking.
Second, they use a strange user name because they will often sign up to the same forum multiple times using different names in order to get past the forum’s security systems and to try to fool the forum administrator. They also use a dynamic IP address for the same reason. It’s all to make them look like a new member who hasn’t joined before.
Thirdly, the use of a dynamic IP address gives them a certain amount of anonymity by cloaking their true IP address in order to avoid being traced to their hosting company and being reported for their antisocial activities and possibly being banned.
Lastly, they include links or pictures in their posts in the forum in the belief that the forum members will be so interested that they will click those links and visit their website.
Now let’s look at the flaws in that mode of thinking and how forum administrators can use these flaws to rout out the spammers and stop them in their tracks.
First, by creating a profile including a link to their website upon joining a forum they immediately alert the forum administrator that the new member may be a spammer. Administrators who are on the ball will immediately delete the link to this new member’s website in their profile, so they have lost their precious back-link straight away.
Secondly, by using a strange or unintelligible user name the new member also alerts the savvy forum administrator that they are most likely a spammer and they not only lose their back-link in their profile, but get their username banned before they get a chance to create a post with their links.
Thirdly, a dynamic IP address will show up in the spammer post if they got past the first two points, but if the forum administrator catches them while they are online, their true IP address can be obtained and used to report them to their host.
Lastly, active forum members are very protective of their forum community as they like the nice, friendly atmosphere and want to keep it that way. So any spam posts are almost never read by the members and they will certainly never click on the links contained in them, so the spammer is doing all that work for absolutely nothing more than to irritate the members. The forum moderators are often very quick to delete spam posts anyway, so the members rarely ever get to see them in any case.
So that leads us full circle in asking the question, “What do spammers get out of posting in forums?”
The answer, in most cases is very little. They lose their back-links almost as soon as they’ve created them and their posts are treated like something you’d just scraped off your shoe and are deleted almost as soon as they are posted. Which leads us to another, even more poignant question, “Why do they do it?”
They obviously believe, in their own little worlds, that they are promoting their wares to great effect, when the reality is they are just wasting their time and irritating a whole lot of people along the way.
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