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We all love to be wanted but some advances can be a little uncomfortable. Spam, especially member profile spam, is a pervasive problem for any membership site. We'll take a short journey through the dark underbelly of the Internet and take a look at spammers; who they are, why they do it, the tools they use and some common operating methods. We'll finish with a look at some mitigation strategies for ExpressionEngine and how we can help each other as a community.

Published in: Technology, News & Politics


  1. 1. Spam-Me-Not Greg Salt Purple Dogfish
  2. 2. Profile Spam The posting of links or plain text within a site member profile such that it is not displayed or visible when browsing or using the site normally
  3. 3. Cross Platform
  4. 4. Why? • Some are traditional ‘SEO Experts’ • Many are spammers who want to scam other potential spammers • Convince others that they’ve found a system that makes money • Sell internet properties/ebooks etc
  5. 5. Business Ideas!
  6. 6. Spammer Lifeforms
  7. 7. Primordial Soup • Unsophisticated • Generally direct posts into forums and blog comments • “Great post!”
  8. 8. Developing Tools • Link Generators • Profile Creators/Bots • Search Engine Scrapers
  9. 9. Inventing the Wheel A number of independent web 2.0 sites, all with high Page Rank values, create a link to your site. And each of the "spokes" create a link to its neighbour - forming the wheel. Source:
  10. 10. Link Wheel
  11. 11. Learning to Share • Preying on lesser lifeforms • Selling link packets, bots and sites
  12. 12. Masters of Disguise • Register then wait a few weeks before coming back to update profile • Will probably never post in forums but will login from time to time • Wrapping links around punctuation
  13. 13. Masters of Disguise
  14. 14. Who’s Responsible?
  15. 15. Angela Edwards angelae8654 Automatic Profile Backlinks Automatic Profile Creators uSMF – SMF Forums Profile Creator uPun – PunBB Forums Profile Creator uExpress – Expression Engine Forums Profile Creator Vbulletin Profile Generator – Vbulletin Forums Profile Creator Leave a Reply Name (required)
  16. 16. Paul Johnson
  17. 17. ExpressionEngine Bots
  18. 18.
  19. 19. Bot Weakness • Not yet updated to deal with EE2 registration form (email verification) • Can’t deal with anything non- standard • Captchas do cause problems • No built-in facility to use proxies • Forced to use the same username/ email/IP across all the sites
  20. 20. What Can We Do?
  21. 21. Site Setup • Remove ability for guests to view profiles • Don’t use default member registration form fields • In forums remove active/newest members list • Set up admin notifications for registrations and new posts
  22. 22. Site Management • Update Blacklist module regularly • Use the EE member banning features - never delete • Use community to flag/report spam • Check your new members everyday • Approve membership • Use newbie member groups
  23. 23. Community • Report wheel links to other sites • Report SEO spam to client company
  24. 24. Fight Back! The response... Source:
  25. 25. We weren’t bluffing You can report link spam at: Tick ‘Other’ and add ‘link spam’ in the comments box
  26. 26. Thank You @drylouvre /