You forgot the Hormel Spammers.....
I've been running an engineering forum for over ten years now.. Daily, Engineers Edge forum gets at least 3 – 4 spam messages. These are usually posted late at night here in America by somebody in Asia or South America.
Recently I have had forum spam for purses, perfume, Viagra, some Chinese website, file downloads, and last week a Russian posted a bunch of naked girly pictures in the FOO forum. So, every morning first thing I do is check the forums and clear out the spam.
Anyway, I've seen a lot of spam over the years and thought that I would share what I've learned over the years about the types of spammers out there.
This is the kind of spammer that sets up an account, posts a spam message of some sort and is gone in a flash. Typically, they never return for a followup or otherwise.
Forum Member Spammer
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 member who has simply grown too comfortable and has forgotten some of the forum rules and feels it's necessary to post about some ebay items they have for sale. The offense is relatively minor, but could evolve into widespread community member spamming if not put in check.
The classic spammer is 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 or service that is often not even on subject in 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.
Request for Help Spammer
A Request for Help Spammer will make a post to a forum seeking help, advice, or assistance. This could take the form by asking for a review of a product, asking for help in fixing a problem, 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 than a typical request for help, and the emphasis of the post will be weighted more towards visiting the poster’s website, product or service rather than solving the issue.
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 that requires one to search for their product or service website. Also, they will provide a link to the solution rather than answering the question outright on the forum.
A Recruitment Spammer will own a forum of their own which is usually either a new venture 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 spam and are soliciting users from making this form of spam more repugnant than the spam of a Classic Spammer.
Thread Hijack Spammer
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 questions relevant to 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 would not be surprising to see a Hijack Spammer posting to a thread that has not seen activity in 10 years.
Serial Topic Spammer
The Serial Topic Spammer is an interesting sort. This type of spammer will have a list of pre-written 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 have found a Serial Topic Spammer? Just Google the subject of their message and you’ll likely find a google of results!
Tag Team Spammer
Tag Team 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. Each member of the tag team 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”. Alternatively, a tag team member may post a question about what solution will work for their needs which would be answered by tag team members hocking the services of the website they are representing.
Link Request Spammer
The Link Request Spammer is one of the sneakiest varieties. The link requester will slip quietly into a forum and post a question (usually obvious) about needing a service or product. After several answers they will then appear with the eventual solution to their original request and boast how great the organization is they bought from.
These folks setup an account for the sole purpose of linking to a product or services on their own website by way of their online profile. They rarely ever participate in the forum.
These are the folks that spout their desired product, service and website in their signature. The forum posts only goal is to get as much visibility as they can for their signature.
Last edited by Kelly Bramble; 01-19-2015 at 06:22 PM.
But hey... I'll bet you never encountered a SPAM spammer?
You know... a spammer promoting one of America's oldest and finest canned meats...!!
(humorous intent... not actually promoting the eating of SPAM... although after a few too many beers a late night frying of thinly sliced SPAM with a little mustard on toast can be quite delightful...)
Ron beat me to it...
Ron's a "speed spammer."