Sneaky Spammers

I’ve noticed an increase in smarter spammers, over the past year or so. Instead of posting 10 links to a porn site which quickly gets deleted, they post a legitimate sounding post, and then have a link in their signature which is spam. Even more recently, there were some posts where the spammer initially had a blank signature, but days later (after the thread fell off the portal), went back and edited their signature.

One example of the latest method is still in the career forum. It was posted on the 16th with a blank signature, and the spam link was added on the 20th.

Other recent spam posts have had just one line that says something like “I agree with you”, or have copied parts of previous posts so that if you skim it, it seems reasonable, but doesn’t actually make sense. Others have asked legitimate (but unrelated to FIRST) questions, like this one (look a the link in the signature):

These spammers don’t even care if you click on their link. They just want as many links to their website as possible, so that they show up higher in search results.

One way to determine if a post is SPAM is if you notice something that seems odd, copy a part of the post and search Google for it (you can use up to 32 words), using quotation marks to enclose the quote. If it shows up in more then a few forums, most likely it’s a single spammer operating across the internet.

One forum I frequent recently decided not to allow new users to post links in their signatures until they get 10 posts. Presumably, a spammer wouldn’t post 10 times without someone catching on. That might be one way to limit the affects of this type of SPAM.

For those who may be new to chiefdelphi, if you see a post that is spam, you can use the report post button in the upper right corner of the post (it looks like a triangular sign with an exclamation point). This will report the post to the moderators so they can review and delete the post if necessary.

I don’t think that Spam is a huge problem on CD, but I don’t like to see spammers able to get away with anything.

I find it unfortunate that a forum like CD is plagued by such a problem. I’ve found this forum a useful tool to solve problems and discuss ideas. Hopefully, together, we can limit or eliminate the spam.

Thank you for bringing the problem to our attention.

Steady influx of spammers asking to join NEMO forum too.

Brandon… Do you apply “rel=nofollow” to url’s?

Doesn’t look like it. That would be a great way to cut down the benefits of link spam. It appears that newer versions of vbulletin have options to do it automatically, and there are plug-ins to do it for older versions.

vB can also disallow links in signatures IIRC.

Another thing would be to hide the members list to un-registered users. This would keep search spiders from crawling the members list and collecting all the spam links in signatures.

Here’s something else I found interesting.

I used to think that as long as the posts with spam links were deleted in a timely manner, everything was ok. However, there are a lot of spammers that have spam links in their signature, but never post (and so the links stay there for years).

I recently ran a google search for something related to chiefdelphi. What I found were a lot of results that were spammers member pages, such as this one:

There were also pages that contained links to member’s pages, which had spam in the signature. By posting a link to a page that has a link to what the spammer advertise also helps them, and it looks much more benign on the other page. Running a google search shows that there may be millions of things doing that. I’ve cleaned up some of them, but there are still a lot left.

Just one more thing to watch out for.

I just got a spam PM from someone. While they were highlighting (hawking) their CD of CNC plans they’re selling on feeBay - nominally of interest to someone who posted in a CNC thread - it was a clever bit of distasteful marketing.

VB has several ways to manage this, the best being people with fewer than X posts are in a different group than those with X or more. The first group can’t use links in signatures, or PM, or several other things.

I received what is likely the same spam from the same Lindsy, on October 30. Perhaps it has taken that long for the spammer to make it through the alphabet from A to R?

Another tactic is for the spammer to ask a innocuous question, and then in a day or two register a new account to answer that question. Here’s one example (at least until it gets cleaned up)

So, is ‘Kirkbride’ the spammer?
If so, he is still in business on CD.

Is it possible to have a thread that we could put suspected spammers in? Because “Jjohnson23” just joined, all he has are links in his sig and is OBVIOUSLY not a kid. Hes on team “0000”… yeah, auto Insurance is not a team, sorry. Just a thread of suspected spammers to make deleteing them easier?


This spammer’s profile is fairly new, it’s been active as recently as today
once again, there are links in the signature that seem ‘bad’, but no posts have been made from the account, so it is probably linked to from elsewhere. Google search turned up nothing but a scary picture of just how many different spammers link to a CD profile page.

There are plenty of ways to stop this spam, or at least decrease the amount. I’m sure it’s just a matter of Brandon having the time to implement it.

I’m going to bump this thread a bit, since the problem seems to be returning a bit.

A bit of Googling yielded this mod for the version of vBulletin that CD is running that can block links in signatures of users with under X posts:

I don’t know if it’s something that’s worth pursuing, but fixes (other than playing whack-a-mole) are out there.

I’ll be interested if someone posts a helpful solution to preventing spam and then turns out to be spam. At the rate the spammers are evolving, it won’t be long until this becomes a reality.


There is built-in functionality to prevent links in signatures in certain user groups – I’ve added it to the usergroup promotion that moves people from new users to trusted non-spam users.

Oohhh! Fancy! :smiley:

And much appreciated!