Forum Spam: So Frustrating

It’s amazing to watch how international spamming is getting, especially forum spamming where they try to be “natural” by having conversations where one spammer posts a question, and the next spammer answers by posting a “helpful tutorial” about the perfect product to help. Here’s a short example of some spamming that went on at Digital Media Thoughts:

momoko [IP 220.232.188.195, Hong Kong]: i suppose Imtoo dvd ripper is the gadget you are looking for, it can help you convert dvd to MPEG or AVI files so that you can edit them with ease~~~

mingming [IP 218.249.29.21, China]: haha ,monoko ,are you also using the software imtoo dvd ripper??glad to see that , i am using it now!!!it is really a perfect one ,isn’t it?

happyboy [IP 59.108.111.2, China]: I don’t konw much about these knowledgeI but I hope the software of Xilisoft can help you.There are many kinds of tools such as ImTOO DVD Ripper Platinum v4.0 ,you can look for more information here

First I find one of the IPs: 218.249.29.21, which I look up using the ARIN WHOIS tool. That tool directs me to the APNIC Whois Database, and I discover it belongs to these guys:

inetnum: 218.249.29.0 – 218.249.29.255
netname: BEI-JING-JIAO-TONG-DA-XUE
country: CN
descr: Beijing JIAO TONG DA XUE CO.LTD
descr: CO.LTD
descr: Haidian Distric, Beijing
admin-c: PP40-AP
tech-c: PP40-AP
status: ASSIGNED NON-PORTABLE
changed: lichao@bj.datadragon.net 20050603
mnt-by: MAINT-CN-DXTNET
source: APNIC

This is the worst kind of spam to stop, because at first glance it appears legitimate – but when you start to factor in the odds of three people from China coming to my Web site to discuss a “problem” that has one magical solution, the product they link to…you just know it’s spam. As a site owner you learn to think heuristically and trust your instincts. It’s like that old quote about pornography: you might not be able to describe it, but you know it when you see it. That’s what this spam is like. Now the question is, are these guys paying for this spamming service, or are these over-zealous third-party affiliates trying to be clever? I’d suspect the former…

  • emmfan

    Since you’re using WordPress, have you tried Akismet?
    http://akismet.com/

  • No, not spam here, spam in the Thoughts Media forums – Digital Media Thoughts, Smartphone Thoughts, Pocket PC Thoughts. We have a great system of “first post authentication” in place on Zune Thoughts, and it’s working quite nicely so far – not a single piece of spam has been posted. 🙂

  • emmfan

    Ah, I see. I can imagine that you get an incredibly greater amount of traffic on those sites, which present a big target for comment spam. Is there anyway to incorporate akismet on the Thoughts forums (just curious, since I haven’t tried it yet, but will probably need to consider a solution for myself eventually)? At least you have a solution that’s working on Zune Thoughts ;).

  • I haven’t looked to be honest, but because our system at Zune Thoughts will be the standard system that all other sites will use when they migrate into the same set of vBulletin forums…this problem is, thankfully, only a temporary one. It’s still frustrating as hell though.