Reporting comment spammers is always fun. Well, for me that is. You on the other hand might find it to be an annoying and tedious task. Not to mention one that is never ending. Stopping spammers really is easy, but that is for another article. Today, I want to take a little time and talk about a vital step most blog and forum owners are completely missing. That step is “Reporting” the spammers.
If it comes as a shock that you can report spammers that hit your blog or forum, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Even some of the authors of anti-spam mods never even thought of adding a report feature to their mods. Reporting the little buggers is actually the most important step in battling spam. Because every time you submit a report, you are not only blocking them from your site, but hundreds of thousands of other sites!
Some forum and blog owners will just delete and or ban the spammers and never report them because they are not sure “if” they should. Well, take it from someone who has reported over 200K spammers, if they spam your site, report them. Even if they appear in the anti-spam services database fifty blue million times. This keeps the “Last Seen” records up to date. If they do not show up, but have spammed your site, it is very important that you submit them.
I think you now see the importance of reporting comment spammers. So lets get to the “Easy as 1-2-3″ part!
Step 1: Are they really a spammer?
Some spammers are blatantly obvious, while others may be harder to spot. It’s the “harder to spot” ones we need to investigate. Before now, most used Google and an IP Lookup service for more information. The problem with this method is, the results are old. It takes a few days or even weeks before a spammers info will show up in search engines. What you want is information that is seconds old, not days.
Now, you can get up to the second information on spammers and report them in less than 5 seconds. The owner of gunnerinc.com has written an awesome program that will search 15 different anti-spam databases at once. Plus submit to two of the most popular ones. The program, Forum Spam List Checker, (FSLC for short) is free, very simple to use and very fast.
Step 2: Reporting!
You’ve checked the suspect and your suspicions were correct. Now it’s time to submit the spammers info. If you’re using FSLC, the process takes one click of the submit button and about a half a second. I’m not joking about the half second!
When you submit a spammer, you need 3 pieces of information. The spammers IP address, email and username. This is why it is very important not to allow “Guests” to post or leave comments.
Step 3: Banning or Blocking!
This part is really dependent on what anti-spam mods you have installed. In the case of a new spam bot for example, the anti-spam mod will block the spammer once you’ve reported them.
Some people like to crate a new ban rule, which can have the down side of a ban log flooded with rejected attempts. Others like to add the IP address to their htaccess file. Which is good in the fact that the spammer can no longer access anything on your site. But at the same time is really not very good because 1: the file can become very large which will slow your site down, and 2: spammers change IP addresses frequently, thus the large htaccess file.
So as a general rule… report them and let your anti-spam protection take care of the blocking.