The last few months, many of Doodlekit ‘s websites (including our own) have fallen victims to SPAM attacks. Unfortunately, SPAM is not easy to fight, and the amount of resources it takes to fight increases costs for everyone. SPAM costs U.S. companies over $70 Billion each year. Because of this, Doodlekit has had to spend most of our development time over the last few months developing SPAM protection instead of working on our new release.
Kinds Of SPAM Attacks
Websites are attacked in the following ways with SPAM:
1. SPAM Bots: Automated (Robot) Spamming Software used by third parties. These bots submit hundreds (even thousands) of spam comments within minutes to websites. An attack like this can bog down a web server – slow it down to a crawl or even shut it down completely. Not to mention that whoever’s website got attacked will wake up the next morning with hundreds/thousands of spam entries/emails.
2. Manual SPAMMING: Actual people manually go in and submit SPAM to your website. They get around automated SPAM bot protection by doing this. However, they can only do a limited amount of SPAM since it is not automated. Most manual SPAMMERS won’t waste too much time on one website.
Below is a screenshot of some actual SPAM submitted by bots to one of our Doodlekit websites:
Doodlekit Solutions To SPAM Attacks
1. Automated SPAM Bot Protection: Last night we pushed out captchas for all Doodlekit forms. Captchas are the images of’ words’ that you verify before submitting a form. These are common on many sites and you have probably run into them before. Captchas are now available for Doodlekit users in three places: Blog comments, the Contact Us form, and the custom Form Builder. Check the Advanced Settings to turn these on for the first two, and the form builder itself has an option to turn this on for each custom form.
2. Manual SPAM Protection: This was actually implemented a few months ago. You may have noticed that all links (anchors) that you add to a Blog or Forum comment show up with the linked URL or words changed to ‘web link’ or ‘my website’. One of the main reasons that websites get SPAMMED is to increase the SPAMMERS SEO ranking. They do this by creating links on other peoples Blogs and Forums to their websites. The word phrases they use in those links are the word phrases they are trying to rank higher on search engine searches for. By changing all link word phrases and URLs to the text ‘web link’, they lose the ability to do this. When most manual SPAMMERS see that this happens on our websites, they will leave because they are wasting their time.
Another deterrent is that we add an extra property to every blog/forum comment link called ‘no follow’. This tells search engines not to count this link for SEO purposes. Most search engines respect this and void any SEO points to the link provided.
While we cannot block all SPAM, you can gain some satisfaction knowing that any SPAM that does get through will NOT help the SPAMMERS in any way (at least on Doodlekit websites).
Coming Soon: SPAM Management Tool
We are currently wrapping up a new tool that will allow our free website maker users to manage their SPAM better. The problem is that if a SPAM bot does get through our protection (which will probably happen every once in a while) your website gets stuck with hundreds/thousands of spam comments. We don’t expect you to go in and manually delete these – that would take forever! So this new tool will allow you to do searches on your comments for certain ‘keywords’ or timestamps and delete comments in bulk.
SPAM protection is an ongoing battle. SPAMMERS make smarter SPAM bots and we have to retaliate with smarter SPAM protection software. The key is to keep on top of it. If you notice any consistent SPAM attacks getting through to your website, contact us and let us know. Thank you for your understanding in this matter and your patience.