A Perl script protects forums against spam


Article from Issue 71/2006

Spammers don’t just send email. They exploit discussion forums and blogs, posting pseudo-messages full of links to dupe search engines. A Perl script cleans up the mess.

My own small discussion forum on perlmeister. com has attracted too much attention from link spammers recently. These parasites of the Web target their bots at popular forum software tools such as phpBB or blog applications such as Wordpress, bombarding them with postings that contain very little aside from links to poker and sex pages. Spammers try to lure forum visitors into clicking on their sponsors’ websites, and they are trying to dupe the major search engines that rate the importance of a page based on the links pointing to it. Spanner in the Spambot’s Works What is known as comment spam [2] can be reduced by restricting postings to registered users. But this obstacle is also likely to frighten off legitimate users who have qualms about privacy issues. And moderating every posting before it appears on the website may keep the spammers out, but the effort required for these checks is immense – not to mention the unavoidable delays that hamstring any discussion.

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