General Question

LostInParadise's avatar

Why do people spam Web site guest books?

Asked by LostInParadise (31642points) December 21st, 2008

I have a Web site for high school level math that was set up under Yahoo/Geocities. It gets a modest amount of traffic. I have a guest book on it. Geocities notifies me when I get a new entry in it, which I used to look forward to, since entries are not made that often. From time to time someone spams my guest book with pointers to commercial Web sites. Since I have to approve of each entry, they never actually get into the guest book, but it can be a pain having to individually diapprove of each entry. Lately someone has been spamming at a furious rate. If this keeps up I will have to remove the guest book. Is that the objective of the spammer?

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8 Answers

jrpowell's avatar

It is probably automated. It is actually really easy to script something to spam a site.

Anaphase's avatar

People write scripts that spam things like your guest book in an attempt to boost links to their site, from which they (somehow) gain revenue.

Douche bags.

Vincentt's avatar

Spambots cruise the internet looking for forms like yours to submit their websites into. Not sure how much control Geocities provides you with, but you could try an anti-spam service like TypePad AntiSpam or Akismet.

MrItty's avatar

The objective of the spammer is to sell whatever they’re spamming. It’s no different than spamming people’s email, newsgroups, or fax machines.

laureth's avatar

Because they can.

dynamicduo's avatar

It’s not that spammers prefer to spam dinky guest books. It’s that the guest books don’t have the type of spam-proof protection that other comment fields do. They’re easier for the bots to leave comments on. And when it comes to spamming, it’s sheer quantity that counts – even if they are on someone’s grandma’s very low volume knitting site, if grandma or her friend clicks on that link, the spammer has succeeded in their goal.

The spammer doesn’t really know that his message isn’t posted on your site – they don’t care what the failure rate is. They have programs that send out so many hundreds of messages a second that it doesn’t matter if x% of them get caught by filtering. They just try harder, find more sites and hit them with a different CAPTCHA-breaking algorithm.

The fact that they do not actually show up before you approve it is pretty much the spam protection Geocities provides. So the spammer doesn’t really win. But they do win, albeit a gain-nothing win, by taking up your time. This is why for my blog I use a plugin called Akismet which detects and filters what it thinks is spam from the comments. I go into the spam bin once a month just to make sure no real messages get caught. It’s worked 95% of the time for me, and that’s a good compromise. Unfortunately I doubt you can get this working for a Geocities guest book. So you’ll have to deal with it manually.

LostInParadise's avatar

I found this Web site for creating a guest book with a filter. I imagine that in exchange for the free service they post advertisements in the guest book. I can go along with that.

90s_kid's avatar

Because they have no life! It is the most immature thing ever.

But it’s life.

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