Win the battle against forum spam by optimizing registration

OABPO Blog Team Published on October 13, 2014

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Your online forum is where members of your community can discuss and exchange ideas that are related to your brand’s niche. This helps make your website more welcoming to new users. Unfortunately, forums are also the favorite hangout places of sneaky link builders and digital marketers.

Spamming has become a serious concern for website owners because it disrupts the online experience of forum users. That s why many brands embrace digital security practices, such as outsourcing content moderation and hiring community managers, to make sure their forums and websites remain organized and free from damaging content.

Content moderators and community managers are in constant battle against spammers who try to direct people s attention to their websites. There s a wide spectrum of tactics used by online marketers when spamming, and banning users every now and then can t be your only universal solution. Understanding the different anti-spam options that you have can help you figure out which measures will best suit your forum s protection needs. Here are some of the anti-spam techniques you can integrate in your membership registration process.

1. Require social media access

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Member registration may include a step where users are required to link their forum account with any of their social networking profiles. Plug-ins are usually required when doing so. This prevents spammers from creating mock accounts during membership registration and then spreading spam messages later. Users may be also given the option not go by their real names and use a username instead. Anonymity is fine as long as you know the accounts are owned by real persons.

2. Optimize member profile fields

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When signing up for membership, require members to fill out forms that spam bots can t populate automatically. The longer and more stratified the registration process is, the less are the chances of spammers signing up for an account on your forum. Just make sure that registration isn t too long; otherwise, some prospective members may be discouraged from signing up.

3. Use captcha authentication

captcha-authentication-for-spam

Using a test that can verify that a human is accessing or posting on your forums is a good way to prevent automated spammers from infiltrating your online platform. Spam bots can easily spread irrelevant posts across your message boards if there s no filtering system that requires users to type a text that matches a randomly generated image.

4. Send verification URL using e-mail

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Once a user is done registering for an account, a confirmatory email may be sent to the identified email address. This e-mail contains a verification URL that must be clicked by new members to verify their email addresses. Most spammers will neither have a valid e-mail address to begin with nor do the extra step of checking their inbox.

Spammers can only hurt the online discussions on your forum if they successfully get past your registration process. By following these steps, you can make your membership sign-up process more reliable in filtering users who are about to become part of your online community.

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