With every industry, there is an underground of folks who find more pleasure in wrecking a good thing. Search engine marketing is no exception.
Somehow, the idea that humans can outwit search engines became a challenge and even a battle. For myself, as an SEO who brings usability and user experience design to the mix, the key to marketing and web design is understanding what people want. It’s referred to as user behavior. Search engine computers are programmed to look for signals about what we want and like.
Yet, somewhere along the way, somebody decided to promote the idea that spamming search engines will help their web pages rank better. To their way of thinking (if you could call it that), spamming is telling search engines their pages are wanted and popular.
As a forums owner since 1998, and moderator for list servs, clubs and groups since 1995, I can tell you that the point of these sites is the conversation and community. When you join one under the pretense of self promotion, you risk being tossed out on the porch.
Every forum is different. They each have a set of rules. At Cre8asiteforums, we refer to them as “House Rules” and expect the community to act like guests when they are there. They can be themselves, and be goofy, but at all times we hold them to a standard of fairness and we encourage the ability to disagree without bringing out weapons.
I was lax for years and years about letting in just about anyone to Cre8asiteforums and letting them create their existence there. However, it became clear that the moderators and myself were spending most of our days deleting spam and banning members who spammed the Community. We’re often assisted by the Community because members hate spam and report spam posts to the staff.
For the past year or so, every new member is screened before they are permitted to join. Every day, myself and a few other Admins, enter every username, IP and email address into a database that tracks forums spammers. If they get past that stage and are welcomed into the Community, and then spam us, their right to post is removed and their information is reported to the database, so that other forums will know in advance a spam predator is in the bushes outside their house.
I hate doing it. But, the practice has been a welcome relief to the moderators who are not paid to be there every day and wish only to mingle and make sure the place is meeting the needs of our guests. The Community is at peace and enjoying a spam-free environment. Throwing people out for ignoring House Rules is not a fun duty but it’s vital to the health of the forums.
During a talk I gave not long ago on Community building, I mentioned that we look up IP’s to see if they are known spam sources. This was met with surprise. If you are on a shared server with a spammer, what do you do? In my case, I can be contacted and we can work it out. I can’t speak for other forums.
And this is the true harm that spammers leave behind in their selfish and misguided attempts to get their domain noticed. We all waste time and money on these blinded fools and the whole class is punished by their acts.