Website form spam comprises of huge amounts of unwanted form submissions that consist of junk text and undesired web links. These submissions are usually junked by site owners who often wonder why they receive such spam at all.
The answer is simple: These spammers look for vulnerable sites to hijack where they can use web forms to send out email spam messages. They want their message to be published on your site through guestbooks, comments, and other such means. If their message does get published along with their hyperlinks, their SEO can get a huge boost.
How Form Spam Works
People get onto discussion boards and online forums to discuss a range of topics. When spammers post their spam comments on these boards and forums, they meddle with the conversations happening thereby sending out unwanted advertisements and messages. This, naturally, ruins user experience and reduces engagement and website traffic on such sites.
Such spam is generally seen on sites that deal with property listing, classified ads, and job openings. Spammers spam the contact forms of these sites to throw up fake leads that not only irritate the sales teams of these sites but also their advertisers. Site users, therefore, get the feeling that such sites aren’t worth advertising their listings on and move away from them.
These bots also slow down certain apps and websites, causing users to be frustrated and site owners to receive lower rankings on search engines. Since the volumes of such traffic are high, site owners need to spend a lot of money on the up-gradation of bandwidth and infrastructure.
Such irrelevant traffic also distorts website analytics, thereby preventing web managers and marketers from knowing where their traffic comes from, based on which they can form their marketing strategies.
From this, it is obvious that such exercises lead to a lot of losses to any website. These losses include:
Service providers buy bandwidth based on their customer base’s usage. This can be a huge part of the budget of a small service provider. When such sites are hit by spammers with unwanted email, these service providers can either absorb the cost, pass on these costs to their customers or offer customers a slow bandwidth. If customers are unhappy with slow bandwidth, they will move on to other service providers with better bandwidth.
Service providers that don’t deal with the problem of span with lightning speed are spotted by consumers who leave it for another. The reputation of the service provider is, therefore, at stake if he is spotted to have form spam. This can affect his business as a site owner.
Further, if service providers focus only on spam but not other abuse threats, they stand to incur a lot of damage to their professional reputation.
Handling spam through email can be very time-consuming if you consider an abuse desk receiving over 5,000 reports from a bunch of reporters. To deal with this problem, these teams must make informed decisions by aggregating and integrating their intelligence. If their reports are unaggregated, this team will need to deal with each report singly.
How to Prevent Form Spam
It’s an uphill task to protect service providers from receiving form spam. But there are ways of doing this, such as:
- Use the honeypot technique
- By Blocking Comment Spam
- By installing the plugin Anti Spam by Fullworks
- Include a random question in your form which bots won’t be able to answer
- Add reCaptcha to your form
Unfortunately, spam will always be in our midst, so it pays to implement one or many of these prevention tips. They will save you time and you won’t lose your reputation too. You could also combine some of these methods to strengthen yourself from these invaders.