Why can't I see this post?

In this thread in GQ I suggested that it would be better off in Cafe Society. There are no further posts in that thread, but I’ve just received an email saying that Athena12 has posted:

Why can’t I see this post?

A search for posts by member Athena12 returns no matches so my guess is we’re looking at something in the footwear department.

Or canned meat.

Yup. Rico banned this one and deleted the post. Reason given: “Out, damned spammer!”

What a strange way to spam.

The actual post probably had 1 or more random words as links to something. I spotted and reported one like that, once.

Forum spam is one of the biggest growth industries on the net, expanding from negligible proportions a few years ago to juggernaut size today. There are several variants: the obvious ones who name their products in the post, the less obvious who don’t mention a product but generate some innocuous text (becoming more and targeted to the specific forum) or don’t post at all but register and hide themselves in the profile. The last two sorts are concerned with search engine rankings, I think, the more sites they’re somehow linked to the higher they get. ‘Invisible’ links in posts are popular too, you can’t see them unless you highlight them.

I’ve seen this many times before. A spammer will register and his first post is something very innocuous, such as:

Note the generic, nothing specific, the spelling errors, and the stilted grammar. All point to a spammer. They are testing the board, making sure they have the right to post, trying not to draw attention to themselves. Seeing if the moderators are paying attention.

Then they spam.

Another new thing I’ve seen is a link to their store in white text, so it does not show up. But it will help them in Google positioning, as we now are providing a link back to their site.

Here’s an example. Roll your mouse over the white space in this sentence and see how it’s a link. [COLOR=“White”]http://www.google.com[/COLOR] Or better still, highlight it with your mouse.

It’s WAR, I tell ya!

One of the giveaways, besides the weird, nonsensical usernames, is the way the profile is filled out. Like this:

About Spammername

And on the contact page is not only a full email but a ICQ contact.

Hidden messages in a white font?
Nazi Supermen are our Superiors
Who would do such a dastardly thing?
Don’t forget to drink your Ovaltine

Can’t you have a tech admin disable the BBCode colour option to prevent the use of white?

  1. I hope not. It’s the only way to spoiler just a single word around here without looking stupid

  2. Then again, if you only get rid of solid white, that would stop most spammers, and wouldn’t be too bad, as the background to the board is actually #f8f8f8–a really, really light gray.