Spam has Killed the forum. I’ve operated about 15 forums in the past, some of them with up to 12,000 members. phpbb, vbulletin, even a few php-nuke/phpbb sites back in the day. (i usually hate it when people say back in the day, but it works here i guess)
Well it’s official, spammers have killed the whole forum concept. Forums in general are not very profitable, they are historically hard to monetize. It is then compounded even further when you add in hundreds of spammers, spamming your forum. I’ve read the same thing all over the internet, its a game of cat and mouse and we are loosing people. Re-Captcha doesn’t work when your spammer is a real live human being.
I can go to odesk and post a job opening for “data entry” or “link generation” and put the pay scale between $1 and $3 dollars an hour and have 35+ people apply for that job within 24 hours. So even if we can stop the bots we still have to contend with armies of living beings that are impossible to weed out from the regular users.
This level of spam, combined with the rise of the blog, facebook, and twitter have just killed the forum.
What some forums are doing know is banning signature links. Forums are powered by people asking and answering questions, most of the guys answering are IT Professionals of some caliber who are willing to spend hours of their time answering questions.
What is their motivation?
- Signature Links
- Post Counts Boosted
- Some Small Smidgen of Respect
Im going to be honest here, i post my answers in the hopes that I am
- Gaining Some Customers from Sig Links
- Going to get a “Thanks Man”
The whole concept is just awash in spam. I set up a forum to test this idea. Within 5 weeks of setting up the forum I had 147 spam post and 3 non spam posts. Blocking their ip is useless as someone else will just take their place, or they’ll use one of thousands of proxies to change their ip address and gain re-access.
Im not making this post to rally support for the forums and eliminate spam! Im may be dumb, but Im not that dumb. It’s just not possible, never going to happen. This post is more of farewell, my attempt to bring attention to the fact that it is the end of an era. Maybe I’m just oldschool and stating the obvious, maybe everyone else already knows this, maybe no one cares. With blogging you don’t wait around all day for someone to start a topic. You either write or you don’t. You don’t have to wake up and scan your forum for spam. Im grumpy as hell in the morning (no joke not a morning person ask my wife), and I hate having to spend the first minutes or hours of every morning removing, and editing spam.