Thoughts about WoW Gold & other spammers.

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thecoalman
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Re: Thoughts about WoW Gold & other spammers.

Post by thecoalman »

Hello Worker 11811 fellow Pennsylvanian. :D

AND IF google-search(new_registrant_username) > 100 hits
I can see multiple problems with that... thecoalman returns 10,800 hits. :lol:

Besides its against Googles AUP to use it for automated queries.

This problem of human spammers is only going to get worse, it's a booming business:

Inside India’s CAPTCHA solving economy
No CAPTCHA can survive a human that’s receiving financial incentives for solving it, and with an army of low-wagedIndia CAPTCHA breakers human CAPTCHA solvers officially in the business of “data processing” while earning a mere $2 for solving a thousand CAPTCHA’s, I’m already starting to see evidence of consolidation between India’s major CAPTCHA solving companies. The consolidation logically leading to increased bargaining power, is resulting in an international franchising model recruiting data processing workers empowered with do-it-yourself CAPTCHA syndication web based kits, API keys, and thousands of proxies to make their work easier, and the process more efficient.
Issues like these will mount in the future and how to solve them is going to be increasingly difficult without interfering with the legitimate users experience. Captcha's as they are now are becoming annoyingly harder and harder to solve and it's just a matter of time before the image Captcha is dead either through human solvers or advanced bots with a higher success rate.

I think in the end the only really good solution is to set up as many roadblocks as you can that don't interfere with the users experinece and have a good moderator team.
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Re: Thoughts about WoW Gold & other spammers.

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Proven Offensive Security Expertise. OSCP - GXPN
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Re: Thoughts about WoW Gold & other spammers.

Post by jaunty_mellifluous »

IF new_registrant_IP = blacklisted
AND IF new_registrant_email contains "@gmail.com"
AND IF google-search(new_registrant_username) > 100 hits
THEN new_registrant = spammer
Well, based on those rules, I'm already blocked on your site. lol.

This isn't a real solution. Those type of rules will annoy genuine users more than it will annoy your everyday young little spammer. Spammers can use proxies so you won't really know if they're from blacklisted areas.

If Captcha isn't working then could we implement other technologies, like eye recognition, voice recognition or any other type of recognition? I read somewhere that eye recognition isn't something very hard to implement these days. Would they be cost effective? Especially for Bulletin Boards, which are under discussion at the moment.

Patterns held in eyes, voice, or even finger prints are extremely unique but it's also confidential type of information. So the main thing is, even if these methods of recognition are implemented, would people be willing to use them?

Again, every new security method will end up annoying only the genuine users that come to your forums.
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Re: Thoughts about WoW Gold & other spammers.

Post by kevinhemm »

Why gold spammers spam, from a gold spammer!

Hey folks, I was running around looking for pages to spam to, when I stumbled over this page. I thought I'd take some time out of my busy schedule and explain a little why its done.

Its all about google. Not a single gold spammer expects someone will see their link spammed on some forum post and expect that they'll make a penny from that link. The problem is that google has an algorithm that says "if you are an important website, people will link to you".

People do link to things they like, like youtube or their favorite movie site, etc. The base of people who purchase online gold is large, but its not that large. The percentage out of that group who would say "oh I had a wonderful experience with this website when I purchased gold" ... and stick the proper anchor text in the link, is probably close to zero.

So there is the problem: Google doesn't consider your site important unless people link to you, and a big fat zero people are willing to link to you. This is a billion dollar market, people spend a billion dollars every year on gold inside of online games. Nobody is willing to go past the top 10 results in google (or maybe the top 20) so if your website is 21 you'll never get one sale.

The only solution: spam. I guess another solution would be to not be involved in gold sales to begin with, but thats not an option I'm going to take.

Just to give an example of what I'm talking about with links, I have a wonderful website that I designed for over a year. It is a very complex site, a search engine for an online game, that utilizes ajax, php, mysql, dhtml, adobe flash, you name it ... web 2.0 all the way. People love the site, but they don't link to it. (I'm posting the site at the end of this article). Anyways, I was #30 in google for my targeted keywords before I started spamming. Spam is necessary to succeed in business, and you can thank google's algorithm for it.

On the flip side, about the sweat shops, it really isn't like that (at least for me or anyone I know). Give you an example of one of my employees here in the Philippines. She's 28 and has a child. She's fluent in Japanese and English. She has no employment (she's been studying the last few years to become an assistant in a Japanese call center, but her paperwork wasn't approved to move there). Even if they accepted her, she'd be separated from her child while out of the country getting work. Here in the philippines, a normal job pays $150 a month (about 6,000 pesos), thats a GOOD job. Government job pays about twice that, but they're limited. I pay my girl a base of 5000 pesos with room, board and food, that 5000 pesos is pretty much 100% hers to spend. I don't board her child (child stays with her grandparents), but the child is a half hour bus ride away and she sees her several times a week.

There really isn't any sweat involved, except for me. I'm American I'm not used to the climate here, everyone complains I keep the place too cold with air conditioning. She sits in front of a computer 10 hours a day, 6 days a week (everyone works that much here, I work more than that, most Americans are plain lazy) ... I also let her chat with American men for up to an hour a day if she wants to, so she can find an American to marry. She would be horrified if I stopped employing her, she's happy her child has new clothes and she can save for their future. She's one of my spammers, I have more and will be employing more in the future.

All I'm trying to say is this ...
- spammers are not quite that evil, they're doing exactly what google requires of them to succeed
- the workers (mine anyways) are thrilled to be able to do it, sitting in front of a computer is easy
- there really isn't any other way

All that said, I hope you won't mind if I inject a little of my spam!

xxxxxx] one of the games I sell gold for a game called Ultima Online (I sell wow gold too but I'm not out spamming for that today). This site is a nice site, this is the search engine 2.0 web one I was talking about. I spent more than a year developing this site. Its a pitty that google considers it a piece of crap unless I spam spam spam.

xxxxxx the search engine of my site.

I'm also out advertising my Age of Conan gold for sale at xxxxx and xxxxxx

Normally I'm not the one that does the spamming, I'm just out trying to recognize patterns so I can automate the process and teach my gals how to spam a little better.

That gives some insight into the mind of the spammer.
Last edited by primedomain on Thu Dec 04, 2008 9:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: links removed
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Re: Thoughts about WoW Gold & other spammers.

Post by Kim_Possible »

Deliberately violating a community's Terms of Service and spamming where you aren't wanted is unethical. Plain and simple.
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Re: Thoughts about WoW Gold & other spammers.

Post by kevinhemm »

kevinhemm wrote:
xxxxxx] one of the games I sell gold for a game called Ultima Online (I sell wow gold too but I'm not out spamming for that today). This site is a nice site, this is the search engine 2.0 web one I was talking about. I spent more than a year developing this site. Its a pitty that google considers it a piece of crap unless I spam spam spam.

xxxxxx the search engine of my site.

I'm also out advertising my Age of Conan gold for sale at xxxxx and xxxxxx
I just wanted to make one more point.

My post was on topic. I spent a half hour to write it. I posted quality insight on the topic and I think every reader of this forum would benefit from the post. In fact its probably the most insightful post of the thread.

My on-topic links were deleted out ... and thats fine. You guys really just went out of your way to prove my point though. If I can't earn a link to my website by spending a half hour writing an on-topic post to get a link to my site, what other way is there? And now everyone else is scratching their heads wondering, what kind of quality web 2.0 website was he talking about that could never rank without spam? Now they'll never know ...

Its ok though, spending a half hour of my time to write quality on-topic posts with on-topic links to earn a link to my website isn't my business model, because obviously it would fail horribly.
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Re: Thoughts about WoW Gold & other spammers.

Post by stickerboy »

Your link were removed because the constitute as spam according to our board rules. It's fine to link to another website in your post, but you were blatantly spamming/advertising your site. More information here and the linked rules within that.
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Re: Thoughts about WoW Gold & other spammers.

Post by Kim_Possible »

If I can't earn a link to my website by spending a half hour writing an on-topic post to get a link to my site, what other way is there?
By posting your links on a board that actually wants them and doesn't have rules prohibiting them. ;)

And, of course, if you are having trouble finding any place that actually invites spam, well, that should tell you something.
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Re: Thoughts about WoW Gold & other spammers.

Post by ToonArmy »

kevinhemm wrote:Its all about google. Not a single gold spammer expects someone will see their link spammed on some forum post and expect that they'll make a penny from that link. The problem is that google has an algorithm that says "if you are an important website, people will link to you".
You realise Google's algorithms are a lot cleverer than this and I they have provisions in place for sites that try to boost ratings through mass distributed link stuffing. Sure you can gain increases in rankings but nothing is fool proof, do you really think Google 'thinks' 'gee this website must be really good' because somebody linked to it 10 times on the same page? Any how there is no real point in discussion Google's algorithms, we don't know what they do, and we are only basing our arguments on observations.
kevinhemm wrote:The only solution: spam. I guess another solution would be to not be involved in gold sales to begin with, but thats not an option I'm going to take.
As you have said its not the only option, but instead you choose the unethical one. The one that ruins the freedom of the Web and introduces the need to police it.
kevinhemm wrote:Here in the philippines, a normal job pays $150 a month (about 6,000 pesos), thats a GOOD job. Government job pays about twice that, but they're limited. I pay my girl a base of 5000 pesos with room, board and food, that 5000 pesos is pretty much 100% hers to spend. I don't board her child (child stays with her grandparents), but the child is a half hour bus ride away and she sees her several times a week.
"pretty much" huh?!? And what percentage is that wage of your total earnings?
kevinhemm wrote:She sits in front of a computer 10 hours a day, 6 days a week (everyone works that much here, I work more than that, most Americans are plain lazy) ...
Yeah but 60 hours a week behind a computer is not healthy, especially if you do not have a decent working environment.
kevinhemm wrote:All I'm trying to say is this ...
- spammers are not quite that evil, they're doing exactly what google requires of them to succeed
- the workers (mine anyways) are thrilled to be able to do it, sitting in front of a computer is easy
- there really isn't any other way
No you are just unethical and a right pain in the ****. You reap huge rewards for very little effort on your own part, especially compared to honest jobs in developed country, and especially compared to what your workers earn. I do wonder why you don't do this in the United States of America? Is it because you would be locked up? Doesn't that say something?
kevinhemm wrote:Normally I'm not the one that does the spamming, I'm just out trying to recognize patterns so I can automate the process and teach my gals how to spam a little better.
Recognise what patterns exactly?
kevinhemm wrote:That gives some insight into the mind of the spammer.
Cheers, confirmed what I always thought. You are motivated by pure greed, nothing more nothing less. But that is human nature.
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Re: Thoughts about WoW Gold & other spammers.

Post by kevinhemm »

ToonArmy wrote:You realise Google's algorithms are a lot cleverer than this and I they have provisions in place for sites that try to boost ratings through mass distributed link stuffing. Sure you can gain increases in rankings but nothing is fool proof, do you really think Google 'thinks' 'gee this website must be really good' because somebody linked to it 10 times on the same page? Any how there is no real point in discussion Google's algorithms, we don't know what they do, and we are only basing our arguments on observations.
Go to google. Type this ... "wow gold". Take any of the top resulting pages (I'll use example.com but you switch it with any of the top sites).

Next type "link:example.com"

There you go ToonArmy, you're all set now. Now you know exactly what google's algorithms do. In case it doesn't make sense, its showing the top 10 sites selling wow gold are 100% (not 99.9%) lifted to their status through spam, hundreds of thousands of spam links. Now you know that google really does say "gee this website must be really good because people link to it". Now you know that google doesn't penalize any website who spams, they reward it ... in fact they are the only ones rewarded.

This is why I posted in the first place, nobody understands why spammers spam. If you outright refuse to believe google gives benefits to spammers then you can't even begin a proper truthful discussion on the topic.
ToonArmy wrote:As you have said its not the only option, but instead you choose the unethical one. The one that ruins the freedom of the Web and introduces the need to police it.
Not here to justify myself, I posted for your benefit not mine. :D
ToonArmy wrote:"pretty much" huh?!? And what percentage is that wage of your total earnings?
Hmmm, I probably make 50 times more than the average filipino. But I'm relatively new, I expect that to increase.
ToonArmy wrote:Yeah but 60 hours a week behind a computer is not healthy, especially if you do not have a decent working environment.
Not exactly sure why you'd guess she has an undecent working environment. The average American spends 40 hours in front of the boob toob. She is boarded in my house and its a nice house, alot better than the one she used to live in. Her water she bathes in is treated, unlike the water from the provinces that give you horrible skin infections. She eats whatever she wants to eat whenever, takes breaks, has fun, chats with guys online to find an American husband. She's best friends with my future wife, they go out fun shopping and to the malls all the time, I'm sure if she felt like she was being abused I'd be hearing about it. I'm 37 and I've been in front of a computer for 12+ hours every day for the last 20 years and I can't say my health is any worse for it.
ToonArmy wrote:No you are just unethical and a right pain in the ****. You reap huge rewards for very little effort on your own part, especially compared to honest jobs in developed country, and especially compared to what your workers earn.
As far as huge rewards for "little effort", thats the American dream is it not? Except I work hard hehe, at least 12 hours every day. Not sure what the ratio of my wages vs theirs has anything to do with anything, would you have been happy if I only made 20% more than they do?

Whether or not its unethical is debatable ... I tried showing everyone a little bit of the other side of things. Would everyone feel less bad about spam if they knew it was feeding a family that otherwise wouldn't be getting fed? Obviously some wouldn't care.
ToonArmy wrote:I do wonder why you don't do this in the United States of America? Is it because you would be locked up? Doesn't that say something?
My fiancee (soon to be married) is from the Philippines. I moved here about a year ago to help get through the current worldwide financial depression. Money spends here about 10 times better than the US, food is 1/10th the price, housing is 1/10th the price, etc. My salary is comparable to a US professional, it spends 10 times better than that though.

I did that here, I posted COMPLETELY on topic, my links were COMPLETELY on topic, but they deleted my links. Were my links defined as spam, when they were on topic? I don't think so. Posting links to your website is what alot of the internet is all about. Every day people post millions of messages on other people's sites to their own sites, its condoned and encouraged if its on topic. I contributed alot of unique content to this thread, don't I deserve a link? I think I do, the admin thinks I don't, fine. Am I running to the Philippines hiding scared I'll go to jail because I tried to get that link? Oh please, lol.
ToonArmy wrote:Recognise what patterns exactly?
A good example of this is the google link earlier in the thread, showing all the pages spammed to by that one account. When I see something like that, I say to myself "I have just identified 37k forums that are easily spammed to". I found this particular page by searching for "phpbb wow gold" ... identifying various phpbb sites that already have wow spam (if they already have spam, and the spam has lasted long enough to remain in google, that means spamming there is more profitable because chances are, the spam will last longer without being deleted).
ToonArmy wrote:Cheers, confirmed what I always thought. You are motivated by pure greed, nothing more nothing less. But that is human nature.
Again I'm not here to justify myself. I posted to this thread because there were dozens of people pondering about wow gold spammers, why they do it and what to do about them. Just thought people would like some insight as to the why (google algorithm).

Ok thats enough of my quality time for you all, I'm not used to spending so much time crafting quality content and insightful posts without the ability to receive a link out of it. I won't be back to read or respond to posts, hope everyone found it insightful but I've got work to do. See ya. :D
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Re: Thoughts about WoW Gold & other spammers.

Post by darcie »

kevinhemm wrote:This is why I posted in the first place, nobody understands why spammers spam. If you outright refuse to believe google gives benefits to spammers then you can't even begin a proper truthful discussion on the topic.
My feeling, as an internet user rather than a team member here, is that spammers spam because they can. Google may seemingly "reward" the additional links put out there when spam is posted, but does that make it right? Just because that one guy got away with it, everyone else should too? It is still underhanded and unethical, no matter how often it occurs. My feeling is that there are too many un-policed sites out there installed but ignored and left to linger as spam farms. I've even sent emails to domain owners in the past when I've found unattended forums or blogs collecting junk and asked them to consider disabling or removing their unused site.
kevinhemm wrote:I did that here, I posted COMPLETELY on topic, my links were COMPLETELY on topic, but they deleted my links. Were my links defined as spam, when they were on topic? I don't think so. Posting links to your website is what alot of the internet is all about. Every day people post millions of messages on other people's sites to their own sites, its condoned and encouraged if its on topic. I contributed alot of unique content to this thread, don't I deserve a link? I think I do, the admin thinks I don't, fine. Am I running to the Philippines hiding scared I'll go to jail because I tried to get that link? Oh please, lol.
As was already mentioned to you, had you followed the rule link provided, is that no links to your own site will be allowed here. Not simply for you as a card-carrying spammer, but for all users. While the links were related to the topic, they were not on topic as providing additional content to the subject of discussion. While other sites may encourage or allow linking in return for contributions, that is not what this forum or this site is about. Discussion between members needs no offer of reward for people to want to contribute. I personally appreciate your thoughts on the subject, but I in no way want to visit your site in return, nor do I feel that a compensation of allowing your link for the time spent posting is deserved.
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Re: Thoughts about WoW Gold & other spammers.

Post by phpDummie »

I guess I'll pitch in a couple of cents into this too.

First of all, the cheep labor is not the problem, the problem is with those who hire cheep labor to spread the spam, and, as far as I can tell, that money doesn't come from India. We can try to fight the symptoms but the malady will persist until the root cause is addressed.

About the CAPTCHA. I am a great believer in customizable CAPTCHAs, as all standard versions seem to become cracked sooner or later. Long time ago I started with Smartor's CAPTCHA for phpbb2. I helped for a while and it got broken. All I had to do though, was to slightly alter CAPTCHA's .gif files and I had no bots until phpbb2 released its own standard, unmodifiable CAPTCHA.

The CAPTCHA supposed to be language-independent, but if you target a specific language group, making it language-specific will only strengthen its protection.

Most importantly, targeting the postings seems to me a better way of fighting spam. Even if you defer all the bots, you will still be helpless against a low-waged human. That is until the human posts. 99% of the time it is easily determined if a posting is a spam. It is so easy, it's automatable. If a user puts an URL into his first posting, the post goes into moderation. That's it. Target the content of the posting and forget about sophisticated CAPTCHAs.
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Re: Thoughts about WoW Gold & other spammers.

Post by Lumpy Burgertushie »

for kevinhemm:

the thing is, that you can get to the number one listing in google etc. without any of that spamming.

if you understand and apply the methods that google etc. require, it is much easier and cheaper than the methods you are currently using. not to mention that it is even legal and ethical.

bottom line;

you are lazy and unethical just like all the other spammers.

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Re: Thoughts about WoW Gold & other spammers.

Post by chi. »

interesting take by the kevinhemm, the WoW Gold cartel leader. unfortunately for him, his plan is flawed and Google is always tinkering their algorithm. the links have to be relevant to the site and of high reputation/regard in that niche. so if all the major World of Warcraft sites started linking to his site, he'd be "gold" but he's getting nowhere having links from non-niche sites. they also have to follow a natural progression such as maybe 5 additional links a day could seem natural. the addition of 100 or 1000 links daily is obviously spam unless something made news (octo babies, swine flu, etc...). now i never bothered checking the wow links that attempt to get added to my site daily but i'm sure they're nowhere near the top of the Google rankings for his key words. the guy is digging himself into a hole.
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Re: Thoughts about WoW Gold & other spammers.

Post by Dog Cow »

Dog Cow's thought about Wow Gold spammings:

1.) This is a useful service; I have been able to benefit greatly from increased 1337 goldz and p0wnzerz and all of those other pimply hyperboles.

2.) I'll eat my own hat if Google can't recognize forum spam, or indeed, any other type of spam. It just doesn't fit in with what your site is about. Semantic keyword scanning is only too easy; what's to say that Google doesn't employ it? Their spider goes around and scrapes the HTML of your pages, then they have another program which can sit around and analyze it until kingdom come.

Look at it this way: it is to Google's advantage to be able to detect and eliminate spam from their search index, because one of their missions with their search engine is to provide useful results to the users.

If anyone thinks that he has got the "1-up" on Google, or Yahoo, or any of the other search engines, that's laughable. Maybe you do for a moment, but you're just one person against thousands of paid employees who want to provide the Number 1 search engine.
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