User Profile Spam

We’ve noticed that spammers are creating Pligg accounts across multiple Pligg websites and they are using the user profile homepage field to insert links to spam websites. To help you fight this kind of spam we have added a small change to the Akismet module that will have it check user profile fields for spam and block suspicious profile changes. This update will be included in the next version of Pligg CMS, along with a few other features to help prevent this unwanted content from appearing on your domain.

For those of you who take pride in maintaining a spam-free website, we have a few tips for dealing with this profile spam so that you don’t have to wait for the next update. First we have prepared a couple simple commands that you can run from phpMyAdmin to check for spam URLs and clear out all user profile URLs altogether. The first snippet below will return a list of all members of your site who have a URL specified from their user profile area. This will allow you to quickly identify suspicious users and you could even remove them from the database entirely at the click of a button.

SELECT pligg_users.user_id, pligg_users.user_login, pligg_users.user_url FROM pligg_users WHERE pligg_users.user_url <> “”

This next snippet will remove all user profile URLs from your website. I’ve run similar code on Pligg’s forums (vBulletin) to remove all signatures from user profiles. I had noticed a large number of spammer profiles who were inactive, but they still had signatures directing to bad websites. A simple cleaning removed all of those signatures and wiped the slate clean making it easier for me to maintain a spam-free website.

UPDATE pligg_users SET user_url=”
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3 thoughts on “User Profile Spam

  1. One way to discourage profile link-spam, is to apply a “no-follow” attribute to the URLs in your profile link template.

    Most of these spammers aren’t looking to get traffic from your site necessarily, but a “backlink” for SEO purposes. Adding in the “no-follow” makes them look elsewhere for a do-follow site.

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