Thursday, July 3, 2008

Spam Seeps into Social Networks

Like an invasive species, spam continues to creep into social communities with the goal of destroying the trusted bond that exists between members.

I participate in a number of vertical social networks that cater to public relations, social media and marketing professionals, including Gooruze, Sphinn, MyRagan and Brandweek’s At the Roundtable. I get value from the high-quality user-generated content produced by these communities, as well as establish professional connections that support Strategic Communications Group (Strategic) success.

There is an assumed level of trust in messages exchanged between members in these communities, even when a personal connection has yet to be established. I’m afraid that’s now eroding.

Several weeks ago the comments function on my blog on began to be peppered with spam for offshore gambling operations. And just this morning I received this message in my Gooruze Email inbox:

rejoice_dokie@yahoo.comMy name is rejoice i saw your profile today at ( and i love it,i think we can make it together, therefore i would like you to contact me back throug my email address thus:( i will tell you more about myself and i will also send you my photo as soon as you contact me back.Hopping to hear from you soonest, UNDERSTAND THAT LOVE IS ONE, Bless WITH LOVE AND TRUST Thanks and God bless you,Hope to hear from you soonest.rejoice Reply me back so that i can send you my picture for your to know me thanks. (

Are the creators and/or administrators of the social community responsible for weeding this out? Or do we as members of the community have to take ownership?

This is a tough issue, yet one that needs to be addressed. Ultimately, the trust, credibility and viability of social networks depend on it.


Leahn Novash said...

The answer in this case would be 'both'. There is no way the developers / moderators could handle all the sheer volume of spam that will start to pop up after a while, thus they need to give some power to the community to help them. Untimately, though, it is the developers problem to finish them off.

Michael Sebastian said...

Have you seen Aliens, the sequel to Alien? The main characters keep thinking they've prevented the deadly creatures from entering their base and then guess what? The aliens somehow get in. At Ragan, we've collectively felt like those characters for the last week or so.

We finally blocked the spam, but it came with a price; now only MyRagan members can view and comment on blogs. Before anyone, even no members, could view and comment.

We plan to change it soon so that the public will be able to view blogs, but only members can comment.

Hopefully there will be no Alien 3 (cause that movie was no good anyway.)

Michael Sebastian
Ragan Staff Writer

Marc Hausman said...

@Michael - excellent "Aliens" reference.

I suspect it has been a frustrating couple of days for the Ragan team. You invest time and resources to build an online attract a loyal and engaged members...and then this.

It's unfortunate you had to limit access to user generated content to MyRagan members. However, that won't temper my enthusiasm for participating in the community. It's the members who I want to be sure I connect with.