“The Frustration Loop”
Spammers and their spam are annoying.
Instead of just blocking them, Herman, author of the Bear blogging platform, had a clever idea to make their lives frustrating:
- When spam is detected, clear the form (so all the info needs to re-typed) and throw an error, eg: “Our servers are bearly managing. Try again later.”
- Disable pasting in all text areas. We can’t make it too easy.
- Every 5 to 10 seconds the element focus switches to a different input so while they’re typing in one area, they may accidentally start typing in another in a mildly annoying way.
- And finally to top it off, if/when they finally manage to submit the form again, throw a different error, eg: “Ensure content contains necessary parameters.”
And it seems to work, as spam dropped from 30% of new blogs to 5%.
When I implemented the contact and comment forms in GoBlog, I noticed that using a CAPTCHA (even if it’s just a simple one) already prevents a lot of the automatic spam. But about once a week, I still get spam comments or contact messages thinking my blog might promote sketchy online casinos.