It’s no longer a matter of what to do if spammers find your websites, it’s what to do when spammers find your website. It’s going to happen.
Snipplr is just ripe for spammers. Think about it. We allow anyone to create an account – no email validation required. Then, we let people post snippets which automatically appear on the front page along with any text they enter.
So how do we prevent spam from becoming a problem?
The obvious answer, and one that I don’t want to implement is to force users to register with a valid email address. Email addresses are a dime a dozen now. You can create a fake email address just for Snipplr with any number of online services. In fact, looking through the current list of users, I can see that about 40% are using fake email addresses. Forcing them to use a real one accomplishes nothing other than annoying the users and creating another barrier they have to get past before using this website.
The next option is to use a captcha every time someone posts a new snippet. (You know, one of those boxes with curvy letters that you have to decipher to proove you’re human.) This would help stop spam, but it would become tedious for people who post a lot.
Snipplr is closely modeled after del.icio.us. That said, I’m leaning towards the method they and other social bookmarking sites use: let the users report spammy snippets. A small “report this” link could be added next to each snippet. If a snippet gets enough spam votes, the system can automatically remove it from the site and place it in a holding queue until it can be manually reviewed by a moderator.
Another similar option is to prevent new users’ snippets from appearing on the front page until they’ve been verified. While tedious for the admins, it’s better than forcing the user to jump through email and captcha hoops.
Any Snipplr users have suggestions? Post them in the comments below.