January 22, 2013
Hey guys -
We've been getting hit pretty hard by spam blogs lately, aka splogs. A lot of the times the sploggers will just create a site and then... do nothing. Most of the account don't try to spam anyone; instead, they just sit there with a link in their profile. We have shut down a lot of these so-called "splogs", but they just keep coming. The worst part of splogs is that they are created in such a way that they are slowing down our themes database. As a result, some of our REAL users are having trouble creating accounts or editing their theme
To help address this, we're looking into ways that we can prove that our new users are actually real people. We already have a CAPTCHA in place, but apparently there are now companies in China and India that do nothing but hire humans to defeat CAPTCHA tests. We've tried a number of technical fixes, but a lot of times the technical fixes prevent real users from being able to register accounts.
So we've had to switch gears a bit. After some brainstorming, we've come up with a few new ways we can try and prevent these humans-for-hire from creating fake accounts:
1) AUTHENTICATE USERS FOR FREE: When someone is signing up for an account, we could ask them to authenticate to an outside account (say from Facebook or another login system with strong anti-spam controls - open to suggestions).
2) ACTIVATE USERS FOR PREMIUM: When someone is signing up for an account, we could also allow them to activate their new Xanga site if they paid for a Premium account.
Either way, commenting would still work as usual: as always, commenters could comment through the usual means of:
* Signing into an existing Xanga account
* Signing in to comment through Facebook/Twitter
* Commenting anonymously on your posts (if you've enabled that)
We are hopeful that this combination of approaches should help cut down massively on the amount of splogs created, and allow us to restore peace and harmony to our Themes database.
But before we went ahead with this, we wanted to check with you guys.
What do you guys think of our adding additional checks and controls to the registration process for new bloggers? Please let us know!