Excellent B2B websites make a world of difference for your brand and business. However, issues such as webform spam could pose a dangerous threat to your website. It could eventually undermine or destroy all your hard work and this is inevitable because spam bots are just lurking around the corner.
Webform Spam Explained
The concept of webform spam is quite different from that of typical email spam. The latter is the result of a large volume of unnecessary form submissions, which could contain irrelevant web links as well as “junk” texts. You can only find these junk submissions in your admin inbox or interface.
Types of Webform Spammers
Two types of spammers bombard webforms and affect your site. Even with different forms, these spammers get very good compensation or else they would not be doing it in the first place. They get paid well thus, they do their job well. It is your job to protect your website and webform from getting abuses in any way possible.
- Manual Spammers. These people are the ones that companies hire to find and abuse webforms manually. Sometimes the task is to find targeted websites and they are challenging to prevent because they can weasel their way into your webform and website.
- Spambots. Unlike their human counterparts, spambots are programs that are set to find all webforms of any kind and abuse them indiscriminately. The main targets of these spammers are the pages that are too lax to let them post comments, spreading links and advertising products. The most common victim to spambots is your contact forms.
Why do spammers use webform spam?
Spammers take advantage of webform spam to promote their own sites or businesses, thus, their own interest with malicious purposes. Their primary goal is to search for the weaknesses and vulnerabilities in your site so that they can hijack your webform, using it to spread their email spam messages.
They also look for ways to convey their messages by publishing them on your website in the form of guestbooks, comments, and other means. Once the message is out with their hyperlinks, they then could convert to SEO boost, which is beneficial to the spammer or their clients.
How does webform spam work?
Manual spammers and spambots are automated systems crawling the web and looking for webforms, filling them out and containing spammy links and texts before submitting the form to your site.
Spreading webform spam is a statistics game, which means that it is a success for spammers if they get their spam through even for just one site. Imagine if they could work them on millions of their target sites online.
Effects of Webform Spam
The contact form that is on your site is one of the most crucial features that you should carefully look into. Webform spam bots threaten the efficiency and quality of your site through attacking and exploiting it when it goes live.
These spambots find webforms and make garbage submissions, preventing your site from getting true leads and authentic customer inquiries. Use the techniques and options for webform spam protection to identify your leads easier as well as enhance your response time to customers.
Combating webform spam only requires a relatively small investment from you. It is well worth it especially if you want to make more sales and get rid of all the spam that promotes the interest of spammers and their clients using malicious and unfair methods.
How to Stop Webform Spam
Make sure that your site software is always up to date so that spammers could not find any vulnerabilities or loopholes in your webform. Use moderation or other means of preventing comments, which would automatically be posted on your site. Use all types of webform protections to avoid any spammy links in your comment feeds or anything that spammers could exploit to abuse your webforms.
These are some of the methods and options that you have to keep webform spam from destroying your webform or site:
One of the first options you have for webform spam protection is to use a honeypot or a hidden field to comment forms. This invisible field functions as a decoy, which spambots would fill out upon encountering a webform. Only spambots could see it and the bots would find it difficult to resist filling out the field. Your system automatically detects spam and rejects it once the data is entered.
All you have to do is add a hidden form field if you want to implement the honeypot technique. You need to hide this form field from users that utilize CSS or other similar methods.
- Captcha (Completely Automated Public Turing Test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart)
The CAPTCHA refers to the script that prevents any spambots from getting access to your webforms without blocking human users, for the most part. You may be familiar with those squiggly letters that you need to retype and submit when you fill out a form. The system is using a CAPTCHA for webform spam protection.
The CAPTCHA system effectively blocks spam yet one of its downsides is that some users find it difficult to read. You may also have heard of a version, which uses audible means, especially for blind people. This version is called ReCAPTCHA. You can listen to something that could help you get through.
CAPTCHA systems are effective in protecting important forms such as registration forms, however, you should not use this method on almost all of your webforms. Putting them on every page could deter visitors from using your website or forms.
- Session Tokens (Cookies)
The method of using sessions tokens focuses on using cookies to set the session tokens every time that the customer would visit the website. Spambots do not set cookies thus, using this method is a good spam deterrent. Most of these automatic spam robots arrive directly to the forms.
Using a session cookie would only allow human users to fill out the form since they have visited the rest of your website. However, this could prevent people who bookmarked your webform from filling out.
- Social Media Sign-On
Social media sign-on is one of the best methods for webform spam protection and this is for several good reasons. Some social networks have mature spam-prevention technologies that ensure protection. Requiring authentication through signing in and third-party verification slows down spam as well.
Why it makes sense?
Webform spam reduction and prevention are some of the top reasons why you use social media sign-on. This method requires the social networking account of individuals to register. They do not allow multiple social media accounts thus, there is no chance of spammers going down or false identities.
On top of protecting your website from spam, social media sign-on also allows quick, simplified, and hassle-free registration, which means more leads. It is good for your business thus, it should be an integral part of your website.
Social Login Implementation Guide
Spammers could not exploit your webforms if you use the social media sign-on for your business website. This method allows your visitors to register and login to your site with just one easy click. Users could not fake an email especially the one they use for their social media account. They also cannot “double opt-in” the email thus, preventing any spambots or manual spammers to exploit this option.
Once the user signs on with their social media, it means that they are using a real profile and email, which is also their primary one. Instead of requiring an email for their webform, the site owner could rather request that the form be sent to them using their social medial email address.
For instance, if the user registers with their Gmail account, the email submitted would be the one that their browser is registered with.
Here are some of the fundamental steps or guide for implementing social media sign-on for webform sign protection:
- Social Login Setup
- Add the necessary table and integrate it into your database
- Implement the functions and access data storage
- Build the basic callback script
- Social Login Registration Page
- Use social login to the registration page of your site
- Utilize a callback script setup
- Social Login Page
- Add the social login to your site’s sign up or login page
- Utilize a callback script setup
- Do the final test
Manual spammers receive money for their work and spambots are programmed to automatically do their job just the same. Using spam is utilizing a malicious and unfair method to have an edge from your competitions.
Spammers are annoying but they get paid to do their job. The only way for you to combat webform spam is to learn the different techniques and options that effectively stop these spammers and spambots from exploiting and destroying your site. It is worth it!