#1 12-26-2015 7:33 AM

spocklogic
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The Spambuster Club

TravBuddy's can be proactive rather that just reactive to reviews that come up for vote. If enough members vote a review as 'not helpful/trustworthy' it winds up in the Spambuster queue for members to vote on. So, a good practice is to have a look at the 'Recently Updated Blogs and Reviews' on the main page each day and vote suspicious reviews as not helpful. This helps get them in the Spambuster queue and eventually off the site. Even older reviews of a spammy nature, if one runs across them or looks for them, can come up for a Spambuster vote if enough members vote it not helpful/trustworthy.

One type of these older reviews is what I like to call the 'Revenge Review'. The member is not here to participate and, in my opinion, their review has no place here as a venue for them to vent their anger. While such 'revenge reviews' may be accurate, it is impossible to tell to as the member has no credibility here for lack of participation. These types of reviews are generally entirely negative, scathing rants, and thus, spam in my opinion. A methodology is to pick any place and look at the bottom among 1 star reviews and members who have done nothing here since they got their self satisfying revenge. The 1 star 'revenge' reviews are easiest to find. The 5 star spam is harder to find as most of it gets removed pretty quickly, but some of it remains.

I thought a forum post here to start a 'Spambuster Club' might help organize a cadre of TravBuddy members to bring to attention or track down spammy reviews, and post in this forum thread to make others aware. Teaming up with No votes for 'Is this review helpful/trustworthy' will get it in the Spambuster queue and put it to the TravBuddy community to decide. This helps clean up the site and will also serve to aid members in getting their Spambuster award by initiating more reviews to come up for voting. If a review is questionable or borderline, it can be discussed here.

To get started, a quick look turned up a couple 'revenge reviews':

Here's one by a member (http://www.travbuddy.com/AneTurner) who has contributed nothing to the site since 2008 and her one review is what I call the 'revenge' review. I have no problem voting these unhelpful.

And another member (http://www.travbuddy.com/rebek66) contributing nothing since 2010 with just the on 'revenge' review

With that said, Welcome to the Spambuster Club...

 

#2 12-26-2015 8:55 AM

FK27
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Re: The Spambuster Club

spocklogic wrote:

One type of these older reviews is what I like to call the 'Revenge Review'.

Like this one: http://www.travbuddy.com/Factory-Hotel-v312963
Oops, that is your review.

 

#3 12-26-2015 10:53 AM

spocklogic
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Re: The Spambuster Club

FK27 wrote:

spocklogic wrote:

One type of these older reviews is what I like to call the 'Revenge Review'.

Like this one: http://www.travbuddy.com/Factory-Hotel-v312963
Oops, that is your review.

It's ok if the reviewer has some credibility/reputation here via their participation, but if just signing up to post a negative review then its spammy I think. Sometimes the places reviewed really are bad, and a Travbuddy can advise others of their experience, but if the reviewer has no track record here, and lacks some participation level, then their motives are questionable.

 

#4 12-26-2015 8:12 PM

nolan
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Re: The Spambuster Club

I got to upgrade my Spambuster award way faster than I though as I followed Brian's recommendations and voted a few obviously spammy reviews as "Not Helpful" - see my post (#452) at http://www.travbuddy.com/forums/viewtop … 7&p=19

By being a waiting game, Spambuster allows people to police the site better as well as find other ways to contribute. I know it is a challenge (this award was the most challenging for me), but somehow it is a way to add participation to TravBuddy.

 

#5 12-27-2015 8:55 AM

spocklogic
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Re: The Spambuster Club

Here's a suspicious 5 star review:
http://www.travbuddy.com/Trails-of-east … is-v825154

The same review is posted on Lonely Planet:
https://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/ … ca-safaris

Also on Trip-pub:
http://www.trip-pub.com/forum-77499906/ … faris.html

There is the same narrative on Virtual Tourist, but there it's Lipi Adventure Company. The username here is different and the review is from 2011:
http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/Af … -BR-1.html

The others all have the username Foreman and are from 2015. My guess is that perhaps the Virtual Tourist review is the original and perhaps genuine, and the user Forman copied it verbatim, posted it on TravBuddy, lonelyplanet and Trip-pub, replacing Lipi Adventure Company with Trails of east Africa Safaris.

I think this review to be 5* spam...

 

#6 12-28-2015 9:29 PM

spocklogic
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Re: The Spambuster Club

This one reads like spam to me, and the user points out using Luxury Hotels Group to book it:
http://www.travbuddy.com/Grand-Royale-L … rk-v374368

The user also lists luxuryhotelsgroup for a website on profile page, another indication the review is spam.

Another one, possibly spam and certainly not a very helpful review anyway:
http://www.travbuddy.com/The-Crane-Resi … rt-v662486

Last edited by spocklogic (12-28-2015 9:44 PM)

 

#7 12-28-2015 10:02 PM

spocklogic
Brian
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Re: The Spambuster Club

nolan wrote:

I got to upgrade my Spambuster award way faster than I though as I followed Brian's recommendations and voted a few obviously spammy reviews as "Not Helpful" - see my post (#452) at http://www.travbuddy.com/forums/viewtop … 7&p=19

By being a waiting game, Spambuster allows people to police the site better as well as find other ways to contribute. I know it is a challenge (this award was the most challenging for me), but somehow it is a way to add participation to TravBuddy.

Nolan expedited his Spambusting this way. An additional step to be done sometimes is that after giving a review a 'No' vote, or somebody else does, it appears in the Spambuster queue, but the TravBuddy site may not tell you Spam is available to view. Manually open the Spambuster page and open the 'Click here to vote on reviews for the Spambuster award' - http://www.travbuddy.com/spam_reviews.php

 

#8 12-28-2015 11:02 PM

FK27
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Re: The Spambuster Club

spocklogic wrote:

Another one, possibly spam and certainly not a very helpful review anyway:
http://www.travbuddy.com/The-Crane-Resi … rt-v662486

This hotel has an 8.7 rating on booking.com, so it cannot be bad:
http://www.booking.com/hotel/bb/the-cra … rt.de.html
The review author has limited writing skills. Is it a reason to kick his / her review out?

It would be more polite to give the author a personal message how to improve his / her writing skills.

There seems to be a hidden community culture to kick all mediocre writers out. There are "Review Posting Guidelines" (e.g. DO NOT post short reviews that provide no helpful information) which are strictly enforced.

Last edited by FK27 (12-28-2015 11:32 PM)

 

#9 12-29-2015 9:04 AM

spocklogic
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Re: The Spambuster Club

FK27 wrote:

It would be more polite to give the author a personal message how to improve his / her writing skills.

There seems to be a hidden community culture to kick all mediocre writers out. There are "Review Posting Guidelines" (e.g. DO NOT post short reviews that provide no helpful information) which are strictly enforced.

The member has no almost no profile info filled out, a profile photo of the X-men, and has shown no activity here since signing up, with the exception of this one review with generic details. Most times reviews with these indicators are spammy for whatever the motivation is. So, the question "Is the review helpful/trustworthy?" when the user gives no details as a traveler, no profile photo of themselves, does not participate here and writes one generic review.

I don't think there is a hidden culture here to kick out mediocre writers, just keep the site spam free and encourage helpful reviews that members can trust. Members who remain virtually anonymous with a generic review don't speak helpful/trustworthy to me. Many spammers have caught on to the reviews being removed here and have resorted to blog posts instead. I see these frequently, everything from from exercise to toothpaste, and report them as spam. Here are some other ones recent ones:

by user RameeHotelsBahrain: http://www.travbuddy.com/travel-blogs/129845/
by user ratcable2 - http://www.travbuddy.com/travel-blogs/129933/

I don't think anything is strictly enforced here, as the site is just on autopilot. If the members here don't report spam, it will just fill up the site with useless junk to wade through. This stuff is removed by users voting on it or reporting it and removed by a piece of code running, not by any humans monitoring it. So, for spam blogs, users can report spam, and for reviews vote them as No for helpful/trustworthy. Do genuine efforts get removed - most likely, but for the reason they appear as not helpful/trustworthy. That's how I view it...

 

#10 12-29-2015 10:20 AM

stevenguyen
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Re: The Spambuster Club

Every now and then, a review will pop up on my end, but I just have to look for it every now and then. You're right, it is a waiting game. It will definitely take me a while to get that Spambuster Award, but it will be a great day when I do. smile

 

#11 1-2-2016 7:55 AM

nolan
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Re: The Spambuster Club

spocklogic wrote:

FK27 wrote:

It would be more polite to give the author a personal message how to improve his / her writing skills.

There seems to be a hidden community culture to kick all mediocre writers out. There are "Review Posting Guidelines" (e.g. DO NOT post short reviews that provide no helpful information) which are strictly enforced.

The member has no almost no profile info filled out, a profile photo of the X-men, and has shown no activity here since signing up, with the exception of this one review with generic details. Most times reviews with these indicators are spammy for whatever the motivation is. So, the question "Is the review helpful/trustworthy?" when the user gives no details as a traveler, no profile photo of themselves, does not participate here and writes one generic review.

I don't think there is a hidden culture here to kick out mediocre writers, just keep the site spam free and encourage helpful reviews that members can trust. Members who remain virtually anonymous with a generic review don't speak helpful/trustworthy to me. Many spammers have caught on to the reviews being removed here and have resorted to blog posts instead. I see these frequently, everything from from exercise to toothpaste, and report them as spam. Here are some other ones recent ones:

by user RameeHotelsBahrain: http://www.travbuddy.com/travel-blogs/129845/
by user ratcable2 - http://www.travbuddy.com/travel-blogs/129933/

I don't think anything is strictly enforced here, as the site is just on autopilot. If the members here don't report spam, it will just fill up the site with useless junk to wade through. This stuff is removed by users voting on it or reporting it and removed by a piece of code running, not by any humans monitoring it. So, for spam blogs, users can report spam, and for reviews vote them as No for helpful/trustworthy. Do genuine efforts get removed - most likely, but for the reason they appear as not helpful/trustworthy. That's how I view it...

Many spammers start off with review posting, even before filling out their profile info. That is a telltale sign. If they can't post reviews, then they will put spam in their blogs or troll the forums. Obviously I wouldn't be interested in dealing with them except for kicking them out.

Real TravBuddies, on the other hand, are here for the community. If they just wanted information, they can post ahead in the forums and get what they want. Or better yet, GOOGLE. If they don't want to give back in return, then there goes their usefulness.

This site can be used to meet people and develop friendships and even more significant relationships, depending on how the users decide to use such information and interaction. To each his/her own - people have their specific reasons. But for spammers, we know what the reasons are. And they should know that we will hunt them down and kick them out, as needed.

 

#12 1-5-2016 6:03 PM

spocklogic
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Re: The Spambuster Club

Clearly some spam blogs, one for a printer  and the other for selling a house. Help in reporting them to get them off the site. Here are the links:

printer - http://www.travbuddy.com/travel-blogs/129971/

house sale - http://www.travbuddy.com/travel-blogs/129968/

 

#13 1-6-2016 2:40 PM

spocklogic
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Re: The Spambuster Club

And more... Today's spam blogs:

Lemon Juice - http://www.travbuddy.com/travel-blogs/130093/

swimming pool fencing - http://www.travbuddy.com/travel-blogs/130092/

photo books - http://www.travbuddy.com/travel-blogs/130090/

Go to members profile and report spam!

 

#14 1-6-2016 7:09 PM

Zagnut66
Bill
Northern Virginia, United States
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Re: The Spambuster Club

But Brian, it just so happens that I want my pool fenced in while I drink lemon juice and look at photo books.

 

#15 1-6-2016 7:34 PM

stevenguyen
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Re: The Spambuster Club

LOL... I can't report it as spam since there's no Report Spam link to it.

 

#16 1-6-2016 8:06 PM

spocklogic
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Re: The Spambuster Club

Zagnut66 wrote:

But Brian, it just so happens that I want my pool fenced in while I drink lemon juice and look at photo books.

Sounds good. You don't want to print anything while doing all that?

 

#17 1-6-2016 8:07 PM

spocklogic
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Re: The Spambuster Club

stevenguyen wrote:

LOL... I can't report it as spam since there's no Report Spam link to it.

What you do is go to the users profile and in the upper right there is a 'report spam' link. Click on that and in the comment you can just state spam blog.

 

#18 1-7-2016 3:43 PM

spocklogic
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Re: The Spambuster Club

These reviews seem normal enough, but a search of the text in these reviews reveals them to be posted verbatim on all kinds of web sites: Kudzu, Yelp, Virtual Tourist, Orbitz etc and with various names for the hotel

http://www.travbuddy.com/Rodeway-Inn-Mi … ue-v519805
http://www.travbuddy.com/Americas-Best- … les-v16798

Both are by the same user - http://www.travbuddy.com/lauraeng

Interestingly, one of the above reviews is also posted on Virtual Tourist under a different hotel name. The user there is floresserena2011, and guess what, there is a user with that name who signed up on this site and posted this review:

http://www.travbuddy.com/Holiday-Inn-Lo … 165#298421

These users here: lauraeng and floresserena2011 have that typical spammer MO - no details about themselves, no profile photo and no participation. Just reviews. The three reviews listed in this post are all spam in my opinion.

If you think so too then make your 'No' vote on the review for: Was this review helpful and trustworthy to you? yes / no

Last edited by spocklogic (1-7-2016 3:53 PM)

 

#19 1-7-2016 11:01 PM

nolan
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Re: The Spambuster Club

Count on Brian to sniff out those spammers and spammers in waiting!

It would be nice to be able to have TravBuddy auto-purge those with nothing on their profiles. Even lurkers should at least have some info on their profile.

 

#20 1-8-2016 3:08 AM

stefmuts
Stefanie
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Re: The Spambuster Club

This is a great idea Brian! I came across some in the past and just clicked them away, not thinking about reporting them as spam on their profile
Next time I will and post the link here
Gonna look at the ones you already found and click some report buttons smile

 

#21 1-8-2016 3:20 AM

stefmuts
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Re: The Spambuster Club

stevenguyen wrote:

LOL... I can't report it as spam since there's no Report Spam link to it.

spocklogic wrote:

Go to members profile and report spam!

No report button on the blogs but if you check the profile page there is, and notice how empty the profiles connected to these blogs are

 

#22 1-8-2016 5:59 AM

WalterC
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Re: The Spambuster Club

Only problem with spam blogs, I believe, is that only Eric and David are the ones who could delete them. So it does look like they won't be going away for some time, if ever.

And I have reported a few spammy blogs in the past, but they are still on here. Noticed this one when I was re-working on one of my earlier blogs...

http://www.travbuddy.com/travel-blogs/19636/

With reviews, I can recall this thread...http://www.travbuddy.com/forums/viewtopic.php?id=33955

 

#23 1-8-2016 6:58 AM

stefmuts
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Re: The Spambuster Club

Well, if not reported were sure nothing will happen so I just do my bit

 

#24 1-9-2016 9:17 AM

spocklogic
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Re: The Spambuster Club

stefmuts wrote:

Well, if not reported were sure nothing will happen so I just do my bit

Bravo!

 

#25 1-9-2016 5:37 PM

spocklogic
Brian
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Re: The Spambuster Club

WalterC wrote:

Only problem with spam blogs, I believe, is that only Eric and David are the ones who could delete them. So it does look like they won't be going away for some time, if ever.

And I have reported a few spammy blogs in the past, but they are still on here. Noticed this one when I was re-working on one of my earlier blogs...

http://www.travbuddy.com/travel-blogs/19636/

With reviews, I can recall this thread...http://www.travbuddy.com/forums/viewtopic.php?id=33955

I reported that spammy profile/blog this morning that you gave a link for - It's gone now! Just have to have enough people to report it I think and it will be removed. It might help if comment is given on the spam report like 'spam profile' or 'spam blog', which is what I usually do.

Good you mention an earlier thread on spam - http://www.travbuddy.com/forums/viewtopic.php?id=33955 and there is some good feedback there too.

Last edited by spocklogic (1-9-2016 5:50 PM)

 

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