Before I got into blogging and podcasting, I ran a few internet forums. It was easy – setup a YABB (Yet Another Bulletin Board System) forum and let the minions have at. I had some pretty interesting forums in my day, and with it, a lot of controversy. Still, I kept things cleaned and tidy. Spammers were dealt with quickly and swiftly.
I still have one forum running. It’s more of a homage to those days, if anything. There are some that still come on to talk, so I keep it going.
Recently I have seen a lot of forums that have not been touched by a human. The story is the same – the forum owner pretty much abandons it, but keeps the registration simple. Within a couple months, the first spammer shows up. Maybe it’s a post about male growth pills. Maybe it’s about meeting up with girls. Nonetheless, it’s a spammer doing what they do best.
Now normally I wouldn’t care two hoots if you left your forum to deteriorate like an old shack in the middle of the woods. However, the spam starts to grow, and with it malware. Links to websites of naked girls are really sites that try to infect your computer. Links to cool videos turn out to be phishing schemes linking to misleading login pages.
Bottom line – you are infecting computers and allowing people to be swindled out of money.
We as a web community should be aware of what we do. After all, if you do own a house, you want to make sure that it is continually stable in it’s structure. When the power goes down, if the roof leaks, if the basement grows mold – you fix it. That should be the same mentality of a website.
Simple checks of your web domain(s) can keep things running smoothly. Forums that have been over run should be shut down or cleaned up. Deleting forum spam is an important part of being a webmaster.
Even newer websites should have some precautions taken. If you have a blog, make it so comments are moderated first. Install Akismet to block some of the malfeasance. Tie down some areas, including the registrations, so people don’t have to read or accidentally get malware or phished.
Part of keeping the bad stuff off the internet is to make sure the hackers and phishers don’t have a place to put their information – on your dime. And if you don’t have the time or energy to maintain a website, then either lock it down and clean it up or shut it off.
It’s ok to loose interest in something. Heck, I do that all the time. However, you should also clean up your mess you left behind. Otherwise, good people could be swindled out of $250,000 because they think they won a lottery. Good people could loose out just trying to find out about the new miracle male enhancement pill. Most important, you might just get blocked by Google, anti-viral programs, reporting services that keep an eye on the web and a lot more.
You never know when someone gets hit with hacking. Heck, it might even be your family or friends that get affected and infected. You don’t want that, do you?