New tools to combat spammers  

Andrew 50M  
3918 posts
3/24/2014 11:58 am

Last Read:
11/4/2014 11:38 am

New tools to combat spammers

The key mission of this site has always been to get people hooked up with real people. One of my biggest frustrations is with spammers trying to get member contact information so they can market websites and other things. A primary way they do this is to create a number of free accounts and then interact with members to ask them for personal email addresses or external IM account names. Not only does this put members at risk of spam, it reduces the credibility of our millions of real members, which then reduces member happiness and ultimately leads to lower revenue. It is in both the members and company's best interest to fight spammers.

For many years, we have had 10+ employee team using a 3 prong approach to combat spammers:

1. proactive delete accounts which appear to not be valid by using lots of secret techniques similar to how google/yahoo/etc look for spammers. While we delete most of the spammer accounts this way, it's not always obvious which accounts should be deleted.

2. reactively delete accounts that are reported by other members.

3. put limits on what personal contact information that can be shared between members during their first 2 email exchanges.

The third tool helps reduce spam by cutting off the reward of the spammer... that is, the members personal contact info. It also, however, upsets members who want to give this info right away. While I was away from the company, the management felt that improvements in the way we proactively delete accounts could enabling a softening of the "no contact info in the first 2 email exchange" rule.

Since I've returned, I've listened to member complaints about spammers and am making them a high priority.

To that end, we are again informing members not to share personal contact information on their first email. E.g., "To reduce abuse and ensure your message is delivered, please do not include your contact information in your first message to another member.".

This gives us permission not to forward the first two messages that either asks or gives for contact info.

I understand that this might upset members but I am confident that once we cut off spammer's motivation, we can improve the overall member experience.

We have also upgraded several internal tools recently and will continue to improve the process.

There are few things you can do to help as well. First is to continue report any member who appears to be sending spam. We will soon show the "report spam" button more prominently in the message center. Second, you can upload a photo of you and a piece of paper with your username on it. This way, you can have a verified photo which will give you more freedoms on the website.

Thanks for your suggestions!


rdy2try4 53F  
3137 posts
3/24/2014 6:59 pm

I LOVE this idea, always have. Even if they are not scammers/spammers someone giving out their phone number immediately, don't people realize they can put it into search engines and find out where you live??? It isn't the safest thing to do right out of the gate is all I am saying.

As for the fakes, there is not only a myriad of fake women photos on here, there is a plethora of fake penis! Seriously, I can't get over how many guys are using stolen porn photos from gay porn sites for dick shots. I don't think anyone, male OR female, should be using photos that can be found all over the internet. I am not sure who does the reviewing, but I have seen Al Capone, Elvis Presley, Richard Simmons, and even Al Pacino on profiles. Most definitely I will help if ya want it!! This is just ridiculous is all. The fake women's profiles are about the same... Christy Brinkley, Halle Berry.. to name a few.


Andrew replies on 3/25/2014 3:15 pm:
Working on it.

rdy2try4 53F  
3137 posts
3/24/2014 7:01 pm

BTW.. are the messages we get from people that send the same message to 500 women hoping that playing the numbers they will get laid included in the spamming definition?


Andrew replies on 3/25/2014 3:16 pm:
I believe that even gold members can't send unlimited emails...

anastasia666 40F  
1929 posts
3/25/2014 2:47 am

Andrew,

Thanks for sharing this post with all Members. I remember way back in the 90's..( My Sis was one of your first members here ) You were not allowed to send any personal info in the chat rooms or by the msg center until you had exchanged at least 5 emails with a fellow member. Members who tried to do that were banned and if you kept breaking the rules your account was deleted for good. Suddenly that changed and we all began receiving emails from members with the subject line being their phone number or email address. I ended up replying to all these emails and suggesting they not send contact info to people they do not know. All of the replies I received were grateful ones. Men telling me they wondered why no other women called them or emailed them back. Usually they said they were just so excited to be here they did not think of the consequences of handing out their private information. I think anything that can help the site ( fight spamming & con artists ) function better and improve the experience for members is a solid Plus indeed.

Thanks Boss,

Ana6

I done made the devil a deal
He made me pretty
He made me smart


copticus 66M
1504 posts
3/25/2014 5:11 am

In general it's fairly easy to spot the spammers but occasionally you do run into profiles that look like spam candidates but are real so I can see your problem. I think the rule about not exchanging personal info email/phone etc in the first couple of messages is a good one - although in general I think that your approaches to dealing with spam are working well.

I don't see spam as a big issue and anyone who's going to fall for the one-line email/phone number, "my computer's broken" approach is probably going to have other issues but it's good to see that you're doing your best to protect them.

Thanks


Andrew replies on 3/25/2014 3:18 pm:
I think that even our message notice is having a positive effect... to put guys on guard too.

needluv694me 71M  
483 posts
3/25/2014 6:24 am

I agree that stealing of photos (and "introduction" text, too) is a problem, but I would NOT like to see all right-click functions disabled, since this will make it impossible to do Google and TinEye searches on photos to help verify authenticity...it's one of the few tools members have to identify fakes.
.


needluv694me 71M  
483 posts
3/25/2014 7:01 am

    Quoting rdy2try4:
    I LOVE this idea, always have. Even if they are not scammers/spammers someone giving out their phone number immediately, don't people realize they can put it into search engines and find out where you live??? It isn't the safest thing to do right out of the gate is all I am saying.

    As for the fakes, there is not only a myriad of fake women photos on here, there is a plethora of fake penis! Seriously, I can't get over how many guys are using stolen porn photos from gay porn sites for dick shots. I don't think anyone, male OR female, should be using photos that can be found all over the internet. I am not sure who does the reviewing, but I have seen Al Capone, Elvis Presley, Richard Simmons, and even Al Pacino on profiles. Most definitely I will help if ya want it!! This is just ridiculous is all. The fake women's profiles are about the same... Christy Brinkley, Halle Berry.. to name a few.
Speaking of using celebrity photos...I reported this guy lapheth MONTHS ago, and he's still here, using Sean Connery's photo as an early James Bond.
.


Andrew replies on 3/25/2014 3:19 pm:
He's deleted

rdy2try4 53F  
3137 posts
3/25/2014 8:32 am

    Quoting BeatriceBenedict:
    I remember vaguely noticing, a few years back, that that message about sharing personal details in the first emails, had disappeared. And I remember thinking - well that can't be a good choice. This was confirmed when I started getting a lot more guys, spammers or not, trying to give me personal email/phone numbers in their initial emails - something I do not respond positively too, because to use that email/phone number, means exposing my own.

    I agree this will piss some people off. But at the same time, if you really want that kind of interactions, there are plenty of other options for you - craiglist namely. While I would never claim AF-F shouldn't be a site for quick hookups (we all use it in our own way), MANY of us do use this site for some insulation, to safely get to know someone, without exposing our personal contact information too soon. That rule, reinforces the importance of having that insulation, and encourages people to respect that desire. Plus, craigslist has its own methods to combat spam - i.e. the highly flawed phone call/text verification system.

    Unfortunately I didn't get to participate in the survey, because I apparently had the newsletter email notification turned off on my account - which I have since corrected. But I would like to offer a suggestion to JAF's complaint above, that might assist with the photo stealing options. IMDB has done a lot to reduce photos being poached off of their site, by disabling the right click functionality on photos. Now obviously this isn't a perfect solution, because removing right clicking will make it harder for us to do a Google Images search on photos, to search for fakes. But it might do more to combat photos from this site being taken and use for other nefarious purposes. I'm not sure how hard it would be to implement such a change, but it's something I thought I'd throw out there.

    RDY - I also do think it's fair to point out, that when Andrew talks about spammers, he means people attempting to bypass the CAN-SPAM act, to gain access to your personal information. It's not exactly the same thing as a normal person, sending out insane amounts of emails, desperately trying to get a single ping. The former are literally criminals, trying to harvest email addresses, to send illegal communications, which are highly unlikely to include legally-required opt-out options. The latter people are just douchebags - which you can't easily legislate against.

    Much as, at times, I wish you could - it would be hard to put a system in place for preventing that behavior, without curtailing normal conversations - i.e. if you share 20 emails back and forth with the same person in an hour, it's harder to flag such behavior separate from sending emails to 20 new people in an hour.
RDY - I also do think it's fair to point out, that when Andrew talks about spammers, he means people attempting to bypass the CAN-SPAM act, to gain access to your personal information. It's not exactly the same thing as a normal person, sending out insane amounts of emails, desperately trying to get a single ping. The former are literally criminals, trying to harvest email addresses, to send illegal communications, which are highly unlikely to include legally-required opt-out options. The latter people are just douchebags - which you can't easily legislate against.
Beatrice, that is why I posted that. I know other people will think what I posted and I wanted someone other than myself to address it. TY!! I can see how many may think it is spamming, although it is just in a different way, it wasn't what they are trying to cut down on.

I can't tell you folks how many times I have had the same word for word emails from the male spammers/scammers of "Looking for love, I can see it in your eyes. You are the one for me. Contact me at .... so we can chat and get things moving and start our lives together." It just goes on from there and they are almost always the same words over and over just different senders. Muraxis who notified me of what was going on when I first started getting them.


rdy2try4 53F  
3137 posts
3/25/2014 8:47 am

    Quoting needluv694me:
    Speaking of using celebrity photos...I reported this guy lapheth MONTHS ago, and he's still here, using Sean Connery's photo as an early James Bond.
    .

It took me 2 weeks and multiple screen shots to finally convince someone in the abuse department that Tom Cruise was NOT a 21 year old boy in India. That is sad...seriously.


wd40w 65M
5569 posts
3/25/2014 11:14 am

"This gives us permission not to forward the first two messages that either asks or gives for contact info."Ok...I see this as problematic...because lets face it...the screeners or whoever you have had doing the screening process have denied not only Group Descriptions for email addresses, but Blogs and Profiles...even though none have been included...and who decided that the person vetting Profiles and Pictures be separate entities?Once again the cry of why haven't they responded/replied to my email will run rampant. The restriction on contact info has never been lifted in chat to my understanding...and folks have been suspended for it...what is the plan for multi-profilers? Will that ever be addressed? Give us the best tools/options possible please...we'll do the rest.

"Illigitimi Non Carborundum Est" W.F. "Bull" Halsey


Andrew replies on 3/25/2014 3:20 pm:
Thanks - one step at a time. Moving on to IM next...

intendadiversion 51F
21452 posts
3/25/2014 8:10 pm

I love this. I want to have at least a few emails with a guy before sending my information anyway. Thank goodness the jerks just shooting their phone numbers out to numerous women will stop.

IntendaDiversion - I intended a diversion and I got it.

Come get naked, and follow me into my blog at intendadiversion


wd40w 65M
5569 posts
3/28/2014 6:44 am


Andrew replies on 3/25/2014 3:20 pm:
Thanks - one step at a time. Moving on to IM next...The IM...whatever you do...do NOT base it on the Flash platform...you want a effective IM system...base it on html5...If you ever want your mobile platforms to work...again...do NOT base it on Flash...Adobe announced last year that they were NOT going to update the mobile version of Flash...Flash is DEAD.


"Illigitimi Non Carborundum Est" W.F. "Bull" Halsey


Andrew replies on 3/28/2014 10:08 am:
The new IM (now rolled out to 50% of members) is 100% html5... not flash like the current one!

sweet_VM 59F  
77988 posts
3/28/2014 5:24 pm

Excellent! ty hugs V

Become a blog watcher sweet_vm


wd40w 65M
5569 posts
3/29/2014 12:48 am

Instant Messanger Revamp From your Staff when I did the extensive BETA testing in December "In the new version we have been able to eliminate flash almost entirely except for the actual broadcasting/video section on the right corner." I did a LOT of BETA testing as you can see in the Beta Test Group posting...the above quote was mailed to me from your Staff while I was testing...and right clicking on any cam image still brings up Flash settings...so which is it?

"Illigitimi Non Carborundum Est" W.F. "Bull" Halsey


freeskier4fun 37M

3/29/2014 9:53 am

Andrew replies on 3/28/2014 1:07 pm:
We have never once sold any member information to any other company. It is also banned in our terms of use. If in the future, it changes, we would need you to personally agree to it.

BULLSHIT BULLSHIT BULLSHIT

I am appalled at the continued lies and continued deplorable condition and performance of this site. As to your comment about not selling member information to other sites, shame on you. How do you live with your conscience? Really? I have written to your "customer service" department numerous times to get my name removed from your files..on a profile I had years ago. My old name still shows up on websites that I have never even heard of...adult dating sites that have my quotes, responses to blogs etc..and yet your "team" continues to beat around the bush, sending replies to my requests that are so far off base that it is mind boggling....this site is a joke, a farce and fraud...giving members bogus "notifications" such as sending us fake notifications that a member viewed our profiles..you give female members carte blanch privileges in order to sucker men into paying for your non functioning services....I am amazed that your site has been up and running this long without being shut down...really...get over yourself and start being truthful...you're not fooling anyone


Andrew replies on 3/30/2014 9:10 am:
This site shares the same domain as a few other sites - all the domains are either owned by us or are affiliates. 100% of the user data is on OUR servers. Nothing is ever transferred to 3rd parties, ever.

rm_cherimore 58F
11162 posts
3/30/2014 2:57 pm

Thank you Andrew.


WNCCuckoldcpl 44M/45F  
220 posts
4/1/2014 8:46 am

We haven't had much problem with spammers, though we have run into a couple of profiles claiming to be a couple when they were actually single men.
My wife used to webcam professionally, one of the verification measures they used was requiring that models take a picture with their ID and their face in the frame, maybe that technique could be incorporated into AdultFriendFinder for 'verified id' level or something?
Other than that though our AdultFriendFinder experience has been amazing, we've been members as 'jesnbec' since 2000 and we love this place!

{=}


Murax 55M  
934 posts
4/8/2014 3:06 am

I would also suggest a more layered approach. Most spammers have accounts that are new within the last few weeks. New, unpaid accounts should have more restrictions than those of us that have been around for a while. Limit new accounts to no more than a couple messages / winks / hotlists per day until they are established. Trust is earned. If someone has been around for a while and has been active without any problems they probably aren't spammers.

Also, Google Image search is your friend. I don't know if it is feasible to automatically search all new photos but I've been finding it pretty easy to identify spammers with an image search. The hot looking women with professional quality photos are almost always taken from some porn site. Basically if any photo generates a hit then the profile should be flagged for further review.

Also, for what its worth. Your spam team does an excellent job. Spammers rarely last more than 24 hours here.


JN63JPN 55F  
24965 posts
4/9/2014 9:46 pm

I'm glad that steps are being taken to reduce spam and scams. Female members aren't as affected as the male members (we mostly had to deal with scumbags who only wanted instant gratification), as I have seen some of the emails my fiancee was getting from the fakes.

P.S. I hope action is being taken for the other glitches and annoyances we are facing.

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KennerStud_too 52M
287 posts
4/14/2014 4:23 am

My biggest complaint about this policy in the past deals with just 'throwing messages away'. The automated filters that attempted to detect "restricted contact information in the first two message center messages" failed to take into consideration IMC contacts. I may have had 50 or more separate IMC conversations with a member or long time friend before sending them a message center message because the IMC wasn't working right.
Another issue has been that if I haven't emailed someone within the previous 30 days then the system seemed to think I had never emailed them.

With all that being said, my biggest objection is the decision to simply 'throw away' *suspected* IMs and emails. At one point I remember that the IMC wouldn't allow the use of the word 'horse' and any message containing horse, horseback, etc got sucked into a black hole while both parties to the conversation starred at their screens awaiting the next message. The ONLY missing component is a very simple system message saying something like **Last message not delivered due to restricted content** in the IMC and for the Message Center either that system message to the sender or go ahead and deliver it to the recipient with the suspected bad content replaced with *'s.

I would much rather know that someone tried to send me a message or have them know that I tried to send them one instead thinking they got my message and ignored it.


rm_c1ndy81 37F

6/28/2014 11:40 am

Hi Andrew..i saw ur response in in the 1st page said that new IM now running based on html5..
so do we need to still updating our adobe flash? or does adobe flash still affect on viewing cams/broadcasting stuff?TIA.


callipygian_fan 52M  
507 posts
8/17/2014 9:52 pm

Is there any way to flag profiles that use the same text over and over and over?

Delightfully shaped buttocks are my calling.


sphxdiver 68M  
20025 posts
10/19/2014 4:23 pm

As a paying member for over 4 years, I'm getting sick and tired of all the scammers and their damn hot listing, These are people who don't match up with anyone even if they were real.

You did away with the flirts a while back for standard members, you should do the same thing on the hot listing, they (the scammers) have a field day here on this site with that feature, and we as members can't even delete them. now if there was an option to delete these fakes, that would be a start, but until then, 99.9% of the profiles that hot list are FAKES!!!

It is time to put a stop to it, and the blatant fakes, when turned in to the abuse team, still stay active, whether or not there are active.
WTF???

I'm not paying to get hot listed by fakes over 2000 miles away that I wouldn't meet anyways, cause the age of the fake profiles is not in my preference anyhow.

Somethings got to change here!!!


sphxdiver 68M  
20025 posts
9/15/2015 12:49 pm

This is all fine and dandy, but how come then when you turn in a FAKE profile, nothing happens ?????

I've turned in several that put next to a three dollar bill, you couldn't tell the difference, as to which is real.

most of these so-called scammers only last about one day, then they sit on the profile forever, report after report turned in on them and they are still showing !!!

What's with that ??

Most of them read like a grade school primer out of Ghana or Nigeria,
everyone else knows they are fake, but when you turn in a report on them NOTHING HAPPENS !!!!!!!!!


sphxdiver 68M  
20025 posts
9/18/2015 7:50 pm

It's funny, that your mentioning that you've upped the staffing for dealing with scammers.

But yet, when turning them in, it seems that only 2 out of 3 get removed, there's some of these fake profiles it appears have Carte Blanche on here, fake profile after fake profile, and they don't get removed, despite how many reports are turned in on them, given the facts, and stone cold evidence that the profile is in fact a FAKE.

What gives ??

I've been a paying member Gold, for over 5 years on here, and can pretty much smell a fake profile.
but yet upon turning them in complete with their stolen photos, poorly written Intros. ( but yet say they have a Master's degree) it really boggles the mind to as what is going on.

I don't hunt these asshole scammers, they view me, I turn them in, and to be honest, expect them to be removed, but alas, two days later, the same scammer is still there.

something here just ain't right, you know ??


sphxdiver 68M  
20025 posts
9/19/2015 2:05 pm

Hate to keep ranting, but what gives ??

i'm turning in profiles that are besides sticking out like a sore thumb, are fake as hell, the stolen photos are the first give away, then you read the broken English, usually in a cut and paste Intro.
which gives them away even more, then if, and I mean if they fill out the information part, reads like something out of Ghana or Nigeria, just plain dead giveaways !!!

But here of late, nothing seems to be happening , turning in these fakes is going nowhere, nothing is happening.

Again, what gives, the profiles are as real as a three dollar bill, yet nothing happens.
that's getting old quick, and once again being a PAYING member of this site for over 5 years.

what the hell am I supposed to think ??
Your saying one thing, and nothing is going on.
Fakes are crawling all over this site, and yes I get the numbers factor, but still, another member turns in a profile that is fake as hell, and nothing happens !!!

Why bother ???

Let 'em run amok on here, and scam the hell out of other members.


sphxdiver 68M  
20025 posts
10/22/2015 8:48 pm

As a paying member for over 5 years, I'm getting sick and tired of getting hot listed by these "Just joined today" scammers.

Here's a thought, why not make it so a standard can't hot list until they've been a member for at least 30 days ?

that would hep cut down on the amount of fake profiles on here, cause the first thing they is hot list the hell out of a ton of members hoping to find a sucker that will end up giving them off site information and or money.
Second thing they do is hit the IM, cause there nobody knows it's a man behind the stolen photo of a smoking hot woman.

enough of this shit is enough, or at least let us as member's delete them from the "Who's hot Listed me"page.


party56885 57M  
3 posts
1/8/2016 1:49 pm

hi thank you for all you comments , I had many scammers...I received pictures from the same woman over and over just a different handle..what I found in AdultFriendFinder and the sister site ALT you report them and NOTHING is done...there still up and running I have been a member at least 15 years on both site and they get paid .. we should get service leaving the scammer on is not a services to loyal consumers it is a slap in our faces....if we did what the do you kick us off....


Alan__38 51M  
22 posts
6/6/2018 5:36 pm

4 years from the original posting, 2 years from the most recent and the problems are simply getting worse.

There are hundreds of scammers posting IMs "looking for a sub" which are simply an invitation to email (andpull people off to a rival company)

Hundreds of bots using "nameNNNyy" with URLs in their profile summaries - how are these getting past the filters?

Known persistent abusers being kicked off, yet somehow having their accounts reinstated within hours and even given VIP status - to the annoyance of members who actually pay for being here.

What's going on?


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