Spammers now creating observations

Presumably they’ve figured out it increases their visibility, but it appears as of the last day or two that the spam account bot operator(s) who hit the site are now adding observations under the accounts they create.

I’ve done a good dozen flagged ones this morning, I’ve not yet even looked into the id pool.

Seems like another thing we need to watch for.

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Out of curiosity, can you link to one of these just so I can know how they are doing it?

https://www.inaturalist.org/people/soundstagerental

I’m mostly just puzzled that this is profitable for them…do they think there are that many iNat users that need soundstage equipment in Brooklyn? Doesn’t seem like a demographic match…

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It’s mostly to make their websites look popular, by posting links to them. This is intended to improve websites’ rankings in search engines. But given we’re disposing of them pretty quickly, it still seems a waste of their time.

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Someone from this IP address created 34 spam accounts. I’ve marked them all as spam and blocked the IP. Thanks for bringing this to our attention. The sooner we can get on top of cases like this, the more junk we can (try to) prevent from blocking the source

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Fingers crossed. Hopefully they dont just spoof a different ip address and keep on going.

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Do we have a system in place that automatically flags accounts as spam if they create an observation IMMEDIATELY after creating the account? If not, I think this could be a good, albeit temporary, solution.

Don’t… most people upload an observation immediately after making an account? I certainly did.

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Based on what I can tell, although reading the json on a mobile phone is tough, they actually are not doing it immediately anyways.

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What a meant was an observation being made within the same second or two after creating the account, indicating that a human could not have observed and uploaded the observation in that amount of time.

Can you show an image of a cached page, since the link above has been deleted? I am curious how you tell it is spam.

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This one?

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For the sample one I linked to above, it was 8 minutes between creation of account and creation of first observation. Not sure how to interpret that, I doubt it is being done manually, perhaps their script is to generate their accounts first, then come back and do the observations.

I haven’t seen this yet
But because I’m no longer IDing unless
I’m on a computer or a pro iPad
Because of mistakes I’ve made because
Of not being able to see the photos
I’ll definitely keep my eyes open for this

Having gone through and flagged over a hundred in the past day, I have seen everything from near-instantaneous to a 9-month gap between account creation and observation creation. I think there is a mix of robotic and human action creating these.

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The ad says “creative hive of Bushwick” so maybe should be classified as hymenoptera? :blush:

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@pleary there seems to be a new trend of spammers now creating projects advertising streaming TV. Unfortunately they are often global so collecting every record. You may want to see if they are coming from a common ip address.

There seem to be dozens from the last 2 days or so . I am gradually flagging them all

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I saw that too. If there is way without sharing too much, I would be curious how you are finding them. (PM if necessary).

As Chris notes, projects can have a wide and rapid reach, so would be good to have some tools to search and destroy these rapidly. As with user profile descriptions, it would be helpful to have a &q= search ability on project descriptions and news posts, so we can look for particular key strings.

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Must be business hours now wherever the spam farm is. Seems like they are back at it right now.

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