Spam invades Friendfeed

I wrote a post a little over a week ago titled “The ticking time bomb awaiting Friendfeed.”  I talked about how Friendfeed will become a spammer’s new tool, more specifically on how they could monetize on their efforts using rooms on Friendfeed. Spam on social networking sites and applications is nothing new, it just comes in different flavors. Comment spamming, profile spamming, instant messaging spam etc.

Spammers finding Friendfeed is inevitable. The first flavor of spam, comment spam appeared on Friendfeed last night on various members feeds. I saw it first on one of Steve Hodsons threads. The community acted swiftly and within minutes Amber alerts, spammer alerts were sounded and black lists were created. Bret Taylor of Friendfeed reacted quickly and terminated the spammers account. Friendfeed is still a small fish in the social sea compared to Facebook and Myspace. I think community policing works great in small numbers. The dynamics change completely when you go from a few thousand active users compared to a few million. In my opinion, Friendfeed will become a household name such as Facebook or Myspace, as for when, who knows.  It is then that I can see social networking spam becoming a major headache on Friendfeed. We still have some time before  that scale of spamming infiltrates Friendfeed. Content aggregator sites will become the most powerful tool for the next generation of spammers lying in wait. Friendfeed will be a major catalyst for this.

Friendfeed needs a flagging mechanism put into place, such as is implemented on Craigslist. I would also like to see visible “report or flag this” link on all member feeds and rooms. I also like Robert Scobles suggestion quoted below.

“An algorithm for block spam here on FriendFeed: if an account has x more blocks than subscribers put the account into jail where it won’t show up in anything others than the jail. I don’t like Facebook’s policy of deleting stuff. Just move it to jail.”

I could not get a screen shot of last nights spam, due to the spammers account being deleted along with all the offending comment spam. I did find another instance of comment spam on Friendfeed as shown below.
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Spammers will invade Friendfeed at some point at what level, that remains to be seen. It’s too early to tell at this stage of the game. Friendfeed needs to implement the tools and mechanisms now while in the early stages, rather then playing catch up later on. Give the community the tools, and the community will use them.

The inevitable ticking time bomb awaiting Friendfeed.

With the steady growth that Friendfeed is experiencing, it’s just a matter of time before the problem of spam infiltrates it.Friendfeed is still the shiny new toy that only the people in the know, know about. Because of this, the critical masses and the spammers have not caught on quite yet. The clock is ticking….

The convenient 6 click registration form makes it’s easy for spammers to sign up for “disposable accounts”, and to set up shop in seconds. The smarter spammers will use scripts to automate the sign up process. This will allow them to create several hundred or more throw away accounts at any given time.

The spammers have an arsenal of forty one services at there disposal. Any one of these services can be set up and deployed in seconds. Rooms can be created for any topic or product imaginable. It wont be long before the Viagra spam email of the day arrives and is directing us to the Viagra room on Friendfeed.

Friendfeed gives the spammers multiple ways of getting a message out. The most common would be to post the spam-vertised sites directly to the feed. The handy Friendfeed bookmarklet would accomplish this with ease. The rooms would be filled with link bait galore, allowing spammers more ways to monetize courtesy of, RSS feeds injected with AdSense as one example. The purveyors of porn might stand to monetize the most. They can take full advantage of full multimedia, using video clips, images, text and now even audio, making their rooms into free mini adult porn sites. Rooms have made the possibilities endless. The spammers will pick up on this soon enough.

The community, up to this point, has a done an excellent job of policing itself. What I would like to see is some type of flagging mechanism put into place, such as is implemented on Craigslist. I would also like to see visible “report or flag this” links on all member feeds and rooms.

What other forms of spam will Friendfeed face?