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To Catch A Spammer


Mouseflow is used for many things - mainly by people who want to enhance their websites and improve their user experience. However, as a result of monitoring user activity, you not only see the good, but also the bad!

Recently, we had a client write to us that they had issues with spam in form submissions. Despite their efforts, they couldn't narrow it down to a certain user or pattern of behavior. To make it worse, they didn't know why their client-side validations failed to catch the problem.

Here's a sneak peak:

Spammer Caught in the Act

This animated GIF is from an actual customer recording who caught a spammer using Mouseflow!

Improving Validation

By using Mouseflow to watch how spammers interact with your website, you can see how your validations and rules designed to thwart their attempts work (e.g. allow/deny certain types of content, recognize when content is duplicated, block content based on regular expressions, etc.). As developers, it's so easy to deploy some code and expect that it will work the same as it did during testing. But, as experience shows, this is rarely the case.

This is a particularly dangerous case because it accepted malformed input from a user and then displayed it on a public page as a comment (rather than rejecting it):

Blog Post Spam

By monitoring and restricting user activity, you'll keep junk like this off your website. Do you think users want to see this while they're browsing for real content or products? Nope, definitely not! This helps make sure that content is relevant and of high quality - both great for your search engine ranking and overall site optimization. Not only will this benefit you in terms of marketing, but you will attract genuine visitors and be able to generate sustainable traffic.

Block Spammers from your Firewall

One of the unfortunate side-effects of spammer activity is that it skews your website analytics. The actions of spammers are accounted with the actions of your real users, which creates a conflict when you're viewing your reports. It's hard to decipher what activity is genuine, especially when it's mixed in with spam.

By catching spammers who are clogging up your website with garbage, malicious content, or otherwise unwanted activity, you can improve the accuracy of your analytics reports and find out what your real customers are doing.

Mouseflow makes this easy: when you watch your recordings and find a spammer, you can actually open the details panel to see their IP address. Once you have this, you can block them from visiting your website. This is great because you are armed with a lethal weapon: You have the video that shows what they did, how they did it, and can find out who they are so they never clog up your website with their junk again!

In Conclusion

Spammers are a real problem, and catching them in the act is incredibly valuable. As a Mouseflow customer, you have a complete toolkit for being able to see what they're doing and learn from them to optimize your website. You can use this information to improve your validation and security, which will result in higher quality content and a better experience for all.

Have you experienced something like this on your site? Let us know in the comments below.

Questions? Email hi@mouseflow.com or call +1 (855) 668-7335


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