Yearly Archives: 2011

Language Filter Now in Place

The language filter mentioned in previous blog posts is now live. When making a submission, the langauge of the text will be detected and if it does not appear to be in English it will ask you will get an error message and be asked to use English.

Submission Guidelines Updated

As mentioned last week, we are going to be introducing a language filter to ensure that submissions are made in English. We have now updated our Submission Guidelines to reflect this change and we have also put a link to these guidelines on the actual bookmark submission form – previously it was somewhat buried in our articles section which doesn’t get much attention.

Blacklist Issue Fixed

The problem mentioned earlier with URL’s being falsely reported as blacklisted has now been fixed. It was an issue with the way URL’s containing subdomains (such as Blogspot) were being handled. So if you had a message saying your site was blacklisted, try it again now and it should work – unless it really is on the blacklist of course! Apologies for the inconvenience.

Bug With Domain Blacklister

There appears to be a bug with the functionality that checks if a domain is on the blacklist. It is reporting false positives and thus saying that a domain is on the blacklist when it is not. If you get this message (and your domain is not spam!) then please send in the exact URL you are attempting to submit – that will really help us investigate the source of the bug!

Spam and the use of Language

You may have noticed that recently we have been doing quite a lot of work on combating spam that is being submitted to IMAutomator. Some spam is obvious but there is also other content that is undesired but isn’t spam – non English posts in particular.

In the past we have experimented with having foreign sites in the system but they have not been very effective. I think there is still one in there (it works so no need to remove it) but as a rule now, for the past 6 months at least we’ve had a policy of only including English speaking sites.

However, looking at the content that gets submitted to IMAutomator – a large amount of it is non English. Although that Spanish, Dutch, German etc content may be entirely acceptable, if the users of a bookmarking site only speak English then your content is not of value to them. We are starting to see an increase in the number of sites that now specify that submissions must be in English.

Language Filter to be Implemented Next Week

Therefore we need to follow suit. Next week we will turn on a language filter which will reject your submission if it is not in English. Now that does not mean that all members submitting sites with foreign language content can no longer use IMAutomator – but it means that the submission itself must be made in the English language.

If English if not your first language then what I recommend is to use Google Translate to translate the title & description of your submission into English.

What About Using IMAutomator For Client Work?

I know that we have some members who use IMAutomator to do client work an these members submit a wide variety of links and some of them are not in English. In these situations I suggest working with those clients and explaining the sitution to them. They can still submit their content – but the actual submission text must be in English.

The Future of Language Support

For now, we shall continue to work with just the English language. However there are a lot of sites out there that are in different languages. It would be possible to support these and then submissions would filter through to just the sites of the appropriate language but that would involve a lot of work for a potentially small portion of the member base so whilst it is a possibility, we have no plans to implement such support any time soon.

CAPTCHA’s and the State of Social Bookmarking

This is partially an IMAutomator update post and partly an editorial. A large part of the work involved in keeping IMAutomator growing is site support – that is, the inclusion of new sites into the IMAutomator system to be submitted to.

Those members who have been with us for a while may have noticed that the number of social bookmarking sites in particular seems to have hovered around the 30 mark for quite some time. We haven’t been sitting on our butts doing nothing 🙂 Just today, I went through almost 100 potential sites and not a single one of them could be used because they all had a CAPTCHA on the submission page.

The trouble is that webmasters don’t like tools like IMAutomator! They don’t want our automated engine to submit to their site, they want you personally to go visit the site and click on their ads while you’re there. So they put in measures such as the CAPTCHA to prevent automation – and it works!

Well, it kind of works… These captchas can in fact be broken in an automated way but not for free. ‘Broken’ is perhaps the wrong word – there are services now that offer to solve captchas quickly for a small fee and they offer ways in which to integrate into software such as ours. We have tested this and it works but the trouble is the small fee!

It costs around $2 for 1000 submissions which seems like a tiny amount, but with the sheer cvolume of submissions that are made by IMAutomator (over 23 million at the time of writing!) we cannot absorb the cost.

However, it is possible for us to implement a feature that will allow members to plug in their details for the service (we use the most popular one called Decaptcher) into IMAutomator. We ran a poll on the site a few months ago asking if members wanted it and it seems as though it would be popular but the number of votes on the poll was still a tiny fraction of the overall member base so I fear it would only be used for the minority.

I have been putting off implementing the Decaptcher support. My thinking is that if I can provide an entirely automated and free service then I will but I think these days are growing scarce. I have even hired additional staff to help with site support to try and get more sites in the system but we keep hitting that same brick wall.

On the other hand I have a huge list of sites that could be added if we used Decaptcher support. The costs for the member should be minimal. We would ensure it would be highly configurable – members could specify the minimum PR of sites on which it was used, could select a maximum number of CAPTCHA based sites to use for a submission and turn it off completely for selected submissions.

Assuming it was used with 10 sites, that would cost $0.02 – just 2 cents. If you submitted 100 links a month (not many members use their full allowance) and each of those went to 10 sites that would be a cost of $2 a month.

We will of course continue to try to find free sites to submit to but I may need to bring in Decaptcher support fairly soon!

Spam Jobs Now Clearly Marked in Jobs List

In your main list of jobs, if a job you have submitted previously has been marked as spam, the job still remains in the system but now instead of having a ‘Details’ link where you could go in and see the submission schedule and progress, you’ll see a large red block clearly indicating that the job was flagged for spam.

Note that this change will only affect jobs marked as spam since the update made on 25th October. Jobs flagged as spam prior to this date will look as normal, but the details of the job will show all submissions with the error message ‘Deleted due to SPAM’.

Domain Blacklisting Now in Effect for Spammers

In addition to our warning system for those who submit spam to IMAutomator, we have now introduced a blacklisting system. Some spam is somewhat borderline – it may be an innapropriate article on a site that covers many subjects but other spam is due to the entire site itself being unsuitable – such as a porn site. In these cases, in addition to the spam warning being placed on the account, the domain of the Job URL will be added to a blacklist to prevent anything from that domain from being submitted to IMAutomator in future.

Improved SPAM Handling

We have had a rudimentary spam handling system in place for some months now but there was no indication for members of the offending jobs. Now, if you get a spam warning you will actually see a table showing the jobs that have been flagged which should clear up any confusion. On rare occasions a genuine job is falsely marked as spam so if you think that has been the case you will be able to contact support and request that the incident be investigated.

Note that this new display system has only been activated today. If you have not logged into the site for a while and have jobs marked as spam from before today you will still get a warning but will not see the specific jobs.

The warning system is as before – if any jobs are flagged, you will need to verify that you understand the guidelines before being able to submit any more jobs and this will put a permanent warning against your account. 3 strikes and the account is blocked with all jobs permanently deleted.

Suggest a Site Page Removed

It seems that putting huge red text in the middle of the suggest a site page still didn’t mean people would read that text! I’m still getting people submit random links to the page and of the tiny handful of genuine bookmarking sites that were submitted, all were PR0 and people just selected PR1! Thus, this is only wasting my time with useless submissions and I have removed the page.

Stay connected with us in your favorite flavor!