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Fraud August 7, 2011

Fighting sock puppets – a cat and mouse game

The Urban Dictionary defines Sock Puppet as “An account made on an internet message board, by a person who already has an account, for the purpose of posting more-or-less anonymously.” If you manage or participate in a community you’re bound to see accounts that seem like sock puppets – they sign up one day and automatically start replying to discussions with knowledge that can only be based on long-term participation in the community – appearing to be new while channeling veteran participants’ opinions.

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Better Ecommerce July 31, 2011

The vicious cycle of reputation systems

One of the interesting things we noticed when we started looking at social interaction abuse was how reputation systems were built and evolved. A need for some kind of reputation score usually appears when your site becomes popular and you want to help users find quality content and interesting users quicker; but some destinations (such as marketplaces) use them to actually facilitate interaction. Either way, very soon it becomes
very lucrative to be ranked high – whether it brings you more sales, better SEO or just respect and a sense of self fulfillment.

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Better Ecommerce July 20, 2011

What is your TTA?

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, the idiom says. In online communities, sometimes there’s even a more sincere form of flattery – users trying to abuse your site and the content in it. You discover abuse cases when you start to attract more users, have more content and appear higher in search results – but that’s also when abusive content and behavior can kill your momentum. Exactly at that point where even your best users start to complain that “things are not as they used to be”, you want to be able to maintain quality and stop sockpuppets, scammers and social media “experts” who mess with your reputation score.

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