A novel way to block spammers

I was doing a reorganisation of RealState’s Ontario category and wanted to manually check one of the sites and found I was “forbidden”

Forbidden
You don’t have permission to access / on this server.

Additionally, a 403 Forbidden error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.

While the rest of us are using Akismet, content filters and the like this site’s webmaster had taken a bolder approach to knocking dead the spammers…

Dear Sarah:

The website is still very active as you can undoubtly see from our Top 5 rankings in major search engines for all relevant keywords.

However, due to the enormous amount of E-mail Spam, Form Spam and hack attacks from APNIC countries, we have denied access to the entire IP ranges from all ISP’s where those attacks originate.

Given that I’m in an APNIC country (New Zealand) I feel somewhat tainted but I do know where they are coming from. The site (for now) is hosted in the US and I guess this might mean I keep it there so that link checks etc will continue to work.

I’m glad that I took the time to email the site owner to see what was happening when I couldn’t access the site.

A better approach might be to have a proper 403 page in place giving an introduction to the site, a gif of the contact details and an explanation that the site is unavailable to people from outside North America (not strictly true but it’s kinder than saying F*** O** spammers). That way if any APNIC’ers really did want to find out about real estate in Ontario the door isn’t slammed in their face.

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Sarah King Written by:

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