(I've bolded and italicized the most important sentences in this post, so that people who might not otherwise read it can skim it and still get the main points.) As our forum grows, we will periodically become the target of spammers. Forum spammers are people who create accounts on forums, pretending to be seeking help, but actually looking for ways to create links to websites that pay them to do so. In our case, people may come to our website, pretending to be in pain, but actually only looking to accumulate links to websites that are paying their employers. If that makes you angry, it makes me angry, too. Helping people with TMS is almost a spiritual activity for us, because we know what it is like to live with constant pain. The idea that someone could abuse our trust and pretend to be someone in pain just so they can make some money by adding links to an unethical website, just seems wrong. Forum spammers are highly organized, and some shady individuals have made a lot of money by spamming forums. Commercial posting is against the terms of service of just about every forum out there, so not only are they unethical, but they are acting illegally as well. Luckily, forum administrators are not powerless in this. We participate in forums designed for forum administrators (like www.theadminzone.com) and work with databases of spammers (like www.stopforumspam.com and www.stopbotters.com). Here at the TMS wiki forum, we utilize all of these techniques, but there is a third technique that is vital as well: the report link. One spamming technique that is becoming more and more common is as follows. An unethical company that wants to sell more products contracts with a "black-hat link building company." The link building company has contacts in countries where wages are very low and where English skills tend to be good. They hire people there and give them training and an Internet connection. These people then make Gmail accounts and use these Gmail accounts to make fake accounts on relevant forums. They then pretend to be real users of the forum and create posts that include links to the company that is paying their employer. These links can be very valuable to the original company because they provide "PageRank" and "anchor text," two commodities that are extremely valuable in a field called Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Currently, suspicious links are appearing on our website to a company called Medoc, so I will use them as an example. Medoc appears to have hired a black-hat link building company that has contacts with contractors or employees in India. The people from India create accounts on our forum, pretending to be people with back pain, but actually just deceiving us. I say India, because the links to Medoc's website have been posted by people who are accessing our website from India. In general, we get very little traffic from India. After all, Dr. Sarno's books aren't published in India and the vast majority of our members have read books by Dr. Sarno. However, India, because of its enormous population, relatively low income, and excellent English-language education (possibly due to its British colonial history) is a common source of labor for spammers. (These three factors also explain why, when you call a customer service number for a large company, you are often connected to a call center in India.) Generally, experienced forum administrators are tremendously busy and are very good at identifying spammers. Therefore, when we see suspicious posts like I have been seeing, we just delete the posts, ban the user, and get on with our work. However, we are proud goodists here, so I like giving people a second chance. Further, I need your help in identifying future spammers as well, especially as we grow. Therefore, I would like to use this incident as an opportunity to enlist your help. If you suspect that a post may have been made by a spammer, please click the report link underneath the post. This will draw my attention to the user and give me a chance to investigate them. The "report" link looks like this: My goal right now is to spend my time focusing on projects that will help ensure the long-term growth of our nonprofit (projects like developing relationships with partners, doing "white hat link building" (the honest and ethical kind), improving our software, building the network of TMS Practitioners, and working on our corporate governance). Therefore, I can't read every post. By drawing my attention to posts that might be spam, I can monitor those posts and take action when appropriate. Spammers generally are impatient, and will generally include a link within their first several posts on the forum. They know that they will probably be found out and banned soon, so it isn't worth their while to take the time to really develop relationships with the people on the forum. The links that they include are generally unlike any other link that appears from a well-known member on the forum. For example, the links to Medoc are two a medical device manufacturer that specializes in devices for hospitals. The links are of only very specialized interest, and aren't of interest to consumers interested in mindbody healing. The links are also generally out of place in general. For example, the posts that I have seen haven't been about medical devices, so there was no reason to link to a medical device manufacturer. Finally, there often just seems to be something "off" about the posts. This is because they are written by people who are pretending to be interested in TMS rather than by people who are actually living it. Once you have seen a couple of spammers, they become easier and easier to identify. Unfortunately, the spammers are getting cleverer and more professional, so it is getting harder to identify them. However, by using the report link and responding diligently, we can show them that this is a community that is proud of its integrity and will defend that integrity. Eventually, they will realize that they can't make any money by harassing us, and they will move on to target other forums that are not as diligent. As always, thank you very much for your support and for taking the time to read this post. It is people like you, and the common experiences that we all share, that make all of this worth doing.