Google Voice Gets a Global Spam Filter

I seem to have missed the news last month that Google added a global spam filter to Google Voice but thanks to the well placed reminders in the app I discovered it today.

GVoice has had a spam capability for some time now and the way it works is really straightforward… you can mark any call or SMS message as spam and future calls or texts will go in your spam filter. You can also go hardcore and block a number, in which case the caller hears a “not in service” message.

The new global spam capability goes a step further by taking the calls and txts marked as spam and collecting them in a global database, which the Voice service then uses as it’s own form of a Do Not Call list. Google is crowdsourcing their list through the everyday activity that their users are already doing.

In effect Google has done what the government has spent millions of taxpayer dollars doing ineffectively with the Do Not Call list…

Wikis and Spammers

My blog has been offline for a little over the last hour with a message stating that “this account has been suspended”.

Upon reaching Bluehost.com support via chat I was told that someone was using my Tikiwiki site to run scripts and because of the excessive CPU usage my account was suspended and deactivated. It was pretty clear that this was not my doing so they turned things back on with the condition that I remove the offending scripts, I instead opted to remove Tikiwiki altogether.

Coincidentally, I have been battling spammers for over a month on another wiki I have, the Web 2.0 in the Enterprise wiki. In the interests of ensuring as much public and unfettered access as possible, this wiki required no registration for updating and spammers were hitting it with startling efficiency and replacing all of the content with links for fake Rolex watches.

Thankfully the Socialtext versioning made reverting back to the authentic version quick work, but without exception the spammers would change the page back within hours. Finally, I removed guest editing privileges and required registration and login for editing, which has stopped the spammers for now.

I am using this experience to issue a call to action to wiki developers to do something about this before it becomes a problem that disincentivizes wiki adoption. Obviously this affects a slice of the wiki market, those that are deployed in environments where public usage is encouraged, but that makes it all the more important because consumer usage often drives business adoption.

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