Online communities are all about the exchange of information. This makes them highly susceptible to spam, scams and other content of an undesirable nature. If you don’t keep on top of this kind of content, your online community will suffer and ultimately fail.
First impressions count
You have only a few seconds to convince a visitor to your site that they should register and get involved. Indeed, some studies have suggested you have less than one second. First impressions are important – if someone arrives at your site only to see it full of spam, they aren’t going to stick around.
Don’t be tempted to think that spam can be beneficial because it boosts your post count and member count. As soon as people see spam, you are not only demonstrating that you don’t care about your community, you are also potentially putting your visitors and members at risk.
The competition is out there
If you aren’t proactive when it comes to spam, you can bet that your competition will be. Yes, your community should be unique which will make your site less vulnerable to competitors but the fact of the matter is, aggrieved members will not put up with spam on a continuous basis. They will forgive the appearance of the odd message every now and again, but they will not tolerate spam that isn’t speedily removed or that appears multiple times every day.
The fact is, that besides the fact spam is potentially dangerous and makes your community look as though it isn’t being cared for, spam gets in the way of your content. Your content is the most important part of your community – anything that distracts people from your content is a bad thing.
Show commitment if you expect your members to do the same
As I have said time and time again, if you don’t get involved in your community and don’t pay any attention to it, how can you expect your members to do the same? Not only will spam turn off potential new members, it will also alienate your existing ones.
Good online communities contain members that are extremely loyal and passionate about the community they are a member of. They care for the community, and want to see it continue to develop in a positive way. Spam is never a good thing for an online community. If you don’t combat spam, your members will soon get the impression that you no longer care enough about the community to take action.
Remember: committed members are the result of committed community management. Spam can, and will, destroy your online community. Remove spam when you see it and be proactive by installing tools to minimise it.
How do you deal with spam at your online community? How important do you think it is to minimise spam? Have you been a member of a community that suffered from a high amount of spam? Share your thoughts and opinions by leaving a comment below.