What is spam? A brief history.
Spam is the Internet equivalent of junk mail you may receive in your post advertising some product or telling you that you might be the winner of a large jackpot prize. Typically this content is low level advertising sent out in bulk aimed at getting the attention of a handful of individuals. It often has some level of truth but often also has copious amounts of small print that say you must be no taller than 5 foot 10 but no shorter than 5 foot 9, you must have brown hair and wear your footwear on the wrong feet.
With the advent of the Internet and email mailing lists in particular, sending out this sort of advertisement and potentially misleading offers became much easier and cheaper. All someone needs to send out block advertisement is an email address and list of people to email. This then became a huge issue for email providers and users alike, it reminded many people of the popular Monty Python Spam sketch. So spam was born.
As more and more companies latched on to the idea that they could mass email people for negligible costs so did more unscrupulous individuals. Soon spam went from the mildly annoying to the potentially harmful or illicit. Emails about started ranging from advertisements for so called medications to money laundering scams.
Email providers caught on to this and built increasingly effective spam filtering methods. These companies and groups needed new methods of getting their content out to us. The rise of social networking was the perfect new method. With numbers in to the tens and even hundreds of millions of users, social networking sites were a gold mine of recipients for spam, purely because of the way they operate.
So deviantART and spam? What do we consider spam?
In brief we consider spam on deviantART to be the misuse of communication and submissions systems to promote a product or message in bulk to our community.
Now that may seem a bit restrictive or confusing for deviants and as such we view spam in stages or levels of severity.
- Commercial or fraudulent businesses or groups advertising their product or message via comments, forum posts, deviation submissions, journals or notes. This includes malicious acts such as mass phishing attempts.
- Deviants engaging in mass abuse of communication or submissions tools to promote a message.
- Deviants engaging in the spreading of so called “chain mail” messages or indiscriminate requests for points.
Commercial business operations are welcome to advertise on our site but only through our advertisement packages as discussed in FAQ #574: Can I advertise on deviantART without purchasing an official advertising package? Commercial entities creating accounts to advertise for free, will find their accounts closed and potentially their websites blacklisted by us, preventing their links from being accessed via deviantART.
Deviants engaging in mass promotion of a message will be subject to warnings, suspensions and indefinite bans depending on the level of their behaviour and any previous warnings they may have had. When we say mass promotion, we mean posting hundreds of similar content messages trying to get other deviants to view their message.
When it comes to the spreading of chain mail or indiscriminate requests for points we first advise that deviants hide any such comments and block the requesting deviant. We will only take action in these cases if the deviants actions become extreme.
FAQ #263: What is "spamming"?
What doesn’t deviantART consider to be spam?
One popular misconception is that any deviant posting unwanted communications on a page is spam. We often see such messages complaining that a user has “spammed me with hate messages”. Whilst this is obviously an undesired action and potentially a cause for administrative action, we provide you with self moderation tools to hide and block unwanted contact on your profile page.
Of course, if you receive repeated contact from someone who perhaps creates multiple accounts to get around any blocks that you have created, you can send details of this into the “Abuse Reports” section within the Help Desk where they will be dealt with in turn.
I found some spam, now how can I report it?
As part of our ongoing battle against spam we have implemented a new reports category in the Help Desk: “Spammer Reports”. This new category will be monitored, and cases of commercial or malicious spam will be flagged as high priority. Please include links to the location of the spam and any relevant information you may have about the user account.
Tickets incorrectly submitted to as a “Spammer Report” will be relocated to the appropriate section where they will be dealt with in turn. It is important for both you and us that reports are submitted to the correct category, as reporting issues to the wrong category will only slow down response times from the Help Desk.
As always, we thank you for your co-operation in such matters!