Regrettably, we will start doing IP blocking to stop persistent spammers from setting up Kerika accounts.
We have seen a consistent pattern of misuse that goes like this:
- Someone signs up with a sina.com email address. Sina is one of the largest ISPs in China, but we don’t have any users in China for the simple reason that most of Google’s services are blocked by China’s Great Firewall, and Kerika has a tight integration with Google’s G Suite.
- The spammer isn’t actually located in China; they are in Manila (Philippines) and come from IP addresses like 126.96.36.199
- These spammers send out hundreds, sometimes thousands, of invitations for users from the qq.com domain to join their (spurious) Kerika team.
- These recipients are all users of Tencent’s QQ messaging system, based in China. Again, none of them would be actual or potential Kerika users, since the recipients are all located in China.
The user impact of this spamming was relatively small: almost no one with a qq.com email address would reply to these invitations, but the conduct was a very clear misuse of Kerika and harmful to our reputation, quality and brand.
(Among other things, these spurious invitations would pile up in the thousands.)
We have decided, therefore, to start blocking IP addresses using Amazon’s VPC service (since we use Amazon AWS extensively on our back-end.)
This is a brute force method, and not ideal, but we were starting to get really annoyed with these folks. We hope this doesn’t impact any of our real users in the Philippines; if you are affected, please let us know!