We have been getting complaints recently from many of our members about spammers who are now using the HostelManagement.com internal messaging system to send spam. We regret the inconvenience these spammers have caused to our members and want to let you know the steps we have taken to deal with this problem.
The Challenge With Spammers
HostelManaement.com was set up in order to provide a resource of information for the hostel industry as well as a community among hostel professionals. It is our mission to ensure that the content on the site remain relevant and focused on the needs of that community. Spam content makes that mission incredibly difficult.
First, I'd like to tell you about our hair-pulling frustration with spam. It's quite possible that dealing with spam content and accounts belonging to spammers represents the single largest cost for a popular site like HostelManagement.com. Although we have many automated systems to keep out the bot spammers, we have to constantly pay our programmers to update our algorithms because spammers are continually updating theirs. Perhaps the hardest thing to detect is the human spammer. Unlike bots, these spammers are real people (likely paid pennies) who register for accounts, post on forums and find people to send their spam to. As a result, we employ two virtual assistants to look for spam and spammers and delete the content and the associated accounts. Each and every new account on the site is manually screened. Since human spammers will go to great lengths to hide their intentions, we also need to monitor every post and every comment on the site. This ends up costing HostelManagement.com a significant amount of money each month just to keep spam off the site.
So What Is Happening Now?
Internal Message Spam
The latest issue we have been forced to deal with is internal message spam. These spammers have started using the HostelManagement.com internal messaging system to send out spam messages one at a time to individual members of the community like yourself. Since we do not routinely monitor internal private messages, we did not notice these spammers were sending spam to our members.
You Can Help By Reporting Spam
Our first improvement to find and eliminate these internal message spammers was to add a report link on all messages sent. If you receive an internal message that you think is spam, please report it and our support team will investigate.
Imposing a Limit on Messages
In our ongoing effort to reduce internal message spam, we have added a limit on the number of messages non-subscribers can send each day. Currently, this limit is 1 message per day. We will review this limit and raise it if we think it can be raised. We understand this may be a burden for some bona fide non-subscribing members who use the site for legitimate purposes so here are some ways you can have the limit removed:
Most members of HostelManagement.com we talk to say they use the site routinely for the ongoing management of their hostel and for improving their knowledge of the hostel industry. We have worked REALLY hard to keep the subscription costs as low as possible, but it's expensive to run a site like HostelManagement.com. While other hostel associations charge hundreds of dollars a year for their memberships, a paid HostelManagement.com membership can be obtained for less than $35 per year. That's less than $3 per month!
Become a Contributing Member
We understand that members contribute to our community in a variety of ways and it's not always about the money. If you are an active member on the site and want to contribute your time and energy to make the Hostel Management community even better, let us know. We can designate you as a Contributing Member which has no limit on the number of messages that can be sent.
Please let us know if you have any questions or comments about this new policy. We still want to make the site accessible to as many people involved in the hostel industry as possible, and we don't want to institute a policy that keeps the spammers out but doesn't work for our community. If you have any suggestions we would love to hear from you.