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SPAM applications are a waste of time

Would be great if you could auto detect SPAM applications by refusing/disallowing them to be sent when they are of a certain percentage the same text as previous applications.

It really is a huge waste of time when you post a job which gets a huge response to have to go through them all.

Much appreciated.

Vote Result

Score: 9.3, Votes: 8
Auto-detecting without any

Auto-detecting without any false positives would be fairly difficult to implement.

You can help yourself when posting a job by insisting that applicants insert a keyword in the top line...if you bury the instruction somewhere in the description; you can then be sure that at least the applicant has read the description...and by having it on the top line you can eliminate deadbeats faster.

Inserting a keyword or asking

Inserting a keyword or asking for a task does nothing for the limitation of copy/paste applications. When you receive hundreds of responses you still have to go through them - I would even say that most of them come from automated macro jobs responding to certain keywords in the job specification. Enabling auto detection for duplicate content is a solid technical solution and a relatively straightforward implementation, using Bayesian logic or similar.

If you would personally be worried about missing an application then other measures can be implemented, i.e. SPAM folder so you could double check if you wanted or notification to applicants that they are submitting an application with a #% duplication which will result in being send to recipient as SPAM, for example.

It makes eliminating the

It makes eliminating the deadbeats a quicker process is all. Now what oDesk *could* implement relatively simply is to display -say- the first five lines of application letters from -say- 50 applicants at a time with a checkbox and a "bulk eliminate" button at the bottom. That and a keyword would speed things up considerably.

Auto-eliminating entries because they are similar to application letters sent in elsewhere is fraught with difficulties.

I disagree, having worked

I disagree, having worked numerous times with automated content and SPAM detection - it requires just some logic. Your suggestion is basic and easy sure, but still does not prevent the problem that is automated spam applications.

You'd have to compare every

You'd have to compare every application with every previous one to implement your scheme. Plus there's the question of do you decide that? My applications -for example- have a copy & paste 'extra information' component that is identical in every application. Set the threshold too high and it'll screen out genuine applications. Too low and it will let spam through.

Even if your system is implemented, however, all spammers have to do is introduce a random component into the content of the spam letters (article-spinning style) and your solution would become useless.

That's quite apart from the physical and processor requirements for running a scan on every application for a site as busy as oDesk.

Please do something to stop the spam

Spam applications are seriously affecting my usage of oDesk.

I just posted an SEO-related job. I asked for a very simple detail in the job post to confirm applicants read the post.

So far I've reviewed roughly 60 applicants and NOT A SINGLE ONE has done what I asked in the job post.

Obviously you can't always be sure, but I'd bet almost every single one of those applicants didn't even read the post. They saw it was SEO-related and applied with a generic application.

If I think I'm just going to get bombarded with spam I have to sift through every time I post a job I'm going to post it elsewhere or just not post it at all.

You guys need some sort of spam filtering where if an applicant gets flagged as spam too many times, they get banned or a hold put on their ability to apply or something like that.

I have 2 full-time positions I'd like to hire for. I like oDesk, but I'm looking elsewhere to fill those spots because of the overall poor quality and incredibly high amount of spam applicants I receive for every job post.

One thing you can do

One thing you can do is mark the applications as spam. I do think that oDesk suspends contractors who send out too many spam applications. What that number is, I am not sure.
Another thing you can do is post the job privately. The time you spend searching for contractors to invite to your job is well worth it. You do not have to sort through all the spam applications. I never post a public job anymore.

I have a sneaky suspicion

I have a sneaky suspicion that oDesk makes rather a lot of revenue out of the sort of clients and contractors who spam one another. Low balling contractors and clients do generate some income for the site, and spamming is probably the only way the two intersect.

My reason for suspecting it is oDesk's ongoing refusal to put tools in place to rid the site of spam posts and applications. The overwhelming majority of job posts and contractor profiles fit into a low cost niche, and as a whole, if oDesk wasn't profiting from them, surely they would pull up their socks and begin to clean up the site entirely so that it can better serve a higher standard of work.

If oDesk's target market consisted of truly talented contractors and clients who could afford them, the site would look very different than it does today.