Has anybody else running an online forum noticed a recent explosion in the number of people registering?
I have a blog and forum that's targeted at a fairly local interest. For two years the membership has been stable, gaining perhaps one additional registrant per month. But over the last month or two, registrations have exploded.
I'm now getting 2-3 dozen per day. These registrations aren't bots. I'm pretty sure they're human, as the additional CAPTCHA mechanisms I've added have not even slowed down the flow. These are coming from IP addresses all over the world: America, but also Eastern Europe, Asia, and Africa.
What I really don't understand is what they're trying to accomplish. They almost never posted spam messages, even before I changed registrations to require approval. Only a few of them had spammy links in their signature, or even a URL in their profile.
So why are people taking the effort to go through the registration? I could understand if it was a botnet that was just building up resources for future forum spam, but since this appears to be real humans, that doesn't make sense to me.
Anybody out there have more insight?