Just wanted to follow up with my recent post where I noticed I was getting a bunch of spammy emails subscribing to my newsletter. I reached out for professional help but here’s how I ended up fixing it myself.
To recap, most of the emails were coming from @nokiamail.com – a well known site for allowing spammers to create thousands of bogus email accounts.
That wouldn’t be much of a story but I use Double Opt In. That means when you sign up for my newsletter you’ll need to check your email for a special link (and click that) before it becomes a real subscription. It’s an extra step which might lower my subscription rate but it keeps my list clean and on target.
Like a Captcha, Double Opt In is supposed to make it harder for spammers and bots to do their evil work – yet I was getting hit hard with new subscribers that had opted in – mostly from @nokiamail.com.
I was baffled, so I asked MailChimp why they might want to do this…
— Mike Mueller (@MikeMueller) December 29, 2014
They answered back pretty fast, asking me to send an email to customer support, which I did.
Their answer was less than satisfactory.
Thanks for checking back in with us – I can definitely understand how annoying it can be to have spammy signups.
While it is unclear what a spammer may want from being in a list, our developers currently have a few things in the works to help further combat those signups via MailChimp’s own hosted form. While we cannot speak for Gravity forms, in the meantime, using a Wufoo form and adding a CAPTCHA can help; Wufoo does provide this field as a form option and directly integrates with our system. Here’s a quick link to Wufoo’s information on this feature: http://wufoo.com/2009/07/02/smart-captcha/
First of all, I use Gravity Forms for my newsletter sign ups. It’s a premium form that pretty much everyone says is #1. Wufoo might be good, but it’s web based and I’m not comfortable having all my form data stored on a server out there I have no control over. We’re talking about your email address. I’d rather keep that stuff as safe as I possibly can – I respect your privacy.
Secondly, I can add Captcha to Gravity Forms. Really easilly. But, I shouldn’t have to with Double Opt In – right? Studies also show the less you ask in a form the more apt people are going to be to click the submit button.
Which brings me to my solution. Totally dissatisfied with MailChimps answer I looked to solve the issue on my own. Instead of explaining what I did, I’ll just have to show you…