It sounds like a joke, doesn’t it? If you don’t have visitors on your website then how can someone subscribe to your list!!!
Well, I too experienced the same. I had just started a simple blog and written 2-3 simple articles which were not even ranking anywhere. Later on, I added a subscriber popup form to my website and noticed that daily 10-15 people were getting subscribed to my mailing list.
I was happy and confused at the same time because there was no sign of any visitor in Google Analytics but, still, I was gaining subscribers.
I had automated all the processes; when someone used to subscribe to my list, a FREE eBook was being sent to everyone. But, one day I got a reply from one of the subscribers, “Delete me from your email list. My email is being used fraudulently”.
And then, it hit me. Are these really fake email subscribers?
How do they Subscribe to the List
Email list spammers are almost similar to comment spammers and can be called as spambots. These spambots are nothing but an automated computer program which looks for sign up or mailing list forms on your website and fills in the fake information to the mailing list forms.
These spambots mainly target popup or sidebar signup forms to spam. The whole process is fully automatic and controlled by simple computer programs & scripts.
Are Fake Email Subscribers Harmful?
No, they aren’t harmful at all but if there will be a large number of fake emails and information then your email list can be negatively impacted. These fake signups will considerably reduce the accuracy of your list and it will become a tough task for you to identify, who’s real and who’s fake.
How to Know Whether the Mailing List Subscribers are Real or Fake?
Identifying, whether the subscribers are real or not, isn’t that difficult. There are certain techniques using which you can easily identify between fake and real.
Below are few ways using which you can know whether you too have fake subscribers or not.
Email Address doesn’t Match with the First or Last Name
Spammers use automated software which doesn’t fill correct details in the field. If the name in the email address doesn’t match the first or last name of the person then there are very high chances that it could be a spam.
An Odd-looking Email Address
This doesn’t always work but if the name in the email addresses is not likely to be pronounced easily or (and) looks strange, then there are strong chances that it could be a spam.
Different IP Addresses
If you ask your subscribers to go to their inbox and confirm their subscription then it could be easier to identify the spam. If the IP address of details submission and email confirmation is different then it indicates that probably it’s a spam.
How to Prevent Fake Email Spammers from Getting into Your Mailing List?
It may be difficult but not impossible to prevent spammers getting into your mailing list. There are few ways using which you can stop fake signups.
reCAPTCHA is a smart CAPTCHA service provided by Google and can be added in your signup forms.
It asks your subscribers to check a protected reCAPTCHA box which automated spambots are not able to bypass and hence, they can’t submit their fake information.
Double Opt-in Method
If you are not already using this double opt-in method then you must enable this. When spammers provide someone else’s email to the mailing list form then to confirm the subscription it requires email to be opened and confirmation link to be clicked.
Generally, spammers do not have access to those emails but sometimes they can also click the confirmation link by going into the email.
Use 3rd party WordPress plugins
If you use WordPress on your blog then you can install Akismet WordPress Plugins which discards all the spam entries to any kind of forms and prevents those spammers from getting into your mailing list.
You can also use the WordPress plugin WPBruiser which blocks the maximum of the spam comments and spam entries to your mailing list forms.
If you too are getting email subscribers more than you expect like me, then wait… it may be the case that those are fake subscribers.
Fake subscribers can be identified easily and removed from the list by using the techniques like reCaptcha, Double opt-in etc.
If there are already fake submissions are present in your mailing list then this is what MailChimp suggests their users to do.
Any kind of questions or (and) queries are welcomed in the comments.