Are you safe from fake subscribers and how do you spot them in your list?

I wanted to let you know about something I’ve noticed on my list – fake email signups. And I’m sure it’s not only my list that gets attacked with this.

If you’re not careful, these things can ruin your sending reputation, and it wouldn’t even be your fault!

Because when the emails you send are not delivered to the inbox, your sender reputation starts to decline. And if it gets low enough, your emails will automatically get declined from the servers, even if you’re sending it to a valid email address.

No one wants their emails going into spam.

So what can you do?

One of the best and easiest options was to have double opt-in enabled.

But bots are getting smarter and they are able to click on your confirmation emails, just like a normal person would.

I recommend that you have at least one extra field on your signup forms, along with the email address.

That way you can recognize fake signups on your list, because bot will fill out all the fields you have available. The email address will be like any other, but on other fields, you should notice a generic kind of string. Something that doesn’t look like a normal person would type in.

Let me show you an example on how I spot them.

I have first name field along with the email address field on my forms, so most of the people type their name in there.

Now check this subscriber:

This looks more like Terminator’s serial number and not a normal person’s name.

Funny thing is, the email went through the double opt-in process and confirmed it!

So do not think that you’re safe from bots if you have double opt-in enabled.

What to do:

  1. Check your list right now. If you are using any extra fields on your signup forms, go through your list and check for odd things like this. They usually start with a number, so it’s easy to just order everything alphabetically and see how many of these are on your list. And then remove them with no remorse!
  2. Add a ReCAPTCHA to your forms. A cool thing you can do to make your list safer from these kind of attacks. Check with your email marketing platform how to add this in. I’ll be adding it myself this week as well.

Your email strategy starts way before someone even gets on your email list, so make sure that your roots are optimized and your list grows the right way. If you are interested in getting your whole email strategy looked at, shoot me an email for more info.