Spammers Love Subscribing to My eMail List
I noticed that for this very blog you’re reading right now, I was getting a lot of opt-ins (people signing up to my eNewsletter). I was happy, thrilled to see the huge uptake suddenly. I must be doing something right, I thought.
I then noticed just as many where also unsubscribing from my mailing list. Well, that’s normal. I can’t please everyone. Unsubscribes are normal part of list building and managing a list. But then it was just too much. What the heck am I doing wrong here? Can my email messages be that bad?
I don’t email every day, I don’t hammer my subscribers with every offer under the sun in pursuit of the commission. I pride myself in building a relationship with my subscribers. I’ve even received compliments over it and I’ve become online friends with many of my subscribers, so what gives?
I haven’t had time to delve into it, so I just let it go, until it really got to bothering me, so tonight, I put time aside to delve into my
Here’s the low down. And I guess I’m naive, I didn’t even know this was a thing spammers where doing. But that’s who was joining my list in droves.
I logged into Aweber and I was checking my unsubscribe stats. The first thing that got my attention was that all these unsubscribes came before they even received an email from me…
Okay, so if it’s not my emails that drove them off, what then? At first I thought perhaps they signed up to one of my lists to get one of my free reports and then unsubscribe right away, once they downloaded the report. It happens but damn, that’s a lot of folks doing that. I doesn’t happen that much to me.
Next up, I check the date they subscribed and unsubscribed. The majority of these “subscribers” joined my list then unsubscribed within an hour (at the most).
Hmm, okay, they subscribed, then before I even emailed them anything, they unsubscribed within an hour. Something nefarious is afoot — I’m quick aren’t I?
Next up, I need to check out the entry point. From where are these “people” subscribing. Time to check my ad tracking stats.
I take a look and a-ha, they’re all coming in from the same source: “comment_checkbox“. It seemed like a great idea, folks are reading my blog post, they want to comment, so they’re already engaged, why not make it nice and easy for them to subscribe, right from there?
Especially since I’m use a plugin called “MaxBlogPress Subscribers Magnet” which makes it so darn easy to do…
Heck, I just check that little box with the plugin admin area and voilà, the plugin adds a little checkmark at the bottom of my comment box area so folks can check it and subscribe to my mailing list when commenting. Groovy!
So that feature of MaxBlogPress Subscribers Magnet, really was a magnet, but it wasn’t attracting the kind of subscribers I had hoped. And I was oblivious, it’s embarrassing. My opt-in rates went through the roof! What a frigging great plugin, worth every penny, I thought… until I finally took a close look at the kind of “subscribers” the magnet was adding onto my email list. Pure crap.
Below you’ll see my “unsubscribe” data from Aweber. As you can see, the Ad Tracking code is the same, so they all entered through the same source. The “subscribe to my newsletter” checkbox added to my blog comment field by the MaxBlogPress Subscriber Magnet plugin. Notice the the “names”… diet power, bingodaubers, Eben Pagan Guru (weird one, must be an affiliate of his or something), foot locker coupons, and on and on. Comment spam type stuff.
Upon checking into a few of these “subscribers”, it appears they all use email addresses that don’t even work since the ones I checked, where all stopped by Aweber for having an email address that was undeliverable.
I have a welcome email that goes out once someone signs up so they can easily confirm their subscription, but the process didn’t get that far since they’re using bogus email addresses so Aweber stopped the subscription.
What’s the point of all this crap? What are they trying to game? I’m not even sure. I thought perhaps they wanted to get my email address so they could spam me. My email goes out to them, they scrape my email address and add it to their database. But it doesn’t appear it even got that far.
Perhaps they’re trying comment spam by appearing to be a subscriber. But that’s a moot point, I use
I’ve already spent more time analyzing this than I want. But the main lesson-learned from this analysis for me… remove that subscribe checkbox from my post comments.
Those subscribers were not only useless, but they royally screwed up my stats. They also led me to falsely believe that the strategies I had implemented (like using the MaxBlogPress Subscriber Magnet comment feature) were working like gangbusters. I was all impressed with my kick-butt percent increase in subscribers. And Even worse, as I wrote in this post about Aweber invoicing me for going over my allotted subscriber limit for my plan, all these fake subscribers ended up being a good chunk of those subscribers that put me over the limit. Since even unsubscribed, they’re still on the Aweber database so I had to pay extra for them (I was paying an additional $9.95 per month to Aweber for four months before wising up and having them deleted off the database permanently).
It’s embarrassing to admit that I let this go unchecked for many months before delving into my stats. All the information was right there thanks to
My opt-in rate on this blog will be going way down in the next 24-hours and beyond, thank goodness! Real, quality subscribers only, please.