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Why would a spammer automate signups to a mailing list



11:14 am on Aug 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I run a mailing list and over the last few days someone has started automated subscriptions with non-existant email addresses.

These all originate from different IPs and the subscriptions are to non-existant domains (just random characters).

Considering that this has no purpose because the email accounts can't be activated or receive mailings, can anyone think why on earth would someone bother to do this? What's to gain for the spammer other than wasting a few minutes of my time?

Your thoughts would be appreciated.


11:25 am on Aug 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator phranque is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

often these are spambots that probe your site by submitting forms with unique strings for the form inputs to see if the content gets published.
later there may be additional probes to see if urls get published as anchor links and whether or not they are nofollow.
eventually the goal is to publish spammy links on vulnerable UGC sites or in comment spam.

the spambot doesn't "know" it's a subscription form.


12:11 pm on Aug 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Thanks for the reply. In that case, do you think it's likely that this will stop after a while when it realises that nothing is being published or is it going to be just something I have to live with.

I did add a captcha a while back, but all that did really was make it more difficult for the genuine users. The bot managed to solve the captchas somehow.


2:37 pm on Aug 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

The bot managed to solve the captchas somehow.

That's frightening because half the time I can't get the captchas right and apparently I am human.


7:43 am on Aug 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sgt_kickaxe is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member

Going through a service like feedburner(owned by Google) may be of help since it regularly updates and monitors their anti-spam capabilities. They have an option to sign up for new posts by email still and you can set up the feed to display specific content.

Also, subscribing to the email feed on some sites also gets you an account to post comments with, without verifying the email address, and the bots on your site may be looking for that in order to spam their links.

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