Booting Spammers Out of Your Mailing List

Posted by on Dec 07 2015

I’ve noticed a trend lately: a lot of sign-ups to my mailing list from the same IP address. So I did a little research and lo-and-behold, it’s a “zombie” computer automatically signing up for ezines in order to steal the return address when you send the “thanks for signing up” autoresponder. (Those little stinkers!)

So, what do you do?

  • First, check to see if your ezine software captures the IP (internet protocol) address of people when they sign up.
  • Next, check for repeat IP addresses. I notice that these sign-ups are often in the “waiting for optin” list under, because they have no intention of opting-in.
  • Sometimes, however, there is an army of poorly paid people somewhere in the world who click on the opt-in links in emails for these spammers, so check your newly added email addresses on your list. It’s easy to find them: look for email addresses that don’t match the name they signed up under. For instance, the name is “Mary Jones” but the email address says The email addresses are almost always from,, or because these are free email services. Yahoo seems to be the frontrunner in bad/zombie email addresses.
  • When you find a suspicious email address, copy it into Google to see if sites like have blacklisted that email address.
  • Finally, I go back to my mailing system, and look for the place where I can block specific IP addresses or specific email addresses.

Voila! Now that zombie can’t sign up for my mailing list anymore!

It takes a little due diligence to keep your list clean, but it’s well worth it. And if your mailing list system won’t let you ban IP addresses, consider switching to a new one.


5 comments for now

5 Responses to “Booting Spammers Out of Your Mailing List”

  1. Xarah

    Thanks for the tips. I didn’t know that it is possible to do that.
    I immediately went to my mailing system and checked because I have noticed a lot of requested but not yet confirmed sign ups. No repeat IP addresses! Seamingly no zombies.
    Thanks, Xarah

    26 Sep 2006 at 1:55 pm

  2. Karyn GreenstreetNo Gravatar

    Hi, Xarah,

    I just got some more this morning. Many seem to come from Korea. It’s easy to find them because the email address doesn’t quite seem to match the person’s name, or the person’s name is “ringtones”


    02 Oct 2006 at 1:41 pm

  3. Xarah

    Found your site again because I was checking my link popularity 🙂
    Maybe my site is not that interesting for them spamers LOL
    It’s a good idea to look for the first names. I sorted all the unconfirmed, copied that whole text into excel, sorted again and then went through the names.
    I’ve noticed though a lot of sign ups that have not confirmed … and a lot of double and tripple sign ups. I wonder if that double optin is not clear for every body.

    14 Aug 2007 at 2:02 pm

  4. LaCharlaNo Gravatar

    I read this article the first time a few weeks ago, and it confirmed my suspicions about one of my email lists.

    There was a sudden rush of signups on an account that I hadn’t been promoting. The names & email addresses didn’t match, and when I checked, many of the urls were on lists of known spammers.

    I went on a deleting rampage.

    So thanks a million for this article, Karyn.

    And Happy 2016!

    06 Jan 2016 at 10:13 am

  5. Karyn GreenstreetNo Gravatar

    I’m never sure WHY they do it, LaCharla, but it’s good to know you can keep a “clean” list! 🙂

    06 Jan 2016 at 11:54 am

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