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 firstname.lastname@example.org. The email addresses are almost always from live.com, gmail.com, or yahoo.com 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 www.cleantalk.org 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.