Bad bots. Email spam. Ew.

Hey guys. Yesterday I got an email from Comcast informing me that somebody had reported one of my emails sent from this site as spam. Confused, I checked the sent emails log and found the email sent to the person which was a generic “Thanks for signing up” one.

Even more confused as to why somebody would sign up to a website just to report the welcome message as spam, I decided to email them and find out what’s going on.

Now while I was scanning the site’s sent emails log I saw that same “Thanks for signing up” email had been sent to a whole bunch of people who had signed up, which is unusual as it means they just signed up to the website without going through the process to create their own site. I assumed it was the actions of a bot signing up with dummy info in an attempt to either try and hack the site or overload the servers.

The guy who reported the welcome email as spam replied last night explaining he’d gotten over 100 emails that day claiming he’d signed up to sites that he obviously hadn’t, and was extremely frustrated.

I also get a TON of junk mail claiming I’ve signed up for site x, y, and z, and I just assumed the owners of those sites bought a list of email addresses and added them all to their site in an effort to either get me to buy something through email spam, or do something more malicious if I dared to click onto their site to unsubscribe. I always thought it was just dodgy sites trying to scam me somehow.

Going by the reply from that guy though we’re both victims in this, and I’m contributing to it. It looks like a bot/botnet is going round signing random real people up to whatever sites they can find. What’s worse is I don’t know why..

Which brings me to the reason I’m writing this post. If you’ve recently received an email from my site welcoming you aboard when you never signed up – I’m sorry. I haven’t bought or sold any email lists and never would. To try and stop contributing to the spam and cut off the bots I’ve just reconfigured and upgraded Google ReCaptcha throughout this site.

The good news for my customers is in most cases you no longer need to hit the checkbox to verify you’re human – Google should process everything in the background with zero input. The bad news is I’ve not fully tested the upgrade, so legitimate customers might see issues signing in or signing up. If you do run into any trouble please do give me a shout on social media – I’m on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I’d say you could even use the contact form on this site but that’s also protected with a captcha so if you were experiencing trouble with the captcha it probably wouldn’t work 😅

-Jamie

Edit: The new Google ReCaptcha settings broke new site signups. Should now be fixed 😣