Preventing "Spammers" from being notified of new Posts
@macmanx, you said:
If they’re logged in to WordPress.com, they’ll see “Follow” in the admin bar. They can also follow a blog from the Reader.
In above mentioned case, should I see a link to their gravatar, or any other link associated to their WordPress account, in the email notification I get?
I have received an email notification today about a subscriber who very much look like a spam/fake. In that notification, there is absolutely no link to any WordPress gravatar or a blog. Please note that I have disabled Email Subscription form and Follow-box-for-logged-out-users from my blog, and as per your note above, anyone can still follow if they are logged in to WordPress.com through their admin bar.
So if this is the case and if this alleged fake/spam email address has followed my blog through WordPress.com’s admin bar, than why do I not have an ability to report a suspected spam follower, so you can may be investigate?
What is the full email address?
kaputmotto4035 AT hotmail DOT com
That individual subscribed to your blog 8 days ago, which I imagine was before you removed the widget.
The time-stamp on my email header (for this particular notification) is this:
Received: by x.x.x.x with SMTP id xxxxxxxxxx; Wed, 17 Apr 2013 00:12:46 -0700 (PDT).
If your record shows that this subscription occurred 8 days ago, than I will end this query right now as my Gmail could be the culprit here, I can’t tell. Thanks.
Yeah, it could have gone out late. They definitely subscribed 8 days ago.
I am just curious. Have you guys considered adding captcha to the Email Subscribe and Follow box?
I recall back when I was using Feedburner (prior to WP introducing its own), Feedburner had a captcha verification. If I am not mistaken, currently, WP only asks that people verify subscription by clicking a link in the email. I am assuming that this method is being abused by the spam/junk followers?
No, we’re very much against captcha for accessibility issues. When someone follows a blog via email, they receive a confirmation notice with an activation link which must be clicked.
They won’t be following your blog, and you won’t receive the notice, until they click the confirmation link. So far, this requires a human touch. There are no known bots capable of this, and we haven’t seen any bot-like activity.
Come to think of it, this is probably why you didn’t get the notification for that email follower until 8 days after they followed you.
Despite the fact I have never ever enabled the WordPress.com follow blog widget on my blogs, as I use Feedburner, I do have email followers on both. How is that possible?
They’re all WordPress.com users, but in this case chose to follow via email.
Okay but it seems weird to me, given the fact that I did choose to enable the follow blog widget and have WordPress.com email my posts to any users.
Yeah, they followed as WordPress.com users, then choose the email option later. Any WordPress.com user can do this.
Okay, so that means we have no control over which email service we wish to use provide our posts to WordPress.com users. If they are WordPress.com users and select email service then WordPress.com automatically delivers. I’ve got it now.
That is correct. Email subscriptions are part of the Reader, so if they decide that they want emails too, we’ll send emails.
So here’s the summary so far as I have understood:
1. Email Widget is the culprit of alleged fake/junk subscribers.
2. People are clicking on verification links in the email to subscribe blogs and they are not automated bots but people with unknown ulterior motives.
3. WP Reader is not a culprit in this case (my experiment suggest).
4. Alleged fake/junk email addresses subscribing to your blogs are different from WordPress.com registered users who are clicking on Like buttons to increase the prospect of their own visibility through the use of other people’s blogs.
5. Alleged fake/junk subscribers can also subscribe your blog via email through the use of WP Reader and/or the Admin Bar even if your blog does not provide a direct Email Subscription widget. But they will have to be registered WordPress.com subscribers in the first place.
1. No, it’s how people follow your blog via email if they want to. I wouldn’t call it a culprit. That’s like blaming a drunk driving accident on the car.
2. Correct, or they’re legitimate people with really lame email addresses who are really interested in what you write.
4. Correct, no obvious connection so far.
Your checklist jives with mine.
If you are keeping a list of requests and or suggestions for how to address this then approving every follower will give us bloggers the control over our blogs that we want and need. Let them all apply to become followers and before that happens allow us to delete the dubious dross first.
Just for the record, I’m one of those people who prefers to follow blogs via email. I’ve never used readers. If I can’t figure out how to follow your blog via email, then chances are I won’t remember to visit you again.
@timethief , I love your idea!
That would be great, or we should at least have the option to remove subscribers after they’ve subscribed. This would be absolutely terrific. Every WP user I’ve spoken to about this has agreed that being able to control our followers’ list would be a tremendous improvement to the WP experience (now I’m thinking of the Jimi Hendrix experience).
Anyhoo, I too received 10 new fake/spam followers today: they are all WP users, none email subscribers.
Thanks for the feedback!
If the suspect followers are indeed WordPress.com users, please visit their blog via one of the links in the notification email.
If it’s a spam blog, please report it: http://en.support.wordpress.com/report-blogs/
This will shut down their account (pending approval of the report), and it also has the added benefit of determining if it really is a fake follower or a legitimate follower who just has a lousy account name.
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