Sign-up form generates spam. Is there a way to limit sign-ups to confirmed opt-in?

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Our sign-up form generates a great deal of spam. As an alternative to reCaptchas and other anti-spam checks, is it possible to manage authentic subscribers through Emma?

Ideally, we would like an automated workflow that confirms an opt-in when a subscriber receives a welcome email. Only after the subscriber opts in to the mailing list are they added to our group segment. It would also be great if those who do not opt-in after a set period (such as 48 or 72 hours) are automatically removed.

Is something like this possible?

Many thanks.
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The Vilcek Foundation

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  • hopeful.

Posted 3 years ago

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Damian Gatta, Official Rep

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Hi there!

You can create an automated workflow on your Automation page to send once a contact signs up to your list using your signup form that asks them to confirm opting in.  You can use the confirm opt in personalization tag in your campaign so that when they receive the automated campaign, they can click the confirm opt in link.  Then you can create a segment in your Audience to search for contacts who have confirmed opting in.



Take a look here for more details on using personalization in your campaigns.  Also, here is a helpful resource for using automation in your account.  There is not currently a way to have any contacts who have not confirmed opting in to be automatically deleted from the account after a specified timeframe.  I am happy to log that as a feature request so that it is on our teams radar!

Feel free to reach out with any questions or if there is anything else I can do to help!
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The Vilcek Foundation

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Hey Damien,

How can I create a segment in our Audience to search for contacts who have confirmed opting in? Is it possible to set up a workflow that automatically adds them to an existing segment?

And, for those users who do not opt in, is there an easy way to search for and delete them in bulk?

Thanks!
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Damian Gatta, Official Rep

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Hi there!

You can create that segment by heading to your Audience page and clicking on the Segments tab and then click the Create a new segment button.  You will want to search for contacts based on Contact Information and search for people by field: Confirmed opted in 
is not empty:



Segments are dynamic so all contacts who confirm opting in will automatically be added to the segment.  To delete contacts that do not confirm opting in, create another segment the same way except select is empty.  Then when the segment runs and you have it open, click on the dropdown at the top of the page to select all contacts and click the delete button.  If you want these contacts deleted completely from your audience, select from all groups and your audience.

Feel free to give me a shout if you have any questions!
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Family Missions Company

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Is it possible for spammers to confirm opt-in?

All of my signup forms have "confirm opt-in" turned on. Over the past month and a half we have been hit by spammers signing dozens and dozens of spambot email addresses up for our weekly email. They open every campaign, click every single link, and share the campaign on every outlet. We're trying to stay on top of cleaning them out, because this has really been inflating our Response statistics. We can't really send to a confirmed opt-in segment because we import recent donor info from our CRM on a regular basis (so they haven't confirmed the double opt-in). Even if we did send only to confirmed opt-in contacts,  I'm pretty sure at least one of our "confirmed opt-in" email contacts is a spambot thing. Call me pessimistic, but I'm pretty sure NO ONE is that enthusiastic about a single email – sharing every campaign four times, clicking every link two or three times – that's crazy right? How do we deal with that?
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Art Quanstrom, Deliverability and Compliance Lead

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It is technically possible for 'spammers' to automate clicking the opt-in confirmation link in the message we send when an email address is submitted through a signup form, but there is another more likely solution.

Some spam filters perform a check that clicks every link in an email and verifies that the end point is safe for the recipient. This would also explain why you see that the share links have been used as well, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the content was actually posted -- only that the link was checked.

Any email address at that domain using this type of spam check will end up confirming their opt in and will click every link in every message you send them at least once. We have taken measures to exclude activity that we can verify is automated, but we also must err on the side of caution in order to not further muddy the waters here. I would say that the practice of spam filters clicking every link is not so pervasive that it would completely devalue your response metrics, but it may be that some senders are affected more than others. If you have specific email addresses we can look at, it may be possible to identify whether the domain(s) is/are using a spam filter known to do link checks.

Back to the subject of spammers attacking your signup form ... you may have some luck with switching to a lightbox form. These forms are harder to abuse, though (as with any form) they're not completely impenetrable. Next time you see what appears to be signup form abuse, I'd encourage you to reach out to our support team by email (support@myemma.com), detail what you're seeing (domains, which signup form, etc.), and give us a chance to see things closer to real-time. We may be able to come up with better suggestions to combat your specific issue.