Invasion of the Spam Bots by Mae Clair

If you read my post yesterday about word count and something “weird,” you’ll remember that weirdness had to do with an unusual number of newsletter sign-ups I’ve had over the last few days. As I mentioned in that post, I normally get a handful of sign-ups each month, but I’ve been getting that many each day for approximately three days now. And each new reader provides only a first name.

I appreciate everyone taking the time yesterday to share their thoughts about whether  I should judge these as genuine readers. LauraLynn even indicated she’d heard of the same thing happening to other writers.

Woman sitting in front of laptop, gripping her hair and yellingWhich is why I thought I should spread the word. The sign-ups were spam 😦

I goggled the email addresses and found all of them (except two) listed as spam bots on a site called Clean Talk. *sigh* Really?

What satisfaction do spammers get from this? If it isn’t hard enough for writers to promote themselves and gain fans, now we have to worry about fake ones. A pox on all spam bots!

I wanted to mention this in case you or someone you know finds yourself in a similar situation. I’m really glad I took the time to investigate. I think the other two names (that Clean Talk didn’t pick up) are bots, too, because they follow the same pattern. They’re probably newer ones that haven’t been cataloged yet. Today, I only had one new sign-up, so perhaps the trend is dwindling. I can only hope.

Summer rural scene with old wooden abandoned barn in green mountain meadowOn the plus side, I just discovered “hobo marks.” Apparently, during the depression hobos used a language of symbols to mark sidewalks, fence posts and walls. This alerted others passing by what they could expect—a good road to follow or if the owner of a nearby house was kind-hearted or mean. J.L. Bryan references them in book 4 (Terminal) of the Ellie Jordan Ghost Trapper series. I don’t know why, but old folklore and references like this fascinate me. I might have to find a way to work these markings into a future story. Here’s a website with some symbols if you’d like to check them out.

And finally my home state’s famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, has predicted an early spring! Everyone cross your fingers the little guy got it right!

30 thoughts on “Invasion of the Spam Bots by Mae Clair

    • I’d never heard of them before but they immediately screamed for attention. I actually stopped reading the book long enough to scribble a note to remind myself to google them in the morning (the memory isn’t what it used to be!). Cool idea about the graffiti association. I’m definitely adding hobo marks to my pile of future ideas!

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    • Hi, Lynn! Thanks for stopping in and visiting my blog. Sorry to hear you got hit by the spammers, too. There must be a plague of them out there right now. Ugh! Crossing my fingers neither of us picks up any more!

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  1. Phil is usually right. 😀 I’m sorry to hear about the bots. Unbelievable! Doesn’t Mail Chimp weed them out for you? When I transferred my “users” to Mail Chimp, they weeded out 68 emails that were all spammers. Some people need to get a life. As if this business isn’t hard enough…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, that’s amazing about Mail Chimp. The problem is because I’m using WP’s free site, I can’t add a Mail Chimp plug-in, so it doesn’t kick back a subscription confirmation. I’m using a form and adding names manually.
      I had upgraded to a paid site last year but things didn’t go as I had planned so I switched back. I’m think I’m probably going to have to tackle it again.
      And, hopefully, Phil is in hardcore weather forecaster mode, LOL. I am soooo ready for spring!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m not familiar with mail munch but it sounds like Sue has a good thing going with Mail Chimp. I use it for my lists and creating newsletters. I’d love to be able to add the plug-in to my site!

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      • Mail Chimp is wonderful. There’s a reason it’s the #1 email platform with authors. You can do so much with it. The subscription forms can be a little tricky. I use SumoMe instead, which then sends the subscriber emails to my MailChimp list. Very simple to use. Highly recommend.

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  2. I wonder “Qui prodest?” in such cases? Do they do it for a twisted way of fun? A pity that people waste their as well as our time with such nonsense! Hopefully, they’ll leave you alone.

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    • Maybe not having the confirmation is a good thing. The fact my site didn’t kick anything back like a subscription confirmation might make them think they’ve hit a dead end. One can only hope!

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    • Yeah, I much prefer the hobo reference over the gang idea, but you’re right…I hadn’t thought about how they use graffiti to communicate. Good point!
      And so much for the darn spammers…they had me running for a while but at least I figured it out 😦

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    • Hi, Jessi. Nice to have you pop in! The spam thing seems to be hitting a lot of writers right now from what I’m hearing, so be on the lookout. It’s so annoying. Pox, pox, pox! 😀

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  3. I agree completely about the pox on the bots. It’s such a waste of time. Yay for Pete. We’ve only had a couple of really cold spells here. I do love them, but this year with the healing they’ve been harder to handle. Hobo marks are so interesting. In fact the hobo culture enthralls me.

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  4. I love the hobo marks and I agree it could make an interesting story to use them. Sorry about the bots, Mae. A crazy waste of time. Those people should be found better things to do. I’d wondered about starting a newsletter. I think I’ll hang fire for a bit.

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    • Would you believe I had to look up the expression “hang fire?” I’d never heard that one before. Consider me educated, now! 🙂

      Yay for the hobo marks, boo-hiss to the bots. They are most definitely a waste of valuable time!

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  5. Wow, just you mentioning the hobo marks launched a whole “I wonder how I can use those in one of my books” train of thought. 🙂 It’ll have to wait for a bit, at least until I’ve got my WIP published. I actually have an opportunity to use them in one of my books–oooh, now I’m distracted 😀 Hope you can keep the spam bots at bay. I always wonder what those people could do if they put their energy toward something constructive.

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    • Aren’t the hobo marks cool? I’m totally gone on the idea of weaving them into some future story. There are so many possibilities. I also came upon a “wishing tree” the other day surfing folklore blogs and almost think I could weave the two together.
      And those stupid bots are still hitting with about 1 a day. Ugh!
      Good luck with the WIP. You are really making great progress on it!

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