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!