A few weeks ago, I noticed that Aweber charged me a little more than usual. It had been awhile since I had worked on my mailing list, and I pleasantly thought that I had a growth in subscribers.
Unfortunately, that was not the case.
When I logged in to Aweber to start a mailing list for my new freelance blogging site, I was surprised to see this.
Over half of my list was unsubscribed!
If I had just recently sent an offensive email to my list, I would have understood. But I at the time of this discovery, I hadn’t used it in months. Sad, I know, but that’s not the point of this post.
So I used the Search Subscribers features to see just those who unsubscribed.
And I found this…
Normally, I wouldn’t share my subscribers’ email addresses, but in this case I don’t feel too bad because this group is all spammers. Along with pretty much all of the 1,300+ unsubscribes on my list. A number that jumped my Aweber account into the next level from $29 to $49 per month!
How do I know they are spammers? Of course, this is only an assumption, but we’re talking a huge number of people who “signed up” using the opt-in form in my sidebar and were automatically unsubscribed because their email addresses didn’t work.
The fact that half of their names included Pharm was also a tip off. That and most of their email addresses were from AOL, Yahoo, GMX, and other free services.
And finally, the majority of them are trying to go to a login.php which doesn’t exist and directs the spammers to my 404 page.
Since I can’t figure out how to get the mailing list sign up off of my 404 page, and don’t necessarily want to, I just redirected the the non-existant login page to Google for lack of better options.
So after purging my mailing list (100 unsubscribes at a time), I went back to creating the new one like planned. But now I know to check my mailing list subscribers more often (or at least before billing time) to prevent this from happening again. And you should too!
Ps. Please note that this isn’t a fault of Aweber (affiliate link) and I still love them. They remove subscribers that never confirm after thirty days, but mine hit the site all around the time of billing. Since redirecting the bad links the spammers were signing up on, the spam subscribers have decreased dramatically.