If your website has a contact form then you understand the title of this blog post. Millions of fake form submissions are made every hour. Even with protections enabled, a few will still slip through. Some are obvious, and very easy to recognize as spam, but others can be harder to tell apart. So what are you looking for? Let’s look at some ways to identify spam form submissions.
Content owners complaining of copyright infringement will never contact you via a website contact form. They will use your email address directly. They will never make demands with amounts of money as part of the threat. Infact, owners of copyrighted material will not contact you at all, the cease and desist letter/email will come directly from a lawyer. The email will include a direct link and description to YOUR website where the copyrighted material can be found. Not a link to some other website. And you should be able to look at the url path, and then without clicking on the link navigate to the location on your own from your website.
Very often scam form submissions will claim that your website’s SEO is terrible and they can improve it for you. There is a good chance the submitter has no idea what your website’s SEO is. Only if you contact them back will they then will use a free online tool (that you also have access to) to run your website and make a big deal out of everything your website has gotten wrong. SEO is graded and few websites get an A, most are a B or C. But these submitters will blow your B out of proportion and try to get you to sign up for an SEO package that won’t help anyways.
Interestingly, few people seem to realize that google my business and google map listings are FREE, and can be added by anyone. This means you! You can and should claim your own google map/business listings, and then grant access to your marketing company so you remain the owner. Never pay someone to solely claim your google business of map listing. If you have a relationship with a marketing company, they may charge you for the time it takes to claim those listings, but that should be the only charge.
Social Media Managers
About the same applies for this type of submission as the Google Listings submissions. You should only be charged for the time it takes to manage these accounts and any money spent on paid ads. These accounts are free to set up and you should be the owner for obvious reasons.
Here is another one where websites are graded. A good website is an A or B, but many are a C. And all of these are acceptable, but a website form submitter will attempt to make this a huge deal and make you think your website belongs in the dark ages. Like the SEO auditors, they probably have not even actually run your website through a free online performance checker (which you also have access to) until you contact them back.
These submissions try to appear helpful, and will say something like, “Just wanted you to know the word XXX is spelled wrong on your website…” They often include a link to where this spelling mistake is, but the link is always broken because its not a real page, because this isn’t a real person. The submission is just trying to sell you something, a spellchecker tool or service, and by calling out a supposed misspelling they hope to create urgency. For the record, real people are never this helpful. They will simply say something like “You spelled desicion wrong” and not tell you where, or address the fact they also spelled it wrong.
When in doubt, ask us!
If you are one of our clients, we always welcome inquiries asking to check the validity of a scam email. We use all the recommended spam prevention techniques but you will still get some submissions.
Have an idea or a project?
Give us a call! We would love to go over it with you and offer strategic advice and give you some options. Contact us today.