Unsolicited service emails and contact form spam are as old as the internet itself. This type of spam can range from unsolicited business offers and phishing attempts, to x-rated messages and more. These types of contact form submissions at best are annoying, and at worst a security risk. This article was created in attempt to help eliminate a portion of contact form spam with the popular WordPress contact form plugin Gravity Forms.
What Do We Define As Contact Form Spam?
Contact form spam is a form submission of unsolicited offers of business services. These services can include things such as offers for blog posts, business funding, IT services and more. Often they will include a link in the email for you to opt out of receiving future messages. You may receive multiple copy and paste contact form submissions in the same day or week from these senders.
Note: Clicking on any links from unsolicited spam emails is a recipe for disaster. If you receive emails of this nature, we recommend marking them as spam and deleting them from your inbox. Do not give any personal information, visit these websites, or complete their opt out forms.
Here is a good example of contact form spam from Randy at Talk With Lead
My name is Randy and I was looking at a few different sites online and came across your site (insert website here) . I must say – your website is very impressive. I found your website on the first page of the Search Engine. Have you noticed that 70 percent of visitors who leave your website will never return? In most cases, this means that 95 percent to 98 percent of your marketing efforts are going to waste, not to mention that you are losing more money in customer acquisition costs than you need to. As a business person, the time and money you put into your marketing efforts is extremely valuable. So why let it go to waste? Our users have seen staggering improvements in conversions with insane growths of 150 percent going upwards of 785 percent. Are you ready to unlock the highest conversion revenue from each of your website visitors? TalkWithLead is a widget which captures a website visitor’s Name, Email address and Phone Number and then calls you immediately, so that you can talk to the Lead exactly when they are live on your website — while they’re hot! Try the TalkWithLead Live Demo now to see exactly how it works. Visit:… When targeting leads, speed is essential – there is a 100x decrease in Leads when a Lead is contacted within 30 minutes vs being contacted within 5 minutes. If you would like to talk to me about this service, please give me a call. We do offer a 30 days free trial.
Thanks and Best Regards,
If the above message looks familiar, you are not alone. This is one of the most common spam emails we see submitted across our network of sites on a consistent basis. Talk With Lead’s approach violates the most basic principles of consent in email marketing (if you even consider this email marketing).
What is Consent in Regards to Email Marketing?
While randomly spamming website contact forms is in no means email marketing, many of the principles around consent apply here. Furthermore, many of these spam emails contain links to opt out of further messages implying an automated aspect to this approach. We felt like this was a good opportunity to explore the issue of consent and the important role it plays in email marketing.
When it comes to email marketing, getting permission to email clients or potential clients is step number one. This is one of the major reasons we would never advise buying an email list for marketing purposes. Consent falls under two categories when it comes to email marketing; express consent, and implied consent.
Express consent is exactly what it sounds like. People who have given express consent to be emailed by your company, took the first step and let you know its ok to contact them with service offers or business updates. A good example of this is someone who signed up for your email newsletter on your website or social media promotion.
Implied consent comes from someone who you have an existing business relationship with. Good examples of implied consent are current clients, colleagues from business networking groups, people who have donated to your charity, or fellow members of a club, group, or organization.
Be careful with implied consent. Before adding someone to your email marketing list under implied consent ask yourself “is my email message wanted/useful to this person?” If the answer to that question is iffy at best or no, don’t email that person.
For more information about best practice and the importance of getting permission before emailing clients or potential clients, Mailchimp has a great article on this topic.
How Can Gravity Forms Help Slow The Flow Of Contact Form Spam?
Gravity Forms is one of the most widely used contact form plugins for WordPress websites. It is incredibly flexible, and integrates with a whole host of third party services including PayPal, Zoho CRM, Mailchimp, Constant Contact and more.
Out of the box Gravity Forms includes some helpful anti-spam measures including:
- Integration with Google Recaptcha
- Honeypot Method for automated bots
- Integration with Akismet (a great paid plugin)
With a few further customizations, you can eliminate known spammers with a few extra steps.
Hi Randy, No I’m Not Interested In Your Lead Generation Services
This list of contact form spammers fall under the “don’t call us, we’ll call you” category. From fast business funding, to lead generation services, these companies consistently spam contact forms with offers of service. Any company spamming thousands of sites is probably not your best option even if you are in need of their services. What’s worse is you may still get hit with spam emails of this nature even if you have taken steps to protect yourself with measures like Recaptcha, honeypots, or Akismet.
Stop Known Spammers From Submitting Your Contact Form
Gravity Forms has a great feature that allows you to apply conditional logic to the contact form submission button. People or bots attempting to fill out your contact form with an email address from any of the sites below will have the submit button disappear upon entering their email address and will be unable to submit the form. This is a great additional step to stop repeat offenders in their tracks. We have compiled a list of some common contact form spammers you can add to your websites Gravity Forms using the conditional logic method.
Spammers to add to your forms:
How We Compiled This List
This list of common contact form spammers was compiled by reviewing 3+ years worth of contact form data (2015-present). Many of these spammers contacted multiple sites within our network only a few minutes apart with the same copy and pasted message. If you feel like your company was listed here in error, contact us to state your case.
Step-By-Step Instructions To Enable Conditional Logic on Your Gravity Forms Submit Button
The following step-by-step instructions assume that you have Gravity Forms installed on your website and are comfortable making adjustments to the settings.
- From the backend of your WordPress website on the left sidebar, hover over Forms and from the menu below select Forms. You should see a list of all of the Gravity Forms you have created for your website.
- Select the form you would like to enable conditional logic on from the list of forms.
- Once you have selected the desired form, you will be in the form editor section of Gravity Forms. Once here, hover over Settings in the top banner and select Form Settings.
- From here you will want to scroll down to the form button section and check the “Enable Conditional Logic” box. Checking the box will enable a few options which you can select from.
- Update your settings to “Hide” this form button if “Any” of the following match. “Email” “Contains” —-> Insert domain name. You will repeat this step for all of the domain names listed above.
- Once you save your settings you can check if your conditional logic is working by testing your contact form on the front end of your website. Simply try to complete the contact form using any of the excluded domain names. Example enter email@example.com and you should notice that the form submission button disappears.