Sometimes, it comes from Russia.
Sometimes, it's the (empty) promise of making your website #1.
What is it really though? A waste of your time.
We're talking about website form submission spam.
This form submission spam leads many clients to ask "Why Do I Keep Getting These?"
Well, Why Do You Keep Getting Form Submission Spam?
It happens to everyone. If a site has a form where information can be submitted, robots and spammers will find it and try to send spam through the website form.
But, why? The answer to this question depends on the type of spam form submission.
Below is a simple breakdown of the different types of spam form submissions.
Types of Spam Form Submissions: The Russian (or Foreign Language) Form Submission
Some clients will receive form submissions like the above, where the content in the form submission is in a foreign language.
Who is Sending This? Why?
Usually, form submissions in a foreign language are a poor attempt at getting a link to the spammers website from your website. If the spammer were to get a link to their website from your website, this can improve the positioning on search engine results for the spammer's website.
Fortunately, that's not how this works. Spam form submissions do not serve as a link to the spammer's website.
Types of Spam Form Submissions: SEO Spam
Another common type of form submission spam is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) form submission spam. In this type of spam form submission, the spammer will promise the great results they can achieve for you, promising to get you to the top of search engines for keywords that matter to you. Some will even try to make it look like they've identified specific problems with your site SEO. In reality, these spammers send the exact same message to any site they can find.
Who is Sending This? Why?
Sometimes, SEO form submission spam is sent by programs that look for any site that accepts form submissions. In other cases, actual people are sending these SEO spam form submissions.
Regardless if the SEO spam form submission is sent from a robot or a human, the promises are empty. If they could really get you to the top of search results, their marketing strategy would be a little more savvy than sending form submission spam.
Also, SEO spam form submissions are worded in a way to lure you in to contacting the spammer. It's important to never respond to these SEO spam form submissions. While some are trying to trick you with promising growth that they can't deliver, others are just looking to get your sensitive information.
Types of Form Submission Spam: Malicious Form Spam
Some form submission spam aims to damage your website or get money from your business. This is known as malicious form spam.
Who is Sending This? Why?
Scammers, hackers and other cyber criminals use malicious form spam to demand a ransom, steal sensitive information or inject a computer virus.
It's very important to never click a link on a form submission. Links could be part of a malicious form submission, and loading the website associated with the link could cause damage to your device or website.
What You Can Do About Spam Form Submissions
When you get a form submission that solicits for services, is suspicious, irrelevant or difficult to understand, the easiest solution is to simply ignore the form submission email.
The vast majority of spam form submissions are not harmful if ignored.
SET UP EMAIL FILTERS
However, some clients receive spam form submissions in mass. If your website is receiving a lot of foreign language spam form submissions, an email filter can be created. If your company has an IT person on staff, your IT contact can handle this email filter set up.
Email filters can be set up to detect foreign languages, links or other suspicious form submission content. When suspicious content, a foreign language or a link are detected, an email filter can categorize these emails in to a special section of your inbox where you can find all spam submissions. This can make it easier for clients to filter through legitimate online form submission leads and spam.
Contact Form Spam Prevention Measures Can Deter Legitimate Form Submissions
Beyond form spam being ignored or banished to its own little section in your email, there are ways to help limit form spam before it gets sent to you.
However, a significant portion of form spam is sent manually by actual people behind a screen. This makes preventative measures ineffective.
Because of this, most measures to prevent form spam create another hurdle for legitimate form submissions. This makes potential clients less likely to contact you, losing opportunities for potential business.
CAPTCHAs are one way to prevent form spam. CAPTCHAs are interactive, which can help prevent form spam that is sent from robots.
For example, a CAPTCHA may ask the person submitting the form to type out a word or phrase that is randomly generated. Other examples of CAPTCHAs include forcing a user to pick out easily identifiable elements in an image, such as clicking parts of an image that show vehicles.
While CAPTCHAs can stop robot form spam, a large amount of form spam is submitted by actual humans. This makes CAPTCHAs ineffective in preventing form spam.
The biggest problem with CAPTCHAs? CAPTCHAs turn potentials in to lost opportunities. Sometimes, CAPTCHAs can be hard to interpret, causing user frustration.
Industry research shows that websites with CAPTCHAs could be missing out on over 3% of all potential leads.
When it comes to web leads, 3% is a lot. For example, if you have 1,000 people go to your Contact Form in a month, on average, 30 of them won't fill out your Contact Form because of frustration with your CAPTCHA. That's 30 clients or customers you lost who otherwise would do business with you.
This is even a bigger problem if your business sells high priced products or services, like a lawyer or heavy equipment dealer, where just one customer or client can bring in thousands, if not millions, of dollars to your business.
Honeypots are another way to prevent form spam from robots. Honeypots refer to fake form fields that aren't visible to humans, but are detected by robots. In theory, a form can include honeypot fields that would only be completed by robots. This would cause any form submission with completed honeypot fields to be filtered out as spam.
However, if a program is sophisticated enough to send form submissions in mass to any website that has a form, then that same program is likely sophisticated enough to detect and ignore honeypot fields.
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