most of those people are also on my list!
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Preventing "Spammers" from being notified of new Posts
I've gotten spam from the "hotmail gang" too. Akismet held mine for moderation (you have a Discussion setting to do this). Keep marking it as spam and Akismet will block it the next time. Just as Raid kills bugs dead, Akismet kills spammers dead. Just hit that spray/mark as spam button and another one bites the dust.
@windwhistle the problem isn't spam comments (i think we're all seeing these folks in our akismet queue). the problem is that these same folks are signing up to follow our blogs & sometimes taking content to post elsewhere.
For dealing with actual incidences of content theft that you can substantiate see here > http://en.support.wordpress.com/content-theft-what-to-do/
For preventing content theft see here > http://en.support.wordpress.com/prevent-content-theft/
@timethief you're also missing the point.
Belatedly it dawns on me that the reason the spammers "Follow" is that it gives them a way to "Like" a lot of posts really fast (via the Reader) without ever having to visit the blogs. Readers don't see the followers but they do see and can click on the Likes. That's another reason to remove Likes from the Reader. And what's the point of having a Reblog button in the Reader? No legitimate reader is going to reblog something without going to the site first to see the entire post.
Scott & Tim: While I know you guys have a lot on your plates, it really feels like y'all are trying to blow us off. For WP staff to make snarky retorts to people's genuine experiences smacks of an attempt to explain away what is a clear trend. All that does is whittle away the confidence at your service's reputation.
Thank you, amandamichelle.
I totally understand that bloggers with different levels of skill/expertise may have different amounts of original blog content or different degrees of site development, especially new bloggers. However, the features of the "new followers" that I listed in my earlier post are too consistent and showing up too often for *all* of these new followers to be random unrelated bloggers with an identical level of expertise.
And although I understand that WordPress encourages new bloggers to follow other blogs, in the last couple of days I am starting to see new followers that are blogs with a title and a URL, but NO content at all. I get that these could be new bloggers who are looking at other blogs for ideas, but the number and frequency of these is also suspicious.
Hi, I returned to worpress a week ago.
These followers are a little dispiriting, eh...
nobody mentions the y link to a so-called awol 'movement' - seemingly a mlm marketing type 'business.' Profiles have the beach lifestyle or snowboard pics -and 'you too can have it all if u pay $25.'
I thought it was a little odd at first. It does make me feel - dumb, I suppose or precious, ha.
Good luck with the fix.
I too had been hit with new "subscribers" by email only with an @hotmail.com address, similar to what jescudos user reported above. There's obviously been some increased attempt at spammers to subscribe to blogs, whether it's a follow or an email subscription.
I would LOVE to be able to delete email subscribers from my blog list manually. I believe a quarter of it is spammers and I hate thinking my blog content is being emailed to who knows who.
Why can't WordPress make that feature available? How hard is it to do, really???
I'm posting this here because I don't know what else to do with it. Today a follower signed up, and when I went to the site to check it out, the web address led straight to the Gravatar profile and not to the website. The website (a WordPress site) was linked on the profile, but when I went to the site through the profile, the "report" function was somehow disabled. The website gives a pretty good indication of why this poster might not want to be reported for spamming:
If they're a WP.com site, you can still report them by going here:
If they're a WP.org site however there's no way to report them for spam, unfortunately. If they're a WP.com site I have no idea how they could've disabled the report function.
Hi there, I've got a huge list of suspected spam followers on my blog. Some only have a Gravatar, others have a blog, but none has any way for me to block or report it. I've been getting new followers every day - and most of them do not appear to be legitimate. This is a recent phenomenon and one that surprised me, since my following up until about a month ago was very very modest. So... I don't know why the spike and I don't know how to filter out these irritants. As one blogger on this forum mentioned, it's terribly dispiriting. Here are some of the latest suspects:
http://larymanoela.wordpress.com/ (which does not allow me to report as spam)
http://en.gravatar.com/jamscratchmag (when I clicked on the wordpress blog link it said it doesn't exist, so I guess this is one of those that got taken down)
A number of others have since been deleted. I agree with a lot of the posters here - WordPress should allow us to approve followers. That way we can weed out the ... weeds.
A postscript - actually, maybe about a third of my new followers are legit. And I've since discovered that most of the WP blogs can be reported as spam (which I am doing right now). Cheers
@scriptorobscura: Thanks - I'm pretty sure they were a WordPress.com site. The site showed up for me with the bar across the top of the site (sorry, I don't know the technical name for it) that's displayed when you're logged in and looking at other WordPress.com sites.
I don't know how they disabled the report function, either, but I just Googled the site and got a 404 error message, so it looks like it has been shut down.
Nope, they're a WP.org site, still up, active. I posted a thread in the forums about these WP.org make-money-blogging scammers before, never got any response from anyone:
Am joining in this because I found scriptoribscuras previous thread the otheer day as the same is happening to me, a sudden spike in 'make money blogging' follows in my previously modest following and its making me feel vulnerable, used and really pissed-off after all my hard efforts to build up a genuine following. I'd like to be in the loop of the conversation about this as I noted the other thread go no reply at all and at least you guys are talking about it. Come on WP, there's must be a simple way you can protect your subscribers - quite simply, why can't we approve followers the same way we approve comments??
I shouldn't read this thread because once again, my blood pressure is through the roof! For WP to continually make light of this makes me furious!!!
The arguments that "maybe" they're just new bloggers that haven't really gotten the hang of this yet, or they're empty blogs because they just like to read and not post stuff, or they don't gain any benefit by subscribing or whatever other inane arguments are being thrown around... it's all asinine. Yes, I understand these are public blogs, open for the public to read... I'm okay with that. But my subscriptions have more than doubled since about February when this all started. It took two years to get to three hundred mostly legitimate subscribers who were seemingly interested in what I had to say. Write a great post, get a few more subscribers... makes perfect sense.
Then in the last few months my subscriber numbers have more than doubled?!? Sorry, but I'm really not that interesting! But apparently I'm suddenly very interesting to people in Indonesian and Arabic countries, etc. Should I not assume there is an issue here?
The question came up, if we had a way to monitor subscribers, how would we determine if a follower is legitimate or not. C'mon, give us some credit, it's not that difficult to figure out. Might we occasionally delete someone legitimate. Sure, but I think most of us could get it right the vast majority of the time.
Maybe this is being worked on and I'm sure it's not an easy fix as one of the engineers mentioned. But please stop blowing off the concerns of hundreds (probably thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands) of your users who really think you provide a great product but are rapidly getting fed up with it.
Just wanted to add my voice to this one. I too have noticed an increase in spam followers. I'm getting several for each posting now, making my blog suddenly seem very popular when I know it's not. Click on their Gravatar and you get a non-Wordpress blog with one of the postings saying something like "make money blogging". I used to get this with spurious "likers", liking my blogs within seconds of my posting, but now they're "followers" who seem to have circumvented the "report abuse" function on their Gravatar page.
I agree with all the bloggers here who voice concern that this practice is confusing our stats and spoiling the experience for us. We're feeling our way, trying to build up a legit readership by writing the kinds of things that people want to read, and each genuine follower is a prize to be treasured, but these "make money blogging" and "get rich quick" spammers are becoming a real pain.
So, dear WordPress - we are in your hands, and I truly hope you're able to come up with a solution to this. In the mean time, I shall do my best to ignore the distraction and the pinging of my email notifications. Lately I've stopped thinking "Oh, new commenter/liker/follower?" and started thinking "Ignore that, it's probably just another MLM spammer."
Just wanted to say that I am one of those legit readers of other people's blogs without my own blog! I do also want to say that if I had had the capacity to remove an unwanted subscriber to my blog I wouldn't be in this position as there is an excellent chance the unwanted subscriber wouldn't have read my blog and harrassed me until I freaked out and took the whole thing down.
Add me to the list of those blogs suddenly being spammed. I wrote a blog post a few days ago which was 'liked' by 4 people instantly. It was a long post and couldn't possibly have been read that quickly by anyone which is why I knew the like was spam. One of the people who 'liked' this post, then 'liked' a post I wrote on my other blog instantly (the blogs are so different in content I don't get anyone interested in both subjects, apart from my friends).
These spammers have names like Angie, Naomi and Florence and all have Gravatar photos showing very attractive women. There isn't a blog associated with the Gravatar or any 'report abuse' button. I have no idea what they're getting out of following my blog or fake 'liking'.
I don't want to remove my Like button, as it gives my legitimate followers a way of appreciating the time and effort it takes to write my blog posts, but I do want a way of getting rid of the fake followers and likes, or at least reporting them.
Some of the motives seem clear: http://en.gravatar.com/nookdee66 has a link to Make Money Online.
Wow - apparently this image is used in all kinds of sketchy places: http://www.tineye.com/search/096ac50c77602f18dd53b5edea65b06bd29ca03f/
Thanks for flagging that up xwires, at least it proves they are spammers. Is there any way of checking the photos of Naomi, Florence and lovebee33 on my other blog, mastcellblog.wordpress.com (Angie is already there too!)?
I do hope WordPress can come up with a fix soon for this.
Clicking on their images pulls up their profiles (e.g. http://en.gravatar.com/naomii88) - they include an unusual weight loss tip, my diet formula and 5 steps to looking 10 years younger.
I use the blog without paying for it. I also got Weebly website for which I do pay. My reason to have a WordPress blog is because I wanted to compare it to my Weebly site before deciding where to host my domain name. Weebly is more expensive than WordPress, but gives me the ability to design my own website. WordPress is less expensive than Weebly but is somewhat limited for my purposes.
One of the reasons I might decide for WordPress is that it was less expensive and I got to get in touch with people. However now it seems most of them turn out to be fakes. Since WordPress doesn't seem overtly concerned about this, despite the complaints of their customers, I found one less reason to choose for WordPress.
It also is a missed opportunity to standout. The reaction should have been: we are going to approach this actively because we value our customers, even if it just means having an employee contact each and every blogger personally and deal with these pests. This is how you make your site excel, now you just shove the responsibility away and have you customers play policemen.
It smells of complicity and it is not commendable.
Hmm complicity should have been complacency.
My wordpress site subscription piece is also now heavily spammed. Most of it is fake hotmail accounts. So I have disabled that feature, as there is no way to prevent the spam emails from going out.
Why are people doing this? I can think of several....
First, I think its intelligence gathering. You might laugh but I think its a way for someone to distribute and manage data via email systems on specific targets for free taking advantage of the subscriber WordPress system for free! They also can use this email alert system which goes over a different network protocol than RSS.
I also would not be surprised if there is monetary gain here...as in selling and packaging content for advertising purposes.
Ive also noticed that someone is setting up these fake hot mail accounts for a reason, then laying multiple subscripts into that via these accounts. There is a lot of underground corporate sabotage going on now. Ive had it happen to my business. People are paid to hack into company sights and change pages and content, steal information, and also place loads on servers. Its possible a large percentage of WordPress servers are sending out faked subscriptions to say thousands of fake hotmail accounts loading their servers and yours with these faked subscriptions. Who is doing that, who cares. Why? To affect hotmail in a negative way as they obviously created these dummy accounts and are multiplying them quickly, having a very negative affect on Microsoft no doubt.
Posting in case this helps:
On July 10, 2013 I too got one of those mystery followers. The WordPress email had a link to a gravitar that was just the blue field with a G; and no link to a blog. It was listed under followers in my dashboard with a link to what appeared to be a blog format with no content.
I want to be fair and not jump to conclusions - I've seen actual blogs with no photo placed in the gravitar - but I must admit that my first reaction to zero content was to think something was odd.
But I also understand there may be people who just want an easier way to read the blogs and never got around to doing their own content. There could be a valid side to this; I know that because (OT), regarding the 'likes', I am too busy right now to do much commenting on other blogs but I've left 'likes' on many blogs and it was always because it's a post I genuinely do like.
But I'm still a little uneasy about that one follower with no content.
just to add to the evidence about spam e-mail followers: Since a few months, I am being weekly followed by a new version of the same ghost. The last five were:
By googling, I found this site, which tracks spammers, and which tells me that this is definitely a spamming action by showing that all of these e-mail addresses are being sent via the same IP-address:
I definitely don't understand the motives of whoever is doing this, but I would very much appreciate the possibility to remove these fake e-mail followers.
(or block this IP address ? )
Thanks for any help!
As I saw the e-mail addresses I put in the post were redacted, here the domein-names, in case it helps other people affected to find this post/thread:
unreadable letter combination [AT] mailsister4.info
unreadable letter combination [AT] mailsister5.info
unreadable letter combination [AT] mailsister3.info
unreadable letter combination [AT] mailbros1.info
unreadable letter combination [AT] mailbros3.info
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