Why Is My WordPress Website Getting So Much Contact Form Spam?
While a contact form made available to the public is often a necessary part of a business website, in this day and age it will likely attract spam. Simply put, website spam is the unwanted message coming into your website’s contact form. And these messages are typically forwarded to your email inbox. Contact form spam is a result of internet users who mean to submit unwanted messages to our website forms. The goal is getting phishing, hacking, a scam, or just a sales message into website contact forms.
Regardless, website contact forms were never meant for anybody but existing and prospective clients. Contact form spam is a frustrating drain on time and resources.
Contact Form Spam Sources
In the majority of cases, people or businesses that send spam use automated software or bots. The software is programmed to identify websites with contact forms and then submit information into their form fields. In some cases and when the investment is justified, it is done manually by humans because they can better navigate spam-blocking. Typically, the idea is to get as many messages to as many websites as possible and bot software is the way to scale that goal. Another obvious goal is to maximize the number of real website owners who react to these messages.
Stop Website Contact Form Spam NOT Leads
Over the years there have been several methods for blocking SPAM bots. It’s a big challenge because the blockers can’t become a deterrent to the genuinely interested people we all wish to capture. The blocking methods must be clever enough to prevent a bot from executing its goal without driving a sought-after future buyer away. Unfortunately, the bots and software eventually seem to navigate the latest blocking efforts so this battle will forever carry on.
And, if that’s not frustrating enough to the average business owner, the blocking applications proving to be most reliable are likely going to have a cost.
Typical Spam Blocking Options
So far as this post goes, we mean to cover some of the more typical spam-blocking methods available. Methods that, in many cases, are free of any cost. While we can install ‘paid-for applications’ the goal here is to avoid them.
A. Badge: An invisible badge is added that sits in the background until the user clicks on a button. When anything is clicked an “I’m not a robot” checkbox appears, requiring the user to check and thereby confirm they are, in fact, real. They are then either passed along successfully or, depending on setup, asked to complete some more verification. For instance, checking blocks that contain a particular image while leaving those that do not contain it alone. This method is also known as reCAPTCHA 2.
B. Invisible Field: A form field, invisible to genuine humans, is installed. Automated applications or Bots do see the field and are unable to discern that it should be left blank. The bot then fills the field thereby notifying the form to ignore the submission, not save it and also never send an email notification to the website owner. This method is also known as Honeypot.
C. Logic Question: A simple question (A dog has how many legs? | 2 + 3 =?) that a human visitor would easily answer, but that a bot could not answer, is added to the form. The correct answer allows for a submit button to display, without it there is no completing the form and, in theory, no spam. This method is known as Conditional Logic.
D. Block List: There is also a means to create a ‘blocked list’ of names, numbers, emails, and or message entry words that when entered drop the submit button, thereby making completion or submission impossible. In this example, it can require constant updating because there is always another name, number, email, or word that has to be added to the list. This method is also known as Conditional Logic, albeit different than the above.
Kinetic Knowledge Serves Small To Medium Sized Business Website Needs
And the battle against SPAM carries on! Know that if a business requires a contact form, these methods are a work in progress versus those SPAMmers working to get past these blocking methods. As per the above, there are cases where human SPAMmers are deployed to navigate these very blockers just as a genuine human prospect or client would.
Based in Monmouth County, NJ, Kinetic Knowledge is a full-service digital marketing firm offering local NJ SEO, website design & managed host service, social media, graphic design, content, and lots more. Contact us here or give us a call to learn more at 732-722-5915.