Why I Hate Massimo Ferri and Other Spammers Like Him

by | Sep 15, 2015 | Web Design

If Dante were still alive, I’d ask him to create another ring in The Inferno just for scammers, spammers and identity thieves.

I received this email from a contact form on one of the websites I manage. It came into my spam filter, but I just couldn’t resist clicking on it. I knew it was spam. I knew the contents might be toxic, but I just could not resist. The subject line was too enticing:

Subject:
Re: contact form submitter, 20% for the firat 100 clients
Message Body:
Good day,

We have launched a contact form submitter software called “Niche Contact Blaster”, you can present the services of your company or product directly to the web page of potential clients.

As you know the daily work sales and marketing tasks are really time consuming and expensive.

Paying Adsense or monthly other advertising products is as well an other expensive cost.

We are giving you to option to have it for a single payment of 57 Euros our software which has the below features :

– import a list of websites you want to contact
– or perform a search based on your criteria ( accounting companies in the UK, lawyers )
– select the website you want to contact
– the software fills in automatically the text you have chosen on their contact form
—> your message goes directly to the leads inbox, you are 100% sure that your offer will be received

You can contact hundreds of prospects daily and start receiving leads straight to your inbox.

Please check our web page for more info, use this reference number to have a 20% off the the total price, this is valid for the 100 first sales only : 20NCB

The product information page is here with a video : www.niche…………er.com

Thank you,

Massimo Ferri
[email protected]……….ter.com

“Oh, if only I could be one of Massimo’s firat 100 clients“, he says with a burning rage yet uncontested.

You see, Massimo used a website contact form to send me a spam email offering software that will send spam emails, using the contact form on a prospect’s website. You know, the same contact forms we put on our website to get emails from people who are actually interested in our products and services. The contact forms that send us the kind of email that we open quickly, because we can meet the needs of someone who will ultimately make it possible to pay our employees or feed our families.

I think Massimo is a jackass.

I was actually tempted to sign Massimo up for 1,000 newsletters, like “Suffering from the heartbreak of Psoriasis,” or “Embarrassing Fungal Itch Monthly”, but he spelled his email address incorrectly. Perhaps he did that on purpose??

When spammers started paying people to fill out contact forms, we started to lose the battle against spam. After receiving this email from Massimo, I’m almost convinced that we’ve lost it. Almost.

How to reduce contact form spam

It’s almost impossible to eliminate all contact form spam. There are still people (future residents of Dante’s seventh ring) willing to pay humans to fill out contact forms. For fighting spambots, there is some hope if you’re using WordPress.

There are several plugins that will apply a CAPTCHA or Re-CAPTCHA to your contact form, but those options often tend to frustrate users. Alternatively, some of the most popular contact form plugins are able to take advantage of honeypots to reduce spam submissions. A honeypot is a hidden field which your human visitors can’t see, but a robot will try to fill in. If this hidden field contains any content, the form is not sent.

Gravity Forms

Gravity Forms is a versatile form builder from RocketGenius which can handle more than just contact forms. I’ve used it to collect photos for blog post content, and for e-commerce items like ticket sales and collecting donations.

Enabling the honeypot in Gravity Forms is simple. Go to the Forms Settings page, then under ‘Forms Options’ toward the bottom of the page, check ‘Enable anti-spam honeypot’.

gfhoneypot

Contact Form 7 and Contact Form 7 Honeypot

With over 30.2 million downloads, the free Contact Form 7 is one of the most popular WordPress plugins. However, it does not come with it’s own honeypot solution. Enter Contact Form 7 Honeypot. This plugin adds the hidden honeypot field to forms generated by Contact Form 7. For this solution, make sure both Contact Form 7 and Contact Form 7 Honeypot have been activated. In the form creation area, you can add a honeypot field to your form, just like you would add a telephone or checkbox field.

cf7honeypot

When your form is saved, the honeypot field is present but hidden from human eyes.

Another Good Option

Akismet, the plugin from Automattic that helps reduce spam in your blog comments can also be integrated with many contact form plugins (including Gravity Forms and Contact Form 7) to reduce spam emails. Akismet monitors spammers’ behavior and content across millions of websites and uses that information to suppress the spread of spam.

Here’s to hoping Massimo moves on to something more productive, like promoting swamp real estate.

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