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The Smart Passive Income Podcast

AP 0684: Should I Worry about Spam Bots Filling My Email List?

AP 0684: Should I Worry about Spam Bots Filling My Email List?

By Pat Flynn on

AskPat 684 Episode Transcript

Pat Flynn: What’s up everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to Episode 684 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me today. As always, I’m here to help you by answering your online business questions 5 days week.

We have a great question today from Jason. But before we get to that, I do want to mention a free resource that I have for you that I created to help you with your email marketing. You know, there’s a lot of strategies and tips and articles and podcasts specifically about growing your list, and you know, obviously that’s a popular thing to do, and it’s important to grow your list of course. But what do you do with that list after you’ve grown it? So what happens when a person subscribes? What emails do they get?

Well that’s what is all about. A completely free guide to help you with figuring out like what it is you should be writing about. So I give you templates and things that you can use to figure that out. It just makes it really simple. A lot of people love this guide. It’s a fairly short but very, very powerful. Again,

All right. Now here’s today’s question from Jason.

Jason: Hi, Pat. This is Jason at First, I wanted to thank you for sharing your expertise and knowledge with all of us. You inspired me and my son to really pursue our own businesses, and it has brought us closer as well. So I really appreciate your part in that.

My question today involves what happened after I put my first opt in sign up on my blog. About a week after putting up my opt-in, I suddenly had 27 subscribers to my blog. After I stopped high fiving everyone in sight, I took a deeper look, and after looking at Google Analytics and the new accounts themselves, I realized they were not legitimate accounts.

So here’s my multifold question. Is this a common problem? And what would be the purpose of someone creating spam accounts? Is this something I should be worried about and/or spend a lot of time fixing? And I noticed you don’t have any anti-bot items on your sign ups or anything like that, so how do you prevent this type of thing from happening?

It was easy for me to clean my list this time because the only legitimate accounts were my wife and one of my friends. But you know, farther down the road, when it’s 500, a 1000 or more, accounts that’s not gonna be the same case. So, anything that you could point me to would be helpful.

Thanks for all you do, Pat. You the best!

Pat Flynn: Hey, Jason! What’s up? Thank you so much for the question and the kind words. I really appreciate it. And kudos to you for getting a site up and actually starting to build an email list earlier than me, which took a year and a half after I built my site to finally realize how important it was. So, great job to you. You’re already ahead of where I was, and now you’re even thinking about well how do I clean my list and you’re looking at some of these things, going deeper into your list and finding these illegitimate accounts. And I’m gonna talk about that really quick after I just mention that, you know, I think you’re off to a great start. I can tell you have your head in the right place, so just keep going, and it’s great that you’re asking these questions.

So, why do people create these spam accounts to subscribe? Well one very clear reason that people do this is if you have some sort of incentive, like a free ebook or something, a lot of people will simply subscribe just to get to the next page. And the next page, they’re hoping, would have that free download. They don’t want, necessarily, to have emails, your emails, go into their inbox, so they just want the free thing. So lot of the times that’s what happens.

Other times, there are bots that will just subscribe to your list because they’re just trying to collect more email addresses. And this is not necessarily something you should be completely worried about, but that’s why when people subscribe often times you’ll get an email.

Or lets say for example, Jason, that you subscribe to an email list. Lot of the times when you subscribe you’ll get an email immediately after that that says please confirm your subscription. And the purpose of that is to really get rid of these sort of spam emails that people aren’t really managing. The ones who you know who click on that link who become a confirmed subscriber, which go through this what’s called a double opt in process. You’re gonna know that those are legit account.

So if you have, I don’t know what email service provider you’re using, I use ConvertKit, which I love. You can go check that out at for anybody that’s looking to get started with a great email service provider. But all of them, all the top ones at least, that I know, for example, AWeber and MailChimp and Constant Contact and, even some of the more bulky ones like Drip and Infusionsoft and Active Campaign. They all give you the option to do the double opt-in, and I would highly recommend turning that on. And yes, you’re gonna get less subscribers, but more legitimate subscribers. So that’s one quick and easy way that sort of serves that purpose of what you see in the comments sections sometimes in blogs where it says like, “Click here to show me you’re human.” Well, these double opt-ins, these immediate emails that people get that say, “Hey, please confirm by clicking on the link in this email.” That proves that that person is actually a real person.

As your list grows, Jason, over time, you’re gonna still get some people even after double confirming that just aren’t gonna be in that email address anymore. I mean, we all change email addresses, or a lot of us try not to. But, you know, sometimes we will, sometimes we’re forced to, or sometimes we create new ones and we wanna subscribe, so you know lot of the times those old email addresses just don’t work anymore.

So over time you’re gonna see that when you send broadcast emails out, you’re gonna get a whole number of people who those emails just bounce back. And so those are immediate ones that you can just clean up. And, you know, I typically clean up my email and my email subscribers, you know, every 6 months. I could probably do it more often and have sort of a system or workflow in place, a standard operating procedure, you know, every month with my team to do that, but you know I’m not super concerned about it. But if you are, you can have a certain time of the year or every month where you can go in and just get those bounced emails and have somebody delete them manually from your email service provider so you’re not paying for those emails anymore because they’re not going to anybody.

Other times you’re gonna send emails out that the person on the other end, they’re just not opening them, and I would say if you send 6-8 emails and they’re not opening them, I mean there are ways to segment those people out and, say, you know, give them one final chance to click on something or open the email. And if they don’t, the you can remove them from your list too, and even though, they may be legitimate emails, they’re just not opening them, they’re not people who should be on your list anyway.

So, those are just some basic things you can do, but again, that double opt in is going to be really important, and I highly recommend everybody do that. Yes, you will see a decrease in the number of subscribers, but an increase in, not only the legitimate subscribers that you have, but of course, the engagement that you have across the board, and your numbers will be much higher in every other way. Your open rates, your click through rates, are gonna be much better because they’re legitimate email addresses, so just keep that in mind.

And you know, you might want to, what I said earlier, you know, a lot of people will subscribe with junk emails just to get your thing, and yes they can still double confirm to get that. They can still double confirm to get that on their junk email knowing that their not gonna check it for anything else. They just wanna get your free stuff. You know, just continually mention how great your emails are, and what I would do is actually knock ’em over the head with a great, great very first email to have them realize, this is something I do, you know I really make sure that that first email they get is strong because I want them to realize that that’s something that they should look forward to every single week, or every single time it comes out.

It trains them to open them, it trains them to realize that there’s great value coming in being on the email list, so sometimes people do subscribe with the junk ones, but then they’ll resubscribe with the other ones, their main ones, because they just see how great it is and you know they’re actually paying attention, so …

Jason, thank you so much for the question. Hope that helps, and I wish you all the best. And I’m gonna send you an AskPat t-shirt for having your question featured here on the show. And thank you to everybody else out there who’s listening.

If you have a question that you’d like potentially featured here on the show, here’s what you gotta do. All you have to do is go to and you can then hit the record button and ask your question. That’s it. And of course, like I mentioned earlier, you can go to the free resource that you can find at That’s my free email template guide to help you figure out what to write to all these people that you’re collecting on your email address, on your email list. So, you know, you’re collecting emails, what do you send them? Well, I’ll tell you at Totally free, check it out.

Thanks again for listening and here’s a quote to finish off the day by William James. He says, “The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering the attitudes of his mind.” So, so true. Cheers guys! Take care, and I’ll see you in the next episode. Bye.

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