ActionKit has built-in protections against spam to ensure that actions on your pages come from actual people, not bots.
That’s important because you don’t want spambots on your list hurting your email reputation. Also, if you’re showing recent signers or their comments, you don’t want spam comments included with your legitimate signatures.
There’s documentation with an excellent deep dive into the nuts and bolts of how everything works, but here’s a brief overview of the most important options.
Spam Check Settings
Superusers can configure a wide variety of spam settings on the bottom of the Configure ActionKit screen. By default, ActionKit will check for spam actions on Petition, Letter, and Signup pages, and can also check on Survey pages if you like.
The built-in defaults are meant to be a good level of protection without rejecting legitimate actions, but you can configure the settings in a way that works for you.
This is the most effective option for catching spam. Project Honeypot is a service that identifies probable spambots so that they don’t end up on your email list. ActionKit checks an action taker’s IP address against this list to determine the likelihood of an action being spam.
It’s enabled by default with a threshold of 20 — a good balance between not blocking legitimate actions and not letting too many spam actions through.
If you find that too many spam actions are getting through, you can try decreasing the threshold. Or if too many legitimate actions are getting blocked, you can raise the threshold.
Spam Check Log
ActionKit keeps a list of all of the actions that were caught by the filters you have in place as suspected spam actions.
You can view this list by going to the Pages tab, and in the Other menu in the sidebar, click Spam Check Log.
You can filter these actions by date and by which type of filter caught the action.
You should see mostly spam actions caught in the filter, but you might see some legitimate actions, too.
How can you tell if an action is legitimate? It’s mostly a judgment call — the automated filters aren’t perfect. It comes down to different patterns of behavior by spambots and real people.
What are some “tells” that make it more likely that someone is a spambot?
- If someone’s email address has their name in it, and that name is very different than the name they gave on their action. For example: Jane Doe, firstname.lastname@example.org
- If someone’s state and zip code are very obviously in conflict
- Email addresses with a lot of random numbers or letters
- Lots of actions on an old page that’s not being promoted anymore
Spambots tend to appear in waves and have similar patterns, so it’s less likely that you’ll see just one or two spam actions — you’ll probably see a lot of similar actions all at once.
Typically, if an action comes from a member with an established action history, it’s usually legitimate. Sometimes, a first-time action taker might have their action marked as spam, and it’s up to you to decide whether it’s actually spam or not.
If you just see spam actions caught in the filter, great! If you see some legitimate actions caught in the filter, you can click Reverse on those actions so they aren’t marked as spam. If you see lots of legitimate actions, you can adjust your filters.
By default, ActionKit does not suppress suspected spam actions caught by these filters — it only flags them for your review in the Spam Check Log.
If you want to automatically suppress suspected spam actions, enable Suppress Actions under Spam Check Settings on the Configure ActionKit page.
Don’t worry, if the filter marked a legitimate action as spam, you can always reverse it in the Spam Check Log or on that user’s Action History page.
By default, ActionKit does not unsubscribe suspected spambots caught by these filters from your lists — it only flags them for your review in the Spam Check Log.
If you want to automatically unsubscribe suspected spambots, enable Unsubscribe Users under Spam Check Settings on the Configure ActionKit page.
Don’t worry, if the filter unsubscribed a legitimate user for being a suspected spambot, you can always reverse it in the Spam Check Log or on that user’s Action History page.
Protect your reputation
Keeping your list spambot-free is important for your email reputation, and ActionKit makes it easy to stop spam actions with lots of options to configure to meet your needs. Be sure to check the Spam Check Log periodically to make sure that legitimate actions aren’t being caught and adjust your filters as needed. To your list health!
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