To My Recent Subscriber, Alex: Your Comments Have Been Noted

For those of us residing in WordPress Land, an exciting new development has been afoot. That being, the sudden increase in email followers subscribing to our sites, all using highly suspicious addresses. Addresses such as, or, whyisitsodifficulttowriteacoherentemail@outlook, etc.

The discussion on said topic has been riveting.

Full disclosure: I myself was pleased when I first received the email notifications and found nothing to be concerned about. I figured I’d finally found my tribe and was proving quite popular among Microsoft users who choose highly complicated email addresses.

It’s a narrow audience to be sure, but an audience nonetheless.

Then Ray over at Mitigating Chaos wrote about his outlook followers and I thought, alas, they’re not that into me.

Back of woman with head down

But then… but then folks, one of these mysterious Outlookers took the time to comment on my last post, the one on money. Not once, not twice, but THREE times!

Here’s the first comment my new friend Alex felt compelled to share:

I am now not certain where you are getting your info, but great topic. I must spend a while finding out much more or figuring out more. Thanks for great information I used to be in search of this information for my mission.

You’ll see that he opened with a bit of constructive criticism, pointing out that the source of my info was not clear. I found this odd as my very first sentence begins: “I was at Costco…” so, you know, Costco. But then I realized I didn’t give the address of Costco.

So there you go. Helpful.

Also, did you notice how Alex has a mission? I ask you, how many of you have a mission? Hmm?

I have to confess I did not respond to Alex’s comment in a timely manner, beings how the email was labeled “Please moderate” and it was the weekend. (The Feeding on Folly Comment Moderation Committee meets on Tuesdays.)

Did this stop Alex from commenting again? No! Using a different (though just as baffling) email address, three hours later, unable to contain himself, Alex wrote:

Wow, amazing blog structure! How lengthy have you been blogging for? you made blogging glance easy. The whole glance of your site is magnificent, let alone the content material!

My heart soared. His admiration for my blog, yea, the very glance of my blog, cannot be denied.

That’s when it occurred to me. This is what I’ve been lacking!

Tell me, faithful readers, those of you who have been following this blog and reading my posts and commenting here and there and — dare I say it? — beginning to take Feeding on Folly for granted? Tell me this: When have you ever commented on my structure? Or ever once thought to ask how lengthy I’ve been blogging for?

Honestly. I’m beginning to wonder if you care.

And as I mused on your neglectful ways, Alex commented again! From yet another Outlook email!

You actually make it appear so easy with your presentation however I find this matter to be actually something that I feel I might never understand. It sort of feels too complex and extremely vast for me. I’m having a look forward for your subsequent post, I will attempt to get the grasp of it!

Oh dear! Alex is confused! My post on money was too complex and he’s expecting me to write more on the subject. Poor Alex!

To rectify this situation, until the Moderation Committee convenes (last I heard Francine wasn’t sure she’d make it and she was in charge of bringing the donuts), I decided to showcase Alex’s comments and address him directly.

ALEX: What follows is a simplified explanation of my previous post.

Save More, Spend Less

I truly hope that takes care of things for you, my dearest Alex.

But what’s this?! Another comment has landed in our moderation queue, this time from Yvette:

I simply couldn’t go away your web site before suggesting that I extremely enjoyed the usual info a person supply on your visitors? Is going to be again steadily in order to inspect new posts

Oh… um… gosh. I see you’ve got a question in there, Yvette. I’d like to help you out, but I’ll need some time to figure out what it is you’re… um… asking?

Tell you what. As soon as I’m done here, I’ll start diagramming your sentences. I should have an answer for you in about a month or so.

As for the rest of you, you know what you need to do. Look over this presentation, comment on my structure, admire the glance of my blog. Show a gal a little support now and then, okay?

Also, write yourself up a mission. You could use one.


FYI to Fellow Bloggers: From one of  our WordPress “Happiness Engineers” regarding these strange followers (taken from the forum linked at the top):

There is no way these spam followers can put your site, your content, or your private account data in any danger. (…) You can remove the spam followers under My Site ->People, but that won’t prevent new follows from coming in. You might also consider temporarily disabling email notifications of new followers in your account settings until we manage to get these blocked. (…) Please don’t email these addresses back – another potential reason for this is that someone is fishing for emails which they can then use to try and spam directly, and emailing them back will only provide them with your personal email address – something they cannot get hold of by merely following your site.

47 thoughts on “To My Recent Subscriber, Alex: Your Comments Have Been Noted

  1. Phew. I thought it was only me getting those incoherent email addresses following me. I removed them immediately, I get enough spam comments as it is lol

  2. Yup, phishers, spammers, script kiddies, and other assorted weirdos. My normal response is to just delete the comment without comment, but I find your comments to enlightening. I must research more on how you do such informative comments. Thanks for you great blog, I am excited to have found this well structured place.

    1. Thank you, Andrew, as I take great pride in the structure of my comments. Also, check out the glance. Did you notice the way it spotlight my content material?
      These are just a few of the ways we run a quality presentation here. Thank you for inspecting new post.

  3. I think Alex may be part of whatever has been going on. Sorry to burst your bubble, but I received several comments from Alex also and they just didn’t make sense to my content, so to spam land for him.

    If I read a blog, I will “like” it, but don’t always feel moved (or have the time) to comment. Please don’t take it personal 😊.

    Thanks for mentioning my blog 👍

    1. Don’t mention the mention, it was the least I could do after you put my mind at ease regarding these ridiculous Outlook followers.
      And I more than understand reading without commenting, as it’s my frequent mode of being. 😉

  4. C. J. – Loved the post (the glance of your site IS magnificent), and also appreciate the community service you provided to fellow WP bloggers. I received a flurry of followers just after the holidays as well, and after a moment of flattery I was immediately suspicious. I meant to contact the Happiness Engineers but now no need. Many thanks.

    1. You’re more than welcome, I’m so glad it helped!
      It was weird getting all those email follows, right? The first two or three you’re thinking, oh cool, I’m attracting more than just bloggers! But after about the fifth one it’s, hmm, there’s something fishy going on here. 🤔

  5. I used to think I left good comments and I’m actually rather miffed that Alex is stealing my thunder. As for Yvette …. I hate her quite a lot. In seriousness, I find all this stuff so odd and it makes me want to just slink into my little cave and switch off the world. It’s all too bizarre and pointless.

    1. Scout’s honor, your comments always give me great pleasure. And this, despite the fact you have never commented on the glance of my blog. (I’m sorry to bring it up, but it needed to be said.)

      Bizarre yes, pointless, no. I believe the point, as with most things, has to do with money. My guess to their bizarre process: 1) Follow blogs by email using random Outlook accounts, 2) As soon as an email arrives announcing new post, comment quickly and steadily with highly flattering comments, 3) If only 10% of bloggers fall for it and approve comment, you’ve still got a massive market for now posting comments with links to your site selling medical equipment, knock off shoes and whatever the hell else spammers sell.

      Money. It’s the root of all spam… er, evil.

      1. You are SO much savvier than me … I’m entirely naive about this stuff but that makes total sense. I must remember to imbibe the glance of your blog more fully so that I can comment just as wisely on it 😉

  6. It saddens me to report this, although I suspect that you already suspect: Alex has been cheating on you. He has been making frequent nocturnal visits to Bonnywood, whispering sweet nothings (literally) in my ear. He is even using the same wooing techniques, such as the triple-pass on a single post. Alex is scum, and we should all break up with him…

    1. Noooooooo!!! Alex, say it ain’t so! 😢
      He seemed so sincere, too. Shame, really.
      Say, what about Yvette? I mean, granted, her comment is total gibberish, but she seems nice. Whaddya think?

      1. Well, I haven’t received an Yvette visitation, so I’ll have to trust your judgment about the experience, but her little friends Cathy and Tricia/Trixie (she only popped by once and her memory is already fading) have come a calling with similar salutations. Perhaps I’m being harsh with their efforts and they simply want to be loved?

        1. Not sure how I missed this for 4 days. Must have been the lack of donuts.
          When Francine gets back and the moderation committee is able to analyze the validity of Yvette’s comments, I shall let you know.
          Personally, I’d okay her on name alone.
          Now wishing I named Daughter Yvette.

  7. I feel so left out – no new fake email followers – no new baffling comments to write a post about.
    But I would like you to know ‘that I extremely enjoyed the usual info a person supply on your visitors’!

  8. Each morning when I awaken at dawn, my little dog and I go out to greet the day and watch as the sun comes up over your wonderful blog and gives us much wisdom to get through the days of our lives.x has struck my blog also

    alex has also struck my blog also.

    1. Alex appears to have commitment issues. Thanks for the tip.
      Also, may the sun shine on you and your little dog all the days of your life, just as I bask in the moonglow emanating from An Unexpected Muse. 😉

  9. Haven’t had any of this yet – maybe Oz is too far away, or my blog is just toooooo boring. 🙂
    Didn’t know you could remove follows – off to do that as all those ones bug me.

    1. I’m starting to think they only hit blogs made in the USA. Consider yourself lucky, you won’t be pursued by that rascally Alex, he of the fickle heart.
      Delete those buggers, Claudette! 👍

      1. I admi I have already removed 50 or so ( those without photos, those who only ever posted 1 post and those whose site name was something like “i’m selling this thing”). It took forever to scroll down and the page kept popping back to the top, so really didn’t get too far.
        I have a soft spot for the male name Alex, it reminds me of one of the wonderful nurses that cared for my husband. This Alex does sound like a 2-timing jerk though, so won’t be falling for him! 🙂

        1. I was having that problem with the ‘follower’ page too. The process was too slow for me, so I gave up and ate a cookie instead.
          I guess there are good Alexes and bad Alexes. It’s reasonable to assume that if they are nurses, they are one of the good ones. 👼

  10. (of course the “oops” posted already) … but he got married during the holidays and a few things have slipped. Thank goodness you have my back and answered my curiosities about all the new *** followers. Did anyone else notice they don’t appear on the WordPress app notifications or on the Dashboard Stats details?

    1. I did notice that! Isn’t it weird?
      My daughter suggested (sarcastically) that what we are experiencing is not the works of mere bots, but the first stage of the robot revolution! 😳
      And you thought I was the funny one! 😉

  11. I have just recently followed your blog and am in a bit of terror lest I say something ungrammatical that makes me considered spamworthy. Oh well–at any rate, this cracked me up, although I hate the sp-word and feel that repeating it over and over on a blog does indeed increase its proponents lurking around. Best wishes with it all–

    1. Welcome to the fold, Donnalee! Sorry to put terror in your heart. 😉
      I’m pleased to inform you that the FoF Moderation Committee deemed your comment spam-free and worthy of acceptance. Also, the cream-filled donuts were delish.
      Thanks for the kind words — best wishes to you as well!

      1. The idea of ‘a great donut’ to me are like the ideal spouse: there is this illusion that s/he is out there somewhere, and so you might bite few, but I have to find the ideal one. That is not to say that the effort is not its own reward sometimes–

        1. Ooh, interesting observation. I might also add, an ideal spouse cannot by definition be a perfect spouse, as a little contention, frustration, and forgiveness are necessary for the growth of both partners.
          Oh my, but we are getting deep! Pass the donuts, please.

  12. The content material of this post is so contentiously material to my mission. Not to mention the amazing structure of your accomplishing of it. I look forward to your subsequent posts from which I will understand more spectacularly how to attain to the getting rid of parasites like me.

    1. Ding, ding, ding! Congratulations Mitch, you’re currently in first place for the coveted “Most Spam Jargon Used in One Comment” award!
      Keep in mind, the year is young, but I’ve got a good feeling you’ll take the prize. 🏆😁

  13. I’ve been looking for some explanation as to what is happening with the addresses. There has to be something in it for them. I assume this isn’t completely automated, so in which case a real person is having to devote time and energy to signing up for multiple blog subscriptions. This post goes some way to demonstrating that the problem is widespread. However I’m still wondering what money-making avenue lies behind it all. After all what can they really do with a blog subscription?

    1. Well, since subscribers are more likely to have their comment go to a moderation folder than be flagged spam, they must be counting on some bloggers approving their comments. Once they’re in, they’ll be free to comment with links to their site, where I assume they sell something. I mean, they just gotta be selling, right? No one puts this much energy into something with no payoff.
      Of course, I have no way of proving this. It’s just a theory. 😉

  14. Dear Mz Hartwell… First: Full disclosure ~ my email is not Outlook. Second: Thank you for your in depth report on this issue.

    I googled a query as to why I have this spate of new Outlook followers and found you. As I figured, I haven’t seen Alex yet, but he is probably not far behind. Thanks for the info and a fun read.

    1. Not sure what pleases me more, that you enjoyed the read, found it helpful, or that you found it via internet search. Thanks for all three!
      Sorry if my delay in responding caused you to think you’ve been labeled spam. I’m in the middle of moving, so things are a little nuts now. (Never fear, I’m sure the Outlookers will still find me 😉)

  15. But the whole glance of your site REALLY IS magnificent!

    Found your post while doing a search trying to figure out why I was suddenly getting so many follows. (It couldn’t possibly be for my content material.) Now I know they’re spammers (and I’m mildly disappointed), but I got a good laugh while reading this. 🙂

    1. You really found this through an internet search? Wow! Maybe I should abuse spammers more often!
      But honestly, thanks so much for admiring my glance. I work so hard at it, you know. 😉

  16. Thanks for this post! As others before me, I just encountered a small rash of spam followers, and was trying to decide what to do about it when I came across your article in my search results…Seems you have quite the handle on this topic, even all these months later! Had a great laugh, which I shared with my family, and will now go back to ignoring and/or removing spam followers as the mood strikes 🙂 Blessings! Sydney

    1. Ah, so this is still of use to my fellow bloggers? I’m glad to hear it, though I hope Alex has repented of his devious ways. Thanks for stopping by and many blessings back atchya!

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