Change.org: Lots of Typoed Signups, Never Detected

Yesterday petition website Change.org emailed updates or confirmations to almost four dozen of my spamtraps, every single one of them a likely typo of a real email address that probably did sign up for this email. Change.org has been emailing many of these email addresses for months without once noticing that nobody is responding to their email. The ESP is Sendgrid.

If Change.org is emailing my typotraps in this quantity, I wonder how many real email addresses they are bombarding that never signed a petition or asked for their email. A bunch, is my guess.

Sending IPs: 167.89.14.239 [And others]

Spam Sample:

Actual Headers:

Received: from o10.email.change.org (o10.email.change.org [167.89.14.239])
        by <xxx> (Postfix) with ESMTP id <xxx>
        for <xxx>; Thu, 15 Jan 2015 13:##:## +0000 (UTC)
DKIM-Signature: <xxx>
DomainKey-Signature: <xxx>
Received: by filter-<xxx>.sjc1.sendgrid.net with SMTP id filter-<xxx>
        2015-01-15 13:##:##.<xxx> +0000 UTC
Received: from change.org (unknown [166.78.37.145])
        by ismtpd-<xxx> (SG) with ESMTP id <xxx>
        for <sendgrid-ignored@change.org>; Thu, 15 Jan 2015 13:##:## +0000 (UTC)
Date: Thu, 15 Jan 2015 13:##:## +0000
From: "Change.org" <mail@change.org>
Reply-to: "Change.org" <mail@change.org>
To: <xxx>
Message-ID: <<xxx>-resque1.change.org.com.mail>
Subject: <xxx>, you won big
Mime-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: multipart/alternative;
 boundary="--==_mimepart_<xxx>";
 charset=UTF-8
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
X-rpcampaign: ChangeAA218611
List-Unsubscribe: <http://www.change.org/unsubscribe>
X-SG-EID: <xxx>
X-SG-ID: <xxx>

Readable Email:

From: Change.org <mail@change.org>
To: <spamtrap>
Subject: <xxx>, you won big [NOTE: And many other Subjects]

2014 was an incredible year for change — and a lot of it happened because people like you took action on Change.org.

In fact, more than 5,000 petitions became victories in 2014 — nearly one per hour for the entire year.

Those victories included deeply personal stories, like a father in India who won his petition to get medical care for his dying 12-year-old son and big, systemic victories that will impact millions of people, like a teenager from Mississippi who convinced Coca-Cola and Pepsi to remove a potentially harmful chemical from all of their beverages.

Click here to watch a video of some of the biggest wins of 2014 — wins that you made possible.

http://chn.ge/<xxx>

If you want to help drive even more victories in 2015, you can become a Change.org Sustainer — click here to learn more.

<removed>

This email was sent by Change.org to <xxx>.

Edit your email preferences: http://www.change.org/account_settings/edit_<xxx>
Unsubscribe from these emails: http://www.change.org/unsubscribe?<xxx>

548 Market St #29993, San Francisco, CA 94104-5401, USA

5 Responses to Change.org: Lots of Typoed Signups, Never Detected

  1. Hello,

    Thank you for posting this. I will reach out to Change.org and raise the visibility of them hitting your spamtraps. I can follow up on how we plan to address this.

    Ryan

    • Great, Ryan. I also heard from Paul Kincaid-Smith in another forum, so it sounds like Sendgrid is doing what it should do.

      I’ve also heard from a number of people who signed a single Change.org petition, however, and got bombarded with a whole lot of email, much of it not relevant to the petition they signed. I’m sure Change.org has legal language in the small print when you sign a petition that lets them send email, but the volume and subjects of the email they send are not what many users expect to receive. That’s not technically spam, but it *is* a bad practice and is alienating people.

  2. Thanks for the heads up on this. I am working on tightening up our sign-up workflow – will look at reviewing our sunset policy also.

    • Hi, Alice. I didn’t realize that ReturnPath was involved with Change.org. Thank you for the response.

      Change.org might also want to look at how it sets expectations for email and the volumes of email that it sends to users. I’ve seen a lot of response to this blog, more than to most of my blogs here. People who have signed petitions tell me that they get bombarded with email, much of it not relevant to the petitions that they signed. That sort of thing probably isn’t technically spam, but it also alienates the people that they want to keep around.

      • I hear you. change.org have brought me on board to pull their email programme into shape – there’s definitely a lot of work to do. Expectation setting is top of my list at the moment. I really appreciate your feedback – I hope you will notice positive results very soon!

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