View Full Version : Desperately need help please :)

11-06-2007, 05:32 PM
Hello all

I really need some help with my php form on my website.

The problem is I have just started up my own company and made the website myself though I am no expert – just learned bits and pieces here and there! I make handmade wedding stationery. On my site I have a sample request form which potential customers may use to request 1 free sample. Unfortunately (and bizzarly) a Russian website dedicated to finding free stuff on the net has decided to advertise my website as a place to get free cards!!!!! Argggg!!! So now I am getting a lot of Russians requesting free samples when they have no intention of using my companies services!!

What I need to do is put something in my php form to stop any requests coming from emails with a .ru ending. Granted a proportion of the Russian requests have .com email addresses and there is little I can do about that but at least if I take out the .ru ones it would help and maybe then they would post a message on their forum that I do not send out samples to just anyone!!

If anyone knows how to help me with this I would be very grateful as I am only a small business who only started 2 months ago and it is affecting my work badly.

Thanks :)

p.s my website is www.papillondesigns.net and the form I am referring to is at http://www.papillondesigns.net/samples.php

11-06-2007, 05:45 PM
Does the information submitted in the form look like spam content or does it look like someone giving legitimate looking information thinking that they will get something for free?

The reason I ask, it is unlikely that real people are doing this and it is probably a spam script attempting (possibly succeeding) in sending spam through your form processing code.

To get help with adding a test for a .ru ending and in getting help with if your form processing code is open to sending spam, you would need to post your code.

11-06-2007, 05:56 PM
Thanks for getting back to me.

Sadly no it is not Spam it is legitimate as I went onto the site that is advertising my so called freebies and basically a girl who I original thought was a potential genuine customer requested a sample from me, I sent it, she received it and when I sent a follow up email she then told me basically that she was copying my design!! She then posted the fact that she got a free card out of me on a forum dedicated to getting free stuff off the net so since then I have been bombarded with sample requests - all with names, emails and home addresses to send the free sample too. The cheek!!

I converted the whole website from Russian in to english via babelfish and this is where I found the link to my site.


11-06-2007, 06:08 PM
$we001 = $_POST['we001'];
$we002 = $_POST['we002'];
$we003 = $_POST['we003'];
$we004 = $_POST['we004'];
$we005 = $_POST['we005'];
$we006 = $_POST['we006'];
$we007 = $_POST['we007'];
$we008 = $_POST['we008'];
$we009 = $_POST['we009'];
$we010 = $_POST['we010'];
$we011 = $_POST['we011'];
$we012 = $_POST['we012'];
$we013 = $_POST['we013'];
$we015 = $_POST['we015'];
$we016 = $_POST['we016'];
$we017 = $_POST['we017'];
$we018mens = $_POST['we018mens'];
$we018ladies = $_POST['we018ladies'];
$we019 = $_POST['we019'];
$we020 = $_POST['we020'];
$ch001 = $_POST['ch001'];
$ch002 = $_POST['ch002'];
$ch003 = $_POST['ch003'];
$ch004 = $_POST['ch004'];
$ch005 = $_POST['ch005'];
$ch006 = $_POST['ch006'];
$ch007 = $_POST['ch007'];
$ch008 = $_POST['ch008'];
$ch009 = $_POST['ch009'];
$ch010 = $_POST['ch010'];
$ch011 = $_POST['ch011'];
$ch012 = $_POST['ch012'];
$hc001 = $_POST['hc001'];
$hc002 = $_POST['hc002'];
$pi001 = $_POST['pi001'];
$where = $_POST['where'];
$name = $_POST['name'];
$email = $_POST['email'];
$message = $_POST['message'];

// Validation
if(3 < strlen($name) && 3 < strlen($email) && 3 < strlen($message))

$email_message = <<< EMAIL
Message from websites contact form.

Where: $where
Name: $name

Address & Additional Information:

Wedding Stationery Sample Required:

Invitation Sample Required:


$headers = "cc:\r\n";

if(mail('sales@papillondesigns.net','Contact form email', $email_message, $headers))
echo "Your sample request has been delivered, we will contact you shortly.";
echo "We had a problem sending the email. Please use the browser's 'back' button and try asgain. Sorry for any inconvenience.";

echo "Sorry, the form is incomplete. Please use the browser's 'back' button and update the form.";

11-06-2007, 07:03 PM
You'll need to add a regex to filter out the emails you don't want to deal with. I'm no good at regex or I'd offer an example. I'd probably do this:

if (substr($email, -3) == ".ru") {
die("You are not eligible for freebies, you freeloading scumbag!");

My suggestion would be to charge a small amount for all samples for everyone, just enough to make a profit, then happily fill the Russian sample orders (as soon as you've received payment of course).

Perhaps part of the process would be to find a way to post to that Russian website the fact that your sample is no longer free.

11-06-2007, 07:07 PM
This is not a problem that you can, or should, solve through code.

You will need to figure out your own method of validating the quality of each request. Banning all .ru emails will not solve anything as you have said yourself.

Since you're mentioning cards - and you mention the problem is them copying designs - have you considered stamping them as samples? For example, add a watermark that will prevent them from copying it.

Your problem is one that should be solved in the physical realm, not the binary realm. Your starting a business, and you're trying to create a base of clients and some word of mouth advertizing, which is good. But people will take advantage of your good intent no matter what. Many business deal with this issue, so I'm sure there is information on this out there.

EDIT: The small fee (to cover "handling" etc.) is also a great idea to prevent abuse. Someone who is genuinely interested won't mind spending $.50 for a sample, as long as you show online what kind of work you do. This will also cover your shipping. The difficulty in this is that now you must deal with payments. You could use PayPal for this purpose but they do take a processing fee out of this.

11-06-2007, 07:41 PM
Hi Aedrin & Fumigator

Thanks for you replies - unfortunatly I actually want to offer 1 free sample as many of my competitors do the same thing so I have to keep up with my competitors - its pretty standard in my line of work and many businesses in the area offer free samples.

Yes I could stamp it as "sample" but I have still had to pay the postage to Russia and its not cheap from the UK and besides my point is I know they are not real customers. The problem is I know for sure these people are coming via the site I mentioned infact some are becoming very abusive about my refusal to send samples!!! I just need to be able to stop any sample requests from .ru thats all. I know there will be people who take advantage of this service but I had expected that but to have 100's Russians asking for free samples to copy or just give to their friends is just silly and no amount of "validating the quality of each request" will stop the people bombarding me from Russia! I appreciate your opinion and advice but as you can see there is a real need for me to solve this through code on my form on this occasion.

- Fumigator - your coding reply made me laugh for the first time today after reading so many emails from russians - thank you!

11-06-2007, 08:25 PM
I know there will be people who take advantage of this service but I had expected that but to have 100's Russians asking for free samples to copy or just give to their friends is just silly and no amount of "validating the quality of each request" will stop the people bombarding me from Russia!

This is why the watermark works. Who wants to copy/give away something that says SAMPLE?

Since you mention that there are competitors, why are they not listed on these sites? What do they do to prevent from having to send these samples?

You can always say: Shipping in the UK is free, but outside the UK you will have to pay for shipping yourself. Combined with the SAMPLE mark, this should prevent them from abusing your good faith, and anyone who is really interested won't mind sending it.

I know the coding solution is easy, but it will not help you at all.

11-06-2007, 09:31 PM
Are they looking at your design and copying it, or actually using
the image(s) from the website? Watermarking would stop someone
from using the images, but anyone could still look at their designs
and copy what they see (watermark or not).

That's true for any designed thing on the internet.

It's sad someone would do that, but I don't know how you can stop it.

If you want to watermark an image, we can help with that ...
but I don't think it will do any good.

Best solution? Don't send out free samples unless someone
calls you in person and you discuss it with them.

EDIT: Another idea I had ...
It would sort of fun to create a "honeypot". If the referring site is .ru,
you redirect to another website that looks like yours, but has really bad and
false information. It would even be better if you were able to get some
Russian words in there. Make them enter stuff that would be funny to read
on a blog or something. Give them a bunch of tasks to complete that will
waste a lot of their time.


11-06-2007, 10:18 PM
Thanks to all those who have helped it is really really appreciated.

I have now updated my sample request form so that only UK residents get the free sample and non Uk residents have to pay postage, I didn’t want to have to do that as I was happy to deal with any country with a legitimate customer but sadly people are not always truthful.

Unfortunately even after putting that the samples are now only free to UK I am still receiving requests from Russia via the freebie website.... not much I can do I suppose will just have to put up with it until they get the message. Sadly some people are getting really abusive when I have emailed back to say that I cant send samples to them!!

I will not be using the watermark as my cards are handmade they can just copy the design even if it is watermarked..... plus to try to watermark a 3 dimensional embellishment to a card is impossible. If someone is going to copy my design I cant really do that much about it but the constant email from Russia are just getting a bit much.

Anyway enough babble from me..... thanks everyone you are all really kind for giving up your time :)

11-06-2007, 11:14 PM
It might be helpful (or might've been) to add a message such as:

"Free samples are sent out at the discretion of the owner of this business."

but sadly people are not always truthful.

It is indeed sad that something like this happened. You can count on people's greed ruining it for the rest of everyone else.

Are they looking at your design and copying it, or actually using
the image(s) from the website?

I'm kind of confused as well. If they are just copying the design, why order a sample... The images on the website are detailed enough to make a copy. Would people really order a free sample just so they don't have to buy a card?

PS: Your cards look nice by the way. I like the clean look of them.