What to do when you’ve accidentally become a celebrity and you get this mailchimp error: Recipient has too many recent signup requests

My cousin, Diana Harrison, is in danger of becoming a celebrity through accidentally inspiring hope in thousands of other women.

Hope is dangerous. It spreads like wildfire. It requires a website and a social-content marketing game plan.

Hope. It is the only thing stronger than fear. A little hope is effective. A lot of hope is dangerous. A spark is fine, as long as it’s contained. -President Snow

The first line on my cousin’s new website says why she is inspiring others.

My journey from 290 pounds to 162 pounds. Becoming a size 2, plus overcoming a brain injury with T-Tapp & a natural food plan.

She’s also one of those people that has a cheerful and positive attitude that grows on you.

And in spite of preferring to just call people up like it’s 1999, she’s been forced to get a website and is taking other pointers from my marketing genius cousin Jared Nielsen and the things I’ve memorized from reading the Gary Vaynerchuk book “Ask Gary Vee”.

The other side of the mirror
Special thanks to my cousin for stumbling across the personal website builder Strikingly.com. My initial contact from my cousin was “Do you do Web design”. My initial thought was #nerdfamilylivesmatter, why again was I getting pinged by a relative for help? Facebook, delete.
It’s not easy to explain that you get excited from incorporating Sine wave equations and not from making things look pretty on websites.
Perhaps this reluctance to help family can be wrongly attributed to the one time I decided to help my parents out by checking out their computer at the young age of 21. That was the time I learned that sometimes all you need to do is tilt a computer twenty degrees to initiate a hard drive failure.
Now I’ve learned my lesson. Run away. (Hey, look, there’s Facebook.)
Fortunately for my cousin, she stumbled on Strikingly and was able to setup an awesome looking website with no Jimmy Fallon IT Guy condescension or other hassles. That’s a win for me.

So she setup her website on Strikingly and created a Facebook public figure page and an Instagram account. She signed up on mailchimp for managing her newsletter and also for hubspot which has something to do with calling people? (though from just Googling it I can see that it’s a type of Customer Relations Management (CRM) tool.)

The Facts

Soon she got over a thousand views on her home page and people started clicking the submit button to sign up for the mailchimp orchestrated newsletter and some iPhone users reported receiving this error.

Recipient "" has too many recent signup requests
I had asked her to send me a screenshot along with OS and browser versions. This is from an iPhone.

Yeah, there’s nothing like trying to help others out and then running into a technical bug that you don’t know how to fix. My cousin is not a software engineer, she’s a Mom and a coach. So she immediately called me up and coached me into fixing the bug for her. ;)

The problem

The error message is a little misleading and I couldn’t reproduce it on my Motorola. But it’s saying that it’s emailed a blank email address too recently instead of I can’t register a blank email address. It also makes sense to me that people would click Subscribe before entering their email address- with today’s world of automatic Facebook integration and such.

The solution

Remove the “novalidate” property from the form element and add the “required” property to the input element for the email address.

If you just threw up from the above nerd overload, no worries, here’s a step-by-step walkthrough.

Login to strikingly or whatever website publishing tool you’re using and edit the mailchimp template section.

Edit your mailchimp template section

Next, you’ll need to find in your mailchimp template code this text. “<form”. Once you find “<form” then look for the words “novalidate”.

If you have it, look for “novalidate” after “<form”

Then remove the words “novalidate” so that it looks like this.

we’ve just told the form to not skip validation, that means check that all required fields are actually filled in

Great! With “novalidate” gone, the form will check all fields that have a “required” property. What is a field? A field is a place in the code above that starts with the words “<input”.

Let’s find the “<input” words that are followed by the words “type=email”.

We have found the input element for your email. Tell your nerd friends, “don’t you hate it when your input elements fool you with a required class but don’t have the require element for form validation? Gosh!”

Great, we found the input element that gets the email from the user. Now add the word “required” right before the following “>” sign.

the line should now end with “ required>”

Great. Now click Save and publish those changes.

Publish and done

And I test and see the desired result.

No more blank email addresses for you

A quick review. This is what we changed in form. (Don’t copy and paste the whole line from here, every action= is unique to your own mailchimp stuff.)

<form action="...your stuff, don't delete or you're fired..." method="post" id="mc-embedded-subscribe-form" name="mc-embedded-subscribe-form" class="validate" target="_blank" novalidate>
// to
<form action="...your stuff, don't delete or you're fired..." method="post" id="mc-embedded-subscribe-form" name="mc-embedded-subscribe-form" class="validate" target="_blank" >

This is what we changed on the email input. (You can copy and paste from here.)

<input type="email" value="" name="EMAIL" class="required email" id="mce-EMAIL" >
// to
<input type="email" value="" name="EMAIL" class="required email" id="mce-EMAIL" required>

Warning: Extra nerd information

If you’re wondering why mailchimp doesn’t include this, it’s because they know it’s safer to add a novalidate form and try to take care of it on their side rather than risk messing up any of the other forms on your page.

You don’t want another separate form to start saying a user never entered their email in the register field when they’re trying to checkout a shopping cart or something else.

I did this in Chrome to make sure I wasn’t messing up Diana’s page.

Right click on the published web page and select “Inspect”.

You are now entering the nerd zone

Click on the Elements section somewhere and then hit CTRL+F (or whatever the find hotkey is on Mac)

I do the Find key combo- CTRL+F in Windows

In the little textbox I search for “<form

Search for <form and see how many results you have.

Thankfully I only see 1 out of 1 search results. You’re not screwed if you have more than one, whatever other code on the page might do things correctly. But then it might not. Extra testing is needed if you have more than one form element on your page.

If this helped you out or you found it entertaining then click the heart to recommend.

I normally write about Amazon Web Services and other programming stuff. If that interests you then please follow.

Also this is me on Twitter and this is me on Instagram.