We all know this. Emails we don't want, some of them hard to distinguish from normal messages. We waste time browsing through them and checking if they are any good. How about we fight spammers with their own weapon? Let's waste some spammer's time instead of yours for a change!
When the creator of Spamnesty contacted us and asked for some support we were more than happy to help. The idea aligns perfectly with our quirky sense of humor and at the same time helps to fight those who spread bad PR to the whole industry - spammers.
How it works
The idea has a spark of genius glowing underneath its simplicity. Long story short, if you want to help, all you need to do is to forward a spam email you received to email@example.com. Just remember to remove any personal information from the body of the email. Following this, a carefully tuned Spamnesty bot will engage the spammer in a long conversation - asking the spammer for more details, pretending they are interested, trying to set up a date for a meeting, etc. Each time the spammer answers a new message, the bot waits a moment to make it look more natural, and then sends another email asking more questions.
Sometimes these conversations can take as many as 42 messages exchanged between the spammer and a bot. And the average from the last few days is 27 messages per conversation. Since the start of the project, there are 51,167 conversations, containing 155,280 messages. Of those, 35,004 are messages the users have forwarded to Spamnesty, 70,967 are messages Spamnesty sent and 49,309 are messages the spammers sent to Spamnesty. Let's just assume that each time the spammer spends 3 minutes on reading and answering each message. Altogether, Spamnesty has wasted almost 103 days worth of time of some of the spammers around the world. These numbers are growing very very fast. You can actually help these numbers grow.
How can you help?
If you get a spam email, simply forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org, and Spamnesty will strip your email address, pretend it's a real person and reply to the email. Just remember to strip out any personal information from the body of the email as it will be used, so the reply looks more legitimate.
How does Elastic Email help?
We support the idea by providing our API so all these messages sent by bots get delivered to spammers.
Spamnesty gets a lot of attention from the media and people around the world. There were many articles such as the one in Boing Boing or The Next Web. Certainly, their popularity will grow. Hopefully, with the help of all of us, we can achieve this and make the email world a little less clunky and better for everyone. If you are more interested in a developer's side of this project, make sure to check the page on GitLab to learn more about it. Now if you want some real fun, go to the Spamnesty website and read some of those hilarious spammer-bots conversations 🙂