Re-educating a spammer

Freshness Warning
This article is over 12 years old. It's possible that the information you read below isn't current.

Hopefully I’ve turned someone away from a life of spam. This afternoon someone posted a request to Sacramento craigslist looking for a spamming tool.

Email harvester?
Reply to: job-220213154@craigslist.org

I have seen several programs that harvest emails from the internet. I have also in the past known programmers that could write programs to retrive email from the net. I need a list of real estate agents, sortable by city, for the entire country. There are some lists out there but they are out of date or to expensive. Maybe someone has already compiled this list, or knows how to do it. Let me know if you can do it, cash paid.

Job location is Sacramento
Compensation: $600.00 Cash on complete job.

I’m guessing that he just doesn’t know what he’s asking for. He sounds a bit innocent in his request and possibly doesn’t equate what he’s doing with spam. So I tried a bit of education.

Why do you think that just because someone posts their email address on a web site that it’s okay to contact them?

There’s a word for what you’re looking for. It’s called spam. Billions of dollars are spent each year trying to fight it. People hate it. It’s unethical and immoral. And since you’re in California, it’s illegal to send.

Why’s spam so bad? It hogs resources that don’t belong to you. It wastes people’s time. It shifts the costs of doing your marketing from you to the recipient. It gets in the way of legitimate, useful email.

Imagine getting telemarketing calls in which the caller pretended to be your relative in trouble. And they called collect. Then when you took the call, you found out they were selling something instead. You’ve been interrupted at dinner, fooled into listening to a sales pitch, and then had to pay for the privilege.

Any business worth being in doesn’t need to resort to these tactics. Lowlife scumbags like porn peddlers, counterfeit watch dealers, and financial scammers promote their goods with spam. Do you really want to associate your business with them?

Please rethink what you’re intending.

Think it will work?

COD
October 13, 2006 4:07 PM

In a word, no. Anyway, for $600 he isn't going to get custom software capable of discerning real estate agents from porn stars :) He'll get exactly what he deserves.

Hashim
October 14, 2006 6:12 PM

perhaps offering him a solution to his problem would have been helpful. He could set up a simple email collection form on a webpage for real estate agents. Then he can spend his 600 advertising the page on Google. It's legal, and can be more effective for him than spam.

Phil
October 17, 2006 7:34 AM

I think it's safe to assume that a person who puts their email address on their website would like to be contacted. Granted, they probably want to be contacted in regards to whatever the web page is about.

KJ
October 19, 2006 2:21 PM

I don't think it'll help them at all. There are plenty of tools available on the web for this kind of thing that it's always going to be hard to put a stop to it. Unfortunately this guy looks to be setting up some sort of business and sees this as an investment, but I definately agree that it looks like a lack of education and common sense on their part.

SvendK
October 20, 2006 2:28 PM

Hi Kalsey I think it's a great and really polite way to say "#%!?". And I guess it's quite more effective than "#%?!". Mostly because no-one knows what "#%?!" means. Duh. Anyway, instead af yelling at him, you tried to tell him all the bad things about spam, and I think you got around. And unlike the other commenteers, I do think it worked. For this guy anyway. Great work Kalsey!

Your comments:

Text only, no HTML. URLs will automatically be converted to links. Your email address is required, but it will not be displayed on the site.

Name:

Not your company or your SEO link. Comments without a real name will be deleted as spam.

Email: (not displayed)

If you don't feel comfortable giving me your real email address, don't expect me to feel comfortable publishing your comment.

Website (optional):

Follow me on Twitter

Best Of

  • Simplified Form Errors One of the most frustrating experiences on the Web is filling out forms. When mistakes are made, the user is often left guessing what they need to correct. We've taken an approach that shows the user in no uncertain terms what needs to be fixed.
  • Pitching Bloggers Forget what you learned in your PR classes. Start acting like a human instead of a marketer, and the humans behind the blogs will respond.
  • How not to apply for a job Applying for a job isn't that hard, but it does take some minimal effort and common sense.
  • Embrace the medium The Web is different than print, television, or any other medium. To be successful, designers must embrace those differences.
  • Newly Digital Newly Digital is an experimental writing project. I've asked 11 people to write about their early experiences with computing technology and post their essays on their weblogs. So go read, enjoy, and then contribute. This collection is open to you. Write up your own story, and then let the world know about it.
  • More of the best »

Recently Read

Get More

Subscribe | Archives

Recently

Building the Customer-Informed Product (Aug 15)
Strong products aren't composed of a list of features dictated by customers. They are guided by strong visions, and the execution of that vision is the primary focus of product development.
Assumptions and project planning (Feb 18)
When your assumptions change, it's reasonable that your project plans and needs change as well. But too many managers are afraid to go back and re-work a plan that they've already agreed to.
Feature voting is harmful to your product (Feb 7)
There's a lot of problems with using feature voting to drive your product.
Encouraging 1:1s from other managers in your organization (Jan 4)
If you’re managing other managers, encourage them to hold their own 1:1s. It’s such an important tool for managing and leading that everyone needs to be holding them.
One on One Meetings - a collection of posts about 1:1s (Jan 2)
A collection of all my writing on 1:1s
Are 1:1s confidential? (Jan 2)
Is the discussion that occurs in a 1:1 confidential, even if no agreed in the meeting to keep it so?
Skip-level 1:1s are your hidden superpower (Jan 1)
Holding 1:1s with peers and with people far below you on the reporting chain will open your eyes up to what’s really going on in your business.
Do you need a 1:1 if you’re regularly communicating with your team? (Dec 28)
You’re simply not having deep meaningful conversation about the process of work in hallway conversations or in your chat apps.

Subscribe to this site's feed.

Contact

Adam Kalsey

Mobile: 916.600.2497

Email: adam AT kalsey.com

Twitter, etc: akalsey

Resume

PGP Key

©1999-2019 Adam Kalsey.