SEO Fun Friday: Converting Spam Emails into Page Views

Summary:Spamming spammers and potentially benefiting from them. If that sounds like fun to you, then this is a post you don't want to miss!

Okay. To start, let me say that this method isn't for everyone. It's slow, I haven't the slightest bit of data on conversion/success rate, it probably doesn't land you *that* many page views, and it's quite unrealistic for many to even care enough about to consider doing. It's just a fun little method I've devised for the times I'm bored and interested in picking on/taking advantage of spammers.

The long and the short of this method is that you reply to spam emails with some kind of reply catered to what they're asking of you -- the grab being that you also include a link to a page you want them to click through to. Now, I'm sure someone's done this before and that I'm not the first to think this little method up (I *could* Google to see, but willful ignorance is bliss. :) ), but for those of you who are like me and try to think of creative ways to take advantage of the spammers, here you go.

To note, this probably won't work with the spam emails that contain a bunch of completely irrelevant keywords strung together and a link somewhere within it. Those are typically sent from spoofed email addresses (meaning they're non-existent) or non-monitored ones. No, this is for all the "Dr. Nibiru Mdjangos" and "Miss Love Nicelys" out there who use some form of god, love, or money to take advantage of whoever they can. You know, the ones who actually ask you to email them back?

Basically, you draft up a reply to one of their emails and make it sound like you're seriously replying to what they said. Somewhere within the reply, you include a link to the page you want them to click through to, but you have to make it flow and give them a reason to want to click the link. For instance, I received this very spam email today:

 

Hello My name is Christanne Lama from Dakar Senegal I have interest on you, It give me a great pleasure to write you, I will also like to know you more, and if you can send an email annelama001@yahoo.com to my email address, I will give you my pictures and tell you more about me. I believe we can move from here! Waiting for your mail to my email address above.(Remember the distance, Color or age does not matters but love matter allot in life) Miss Lama

 

So, in the case of Miss Lama, I might reply with something like this (all grammatical aberrations are 100% intentional):

 

Dear Christanne from Dakar Senegal who has interest on me:

I have interest on you too. I will also also like to know you more. I have on this site a profile picture that I will like you to know me more: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/seo

Please see there and email me back when you see so that we can know more about us. I would like to have love and you are right Miss Lama!

Love, Mr. Lorenzo Lamas

 

And there you have it. Naturally, you can use a service like bit.ly or goo.gl to mask your actual link. That's not only good for masking your link, but also for quantifying conversions (i.e. seeing if someone actually clicks on the link or not). You could do that via site analytics, but it's much easier to go the URL forwarding route. Also, once you do enough of these emails, you can just start rehashing them like spammers do and save yourself the time of having to draft new ones. After all, it's rare that I receive a spam email that isn't simply some variant of one I've seen previously (perhaps a different name attached to it, different email address, etc.).

Basically, the way I see it is if spammers think they stand a chance to make money off of you, there's a chance they'll click your link. Just make sure there's some purpose tied to the link. Don't just place a link there and hope they'll click it. Guide them there and make them think that something pertaining to either your personal information or your personal interest waits on the other end of the link.

I'm sure there's a way to semi-automate this process by harvesting known spam email addresses and blasting them all -- maybe even somehow creating a macro or something that could go through your spam email inbox to reply to the spammers -- but then you completely lose the touch of directly responding to them and coming off more personable. If the goal is to get them to click the link, you stand the best chance at achieving that goal by coming off genuine.

Now, there's the aforementioned, or you could just send them a link to NIMP and hope that the person who opens it is sitting in a public place. If you don't know what NIMP is, it's an incredibly offensive site that contains shocking images that move around the screen such that you cannot close them. It also attempts to auto-load a rather offensive audio clip that blares over your speakers. It's not for the faint of heart and it's beyond NSFW (you have been warned and I didn't link to it here for obvious reasons), but when it comes to spammers, I leave just about no stone unturned with how I choose to pick on them or take advantage of them! Mwah ha ha... ;)

How do you want to treat the spammers today? Prank them or use them? Spamming the spammers... Philosophical debate, or just having a good time giving them a taste of their their own medicine? In this case, it's definitely the latter.

Topics: Security, Browser, Collaboration

About

Stephen is a freelance writer and blogger based in Charlotte, NC. His contributions to ZDNet cover topics related to security, gaming, Microsoft, Apple, and other topics of interest with a tech/SMB skew.

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