Top 20 ways to screw with Spammers

I had a hardcore spammer visit my site today. He/She registered on my site, wrote a LONG entry and even included a link to a valid email (along with the link to his site) He even posted the entry twice! Now thats dedication! Consequently, registered users are not allowed to blog anymore. 🙁 If you register, and would like to write something on my blog, send me an email and I will elevate your priviledges. No-one has done that yet, so it safe to say I am not offending anyone.

That leads me to the topic of this post. I have been needled by spammers enough (through my blogs and through email) that I am pissed. Though my anger is directed at spammers, I am not vicious. I just want them to *reduce* their propensity. Thus, this post comes with a disclaimer. This is a parody, not to be taken seriously or considered to be an attack of any sort on anyone. Please take it with a grain of salt.

So here are the top 20 ways to screw with a Spammer

1) Dont have an online identity. Delete all your email accounts, remove your blog/personal website and request that all your communication be sent to you sans-Internet. I know, not possible, but an Utopian thought.

2) This is where the screwing starts. To play with the spam in your email, install a program called MailWasher. This program sends back an “email address not valid” email (fashioned after a sendmail reject message) back to the spammer’s email address. It also looks through published blacklists for the spam domain and if not present, adds the domains to those blacklists. Good program.

3) Respond to the really interesting ones (not really suggested, but fun nonetheless). Tell the Nigerian dude how interested you are in their scheme and give them all kinds of information about you. I told one guy that I was a Maharaja’s son and needed to get rid of my camel herd (pronto, before my father realized I was not living in the palace anymore) so that I could purchase the Trump Tower here in the US. I asked him for his business advice.

4) Signing up for stuff with your email address is a norm. However, you can fashion your email address to figure out which sites sell their lists. Here is how to do it. If my email address was email@domain.com, I would add email+egghead@domain.com when I signup with my email at egghead.com. That way, if you get spam with email+egghead@domain.com, you know which site “lost” your address. Dont worry, most email servers parse this information correctly, as long as the first part of your address is maintained aong with the domain name. Once you know who is selling their lists (in spite of their disclaimers), they are fair game.

5) Ask spammers if they have an opt-in list and if you could signup in all their lists for $1000 a year. Give them ALL your one hundred email addresses. Then you can retire to Maui like you always wanted to.

6) Disable HTML parsing of your emails on your email client. Spammers sometimes keep track of succesful reads (of an email) through embedded code.

7) Be creative. Create HoneyPot email addresses. Spammers need to eat too. Create lots of free email addresses and click on all links that appear in Spam sent to those addresses. Then set all email in those accounts to be deleted automatically. (If you signup for free email addresses, Spam reception is automatic)

8) This one always amuses me. Been used before, but still funny. Let your 3 year old write a letter to Santa and send it to all your spammers. They will appreciate the knowledge of what is popular with kids these days.

9) Moving onto blog spam. Use a blog tool that allows some form of comment moderation or at least has a hack or plugin for comment moderation (WordPress comes to mind :))

10) Write a small script (or ask someone to write it for you, should be relatively simple) to read through comment spam, parse the links and backtrack those links to find email addresses. Then the script should be configured to email the spammers and ask for remuneration (to be paid before display of the comments) for each link displayed on your blog. This script could also be used for email spam.

11) Openly display your desire to sell “link space” on your blog. If you got it, flaunt it.

12) Once in a while, discuss extremely “spammy” subjects. I love talking about Xenical and Viagra. Of course, cheap Xanax is a must. Trackback and pingback back and forth between your blogger friends about these posts. Gotta love Cheap Prescription Drugs from Canada!

13) Write a little script that takes each spam comment and mangles the links in those comments. Then make them show up as HTML comments in your blog instead of real ones. Even better, make them show up as real comments with the links off by a few characters. Once the links are rewritten, draw attention of spammers to those comments. “This site is a real gem, look at what they have to sell. Good job!!”

14) Write a little cookie on every computer that posts a spam comment. Put the spam comment in the cookie. Check for the cookie everytime you load comments and add the spam comment to your comments list. Spammers now see their own comment even though it really does not display.

15) Heck, write a script which adds a couple of spam comments for every post. It will become second nature to see all blogs with comments like “abracadabra google fuss –X-Eni*cal V*iGr_a treats girl undo quang foo document”. The links in those comments are, of course, fashioned from your list of blogger friends. Spammers see an overflow of existing spam, move on to the next blog (or not).

16) Get a plugin for your blog that, upon finding a spam comment, asks for a paypal donation. MicroPayment baby!!

17) Setup lots and lots of free blogs and DONT install any spam protection on any but your main blog. Use a cross posting tool to post to all your blogs. Give spammers something to sink their teeth into!

18) Spammers can make for good content too. If your blog is new, encourage spammers. They use keywords which are VERY attractive to search engines. Imagine setting up a blog and within a couple of weeks, receiving hundreds of hits from people looking for intravenous Viagra.

19) Their is always “recreational spam browsing”. Gotta love that sport. I spied my father doing that. Spam comments make for excellent web browsing (when insanely bored)

20) And finally (drum roll please….) add spammers to your address book, routinely. That way, if and when (tomorrow) the next email virus hits, your spammers will be thankful to know that your email address is valid.

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