Developer creates a bot to talk to spammers
Brian Weinreich, partner and developer at Rounded and Density, revealed that he has been using an automated email bot that he created to send canned replies to spam emails for the past two years. The founder of San Francisco firm created the bot to waste the time of the spammers after being outraged by a flood of uninvited sales pitches that started attacking his inbox.
His bot dubbed Sp@m Looper, a Ruby-based service running on a Web server, managed to engross the spammers in never-ending and senseless conversations for days and sometimes weeks. Weinreich (@BeWeinreich) has posted such 16 hilarious conversations.
“My inbox is a sacred place, and spammers shit all over it,” Weinreich says.
“I get in the zone when responding to emails, and it’s tough to jump from an email about our businesses pricing strategy, to reviewing the latest bug reports, to [spam].
“That spam button on Gmail just didn’t get me going anymore. There’s no reward. I was seeking revenge, and some comedic relief.”
“I figured if I could eat up a spammers time, then they would have less time to perfect their new spamming technique,” Weinreich wrote in a Medium post detailing his creation.
This bot created by Weinreich would reply to spam emails with responses that are suitable. The code will take any message that’s forwarded to it, and assume the victim’s identity by interfering itself in the conversation.
It will then reply to the spam email, asking the spammer for more details. Over the years, Weinreich carefully tuned the bot’s answers to be as generic as they can be, he says.
When Weinreich was bored, one day, he decided to use random “hipster” phrases as the spam bot’s signature, which strangely the spammers didn’t even notice. They continued to answer, and the bot continued to reply. The bot has even managed to get a $50 discount for on marketing services.
Weinreich has uploaded the source code to his Sp@mLooper bot to GitHub. You can check out the bot’s conversations with the spammers here or build a different version by visiting Weinreich’s GitHub page.