March 24, 2020

It's not cool to make an email list out of Indiehackers users' emails

Raz @razvanilin

I get this all the time and it's not cool. It might even be a cool project, but if I receive a generic email that even has unparsed *|FNAME|* mailchimp variables it's just gonna go in my spam (+block) list.

If you want to approach Indiehackers, do so on a personal level and make sure the ones you are contacting are going to be interested in your product. Indiehackers can work in a lot of different domains, so please do your research before wasting people's time and risking building a bad reputation for your email IP address.

I still want to keep my email up on my profile here on this site because sometimes I'm contacted by genuine people that I end up having a nice and useful conversation with, so please stop using these emails in your soulless marketing wannabe campaigns.

This sounds more like a rant, but hopefully, it can be educational to people that did or are thinking about sending mass emails to indiehackers without their consent.

Cheers 🍻

  1. 3

    Agreed, but in reality, it's happened to me twice in the several months and tons of postings I've written on IH. And, no, I'm not scraping for email addys.

    All in all, there is still a massive upside to having an email address on here due to the lack of direct keeps us on the platform and is one less Slack channel to manage! ; )

  2. 2

    Copy/pasting one of my LinkedIn comments:

    For anyone who doesn't know, Gmail (and many email providers) allow you to add "+whatever" in your email so my email [email protected] would become [email protected]. Using this trick you can use a new/unique email for every service (I use [email protected] for Indie Hackers). This has 2 advantages, 1.) every web app has a different username making it harder to brute force, and 2.) you can immediately see what account was hacked or where they got your email.

    1. 2

      I wonder how effective this method is, because surely spammers are just as privy to this technique as we are. If I were spamming people I would 100% take the extra 15 seconds to write a regex stripping out everything between the '+' and the '.tld'.

      1. 1

        So far the 2-3 spam emails from Indie Hackers users have come to so, while you and I are not that lazy spammers are.

        It's been working for me. Then I typically give out a better email to those I actually want to talk to (or forward to my real email).

        Having a second "spam" email I literally get 0 spam email to my real address these days. As a result, I got 0 spam email notifications on my phone, which was the real goal of having a second email.

        1. 2

          Makes sense. I guess it's the same strategy as putting a $5 lock on your bike. It exists solely to deter lazy criminals.

  3. 2

    Yea, I got one of these too :-) It happens every so often. Thing is, if you put your email address out publicly, someone will grab it and send you emails :-) Right or wrong, it's gonna happen...

  4. 2

    What if, in place of your email, you could share a link to a secure contact form that forwards to your email address? I have all the code ready to stand up a membership-based service like this very quickly.

    Anyone aware of any service like this?

    1. 2

      I've built a service for this :)

      Check it out and let me know what you think:

      1. 2

        That's exactly it! Looks great. I just created an account :)

        1. 1

          Great, thx!

          Let me know if you want a custom link and I'll hook you up for free :) Here's my contact link:

    2. 1

      Nice idea!
      One method: You could put a Google form link in your profile and have responses forwarded to your email.

      1. 1

        What Craigslist does works well, insofar as I've used it over the years.

        1. 1

          They generate a temporary email address and forward mail. What I'm proposing is not a mail relay, but a service based on a web form available on a web page. Like a contact page form that anyone with an account can use.

          1. 2

            Well, aside from the temporary email address part, you've still described what happens on Craigslist when someone responds to my ad. A user fills out a form with their email address and message, and it gets forwarded to my email without them knowing any of my info...

            On this site, since you can't send DM's, it would be cool to have the link on my profile where the person can request my email, and explain why - closer to what LinkedIn has when connecting and adding a note to the request.

            I'm not saying what you have won't be good, and that I wouldn't use it. I just don't see it as being much different than things that already exist.

            1. 1

              Ah, gotcha. I thought you were confusing the idea with an email relay. But yeah, it'd be like a CL form, but with your own unique URL that you could share and that anyone can use to send you an email. It'd be primarily for accepting email privately and securely; and keeping your email hidden.

              So, how would you currently share a way for someone on this site (for example) to contact you via email, without giving them your email address? I'm guessing not CL. Another service? Or is this not a particularly common use case?

              1. 2

                On our profiles, beside the pic/avatar, there are the icons for Twitter and email. The email icon could actually open up a short dialog box where the person can write a short note about why they want to exchange emails and then send it off. Then I could get a notification, with the details of who and the note, and I can approve, or ignore the email exchange. If I approve it the sender's email is revealed, and the sender gets a notification with mine. Just my quick thoughts about the workflow.

  5. 2

    +1 Removed my email because of this.

  6. 2

    I'm happy to have a stern word if anyone forwards on these messages to me, not much more I can do apart from that (and people removing their emails from their profile).

    Mostly I find the benefits of sharing the email outweighs the negatives. It is annoying and I normally respond to them with a good telling off!

    1. 2

      Awesome to hear @rosiesherry! I very strongly considered forwarding the most recent one to you... but I didn't want to put you in a weird spot. But now that you've publicly granted permission :woohoo: !!!

      Also agree that having the email addresses is a net positive. For the few bad actors I just want to reply "Why the F*** do you think you're so special that you get to take a shortcut and not play by the same rules as everyone else?"

    2. 1

      GET 'EM, MA'! :)

    3. 1

      The bummer part is that the person responsible recently just gained a lot of support here, and otherwise seems to be helpful. A little over-zealous, but could be forgiven if they just came here and said, "whoopsie, my bad, never again..."

  7. 1

    LOL i got that email today too. I took a screenshot. Was that a bug on MailChimps end? The variable looks correct.

    1. 1

      I think it may have been missing text replacements, as mine showed up correct (assuming we're both referring to the same piece of spam ;)

      1. 1

        My subject was: |FNAME|, I've just launched my new logo maker

        1. 1

          Wow, so this is awkward... I actually received a DIFFERENT piece of spam yesterday, also claiming that I opted in on their website.

          I /never/ use my public facing email to opt into anything, so it's a pretty easy tell :P

  8. 1

    Agreed! I just got one of these this morning. It even said, "You are receiving this email because you opted in via our website." Which I mostly definitely did not.

  9. 1


    I've found more and more of the messages go to spam and never hit my inbox, so seems like the score is taking care of itself.