(No affiliate links!)
For no apparent reason, I suddenly got the urge to blog about social media email scrapers 😉
First off I should warn you that email scraping (harvesting) for spam lists is illegal. Very very illegal. It is a direct violation of the CAN-SPAM act of 2003 which specifically states it is illegal to initiate commercial email to a recipient where the email address of the recipient was obtained by: “Using an automated means to extract electronic mail addresses from an Internet website or proprietary online service operated by another person”. Apps for scraping social media sites (if they even work) are even more illegal as they require hacking (see below). And don’t think that just adding an “unsubscribe” link makes it all OK. It doesn’t. See: https://www.projecthoneypot.org/law_of_harvesting.php
Think scraping emails from social media sites like Facebook is a good idea? So did Sanford Wallace. Until a california judge ordered him to pay Facebook $711 million in damages that is. See: http://money.cnn.com/2009/10/30/technology/facebook_spammer/index.htm?postversion=2009103017. “We will continue to pursue damages against other spammers.” said Facebook. Seriously, scraping email addresses from social media sites like Facebook = seriously bad idea. Unless of course you want to make Mark Zuckerberg even richer.
Then of course there’s the jail time. Like 2 1/2 years jail time. Not only can you be totally bankrupted for messing with the likes of Facebook, you can also spend a few years as someone’s prison bitch – assuming you don’t get shivved that is. See: http://www.nbcnews.com/tech/internet/spam-king-sanford-wallace-sentenced-2-years-facebook-scheme-n592651
Some people say that scraping isn’t illegal if you don’t use the harvested email addresses for spam (not sure why else you would do it), however scraping social media sites isn’t just reading publicly visible email addresses (they aren’t that stupid), it requires methods like dictionary attacks and guessing common passwords to access user info – in other words: “hacking”. This is of course EXTREMELY ILLEGAL! Of course if someone was to set their email address to be publicly visible (extremely unlikely) it would be visible to email scrapers – but it would be visible to ANY email scraper – not just social media scrapers – and there are a lot of free email scrapers out there that would do the job. You can also assume that Facebook etc. have a whole bunch of honeypot email addresses to monitor any scraping.
Of course, it’s doubtful they even work. You might find that you end up with nothing for your money. If an app doesn’t have a free trial (especially if it’s from a sleazy spammy company) then you can bet it’s a scam. Here are some comments from youtube videos of facebook email scrapers: “You’re FULL OF IT”, “dont work for me”, “emails never load”, “If your facebook email scraper actually works it would be against the facebook terms and conditions.”, “you people cant be this stupid to think this is real”. “I tried the same way you did it and it is not working anymore :(“, “What all I think of your shit is : 1. Its a Trojan 2. It doesn’t works”. “don’t loose money with this scammers. please stay away”. “total Fake things. Ideot.” Not surprisingly any positive comments seem to be accompanied by affiliate links.
Actually, here’s a comment on a Youtube video on Dingosoft (no relation) Power Scraper from someone who bought the product: “This program doesn’t actually work, we have been testing it for days and it crashes every time within 5-15 minutes loosing all the work that is created in that time only once has it stopped when finished and save 1 set of data. I love the idea behind this but it plain and simple doest work we have tried running as admin and not as admin, moving to different drives,allocating the priority etc it just doesn’t work, the minute it does work i would gladly use it”. This comment was from a month ago and sadly has no reply from the developer.
So unfortunately, I can’t actually review social media email scrapers as even if they did work, I would have to try them out first – and that would be illegal 😦