Friday, November 04, 2011

How to make people want to stop forwarding all those "funny" emails

email_send I used to have a bunch of friends that would forward me emails almost every day containing jokes and other crap. You know the stuff I am talking about. You have probably received a ton of it yourself over the years and know at least one person that is a compulsive forwarder of such crap. I say "used to" because they no longer send me this stuff. They don't want to. They now want to selfishly deprive me (and their other friends) of it, at least in the form of emails.

I have a reputation of building websites and blogs for little or no reason other than to temporarily amuse myself. My friends know this about me.

One day I decided to set up a blog to post all those "funny" emails that friends were sending to me, and then sent each of them a link to it, explaining that I was not going to forward the stuff they were sending to me.

I told them my intention was to make money off it by slapping ads on the blog. I then asked them to double the amount of "funny" emails they were forwarding to me if they could, because I needed more content for my new site. Most of them complied with my request and temporarily increased the number they sent out.

When they started decreasing them, I sent out emails to the slackers and politely informed them that they needed to work harder to amuse me. I started making requests for specific types of forwards. I included links to items on for stuff I wanted, explaining the ad revenues from my site were being put towards obtaining them. I even warned them when they sent me doubles, explaining that they needed to check my blog and send out only new material that was yet unpublished.

I sent out occasional Thank You emails with photos of myself with some "new item" I had just acquired, supposedly paid for with ad revenue earned from their "funny" emails, and encouraging them to keep up the great work. (I actually made very little from the blog, less than $1/month)

Today I receive very few of these email forwards. :-D

What I essentially did was take what some people view to be a fun activity that annoys their friends and turn it into a boring repetitive task in which they receive no pleasure from, view as work, and I receive profit when they do it.

In other words, I exploited them and let them know about it. I took the fun right out of it.

My actions made them think about what they were doing and some even decided the best use of their time would be to set up similar blogs (that nobody reads) instead of forwarding this crap to others. I exploited their selfish nature by making them think I was benefitting from their actions more than they were.

It was a brilliant bit of reverse psychology.