October 10, 2007

Curious George: Setting up auto-send emails? I want to do what action networks do!

I subscribe to some "action networks" for causes I support. Often, they'll send an email with a link to a web form where I just enter my name/address, click "send," and a pre-formatted letter will go out to specific people (government reps, for example). I'd like to be able to set up a similar service myself. Does anyone know of an easy way to do this, perhaps a web service? My Google-fu has failed me.

  • You're looking for an email form. Trivial to set up and run on your own server. Unfortunately, they are also also wildly insecure and liable to be hijacked by spammers at any minute (ask me how I know). I'm not aware of anyone who's offering web-based email forms as a hosted service, but it looks like these guys do something similar.
  • They don't have to be insecure, a captcha field or a question only a human could answer will stop most spammers.
  • Except that doesn't stop me, as a human, from typing the following in danielo's form: Dear. Mycongressman@congress.com, I got your email address from danielo. He thinks you are a stinky poo and he's coming to get you. Danielo
  • FiftyPoints, believe me, I've tried everything. Turing questions and captcha fields did indeed stop "most" spammers, but this only reduced the flood of spam from 1 million per second to 1 million per minute. Which was more than enough to get our servers on various blacklists. I checked back on this thread in the hope that someone would have posted the shining answer to the problem of formmail hijacking. Alas!