Oops I created a Spambot


"Build it and they will come" doesn't work on the internet. its5.info needed a strategy. Anything paid was out of the question: this was not a money-making venture. Google search results for "it's 5 o'clock somewhere" are dominated by Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffet's hit song, so that was a no go. But Twitter provided a world of opportunity.

Stylized its5.info logo
Twitter and I disagree on the value of its5.info

I had decided early on that the project would have a Twitter account that would surf Twitter and, like a pedantic 7-year-old, simply respond to anybody who says "It's 5 o'clock somewhere" with information about where it's 5 o'clock. This valuable public service would be performed by @its5info.

On May 14, I put the robot into action. For some reason unknown to me, I set it to search for and reply to the phrase "its 5 oclock somewhere" without apostrophes.

The first tweet that went out got a retweet. This could work, I thought. People might like this, I thought. A few more tweets went out the next day.

On May 16, I realized that the bot should be searching for "it's 5 o'clock somewhere" with apostrophes. The world would never be the same.

I flipped the switch on the search change just before 8am on the 16th. Editor's note: it was 5 o'clock in Yerevan, Armenia; Muscat, Oman; and Moscow, Russia. Immediately, the responses started flying out. And people seemed to like it.

Three hours – 63 tweets, 19 favorites, 9 retweets, 9 replies, and 1 invitation for drinks – of bringing joy to the people of the internet later, the tweets stopped abruptly. Twitter was misinterpreting joy as SPAM, and suspended the account.

And just like that, @its5info's valueable service had come to an end, and now its5.info is lost on the internet with no strategy to help it find its way.

But at least I had fun building it.