I think that your code for actually extracting the word from the email is very obfuscated compared to how it could be. I think that using regular expressions might be much much simpler. I think it would be more appropriate if you create a blog, rather than framed this as a tutorial, or posted it here asking for feedback rather than framing it as advice to others.
Also, I glossed over your NPR "tutorial" before but after a quick look I see you're doing string manipulation where it would be better to use higher level method for creating REST requests or maybe even formatted URLs if you have to even drop down that low level.
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