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The Lone Guns Against Spam

timothy posted more than 13 years ago | from the spammer-should-be-cooked-in-the-can dept.

Spam 243

crotherm points to a piece in today's L.A. Times, writing: "This would a great article to pass along to those less knowledgable about SPAM and those that fight against it." It's also a bit frightening to see what happens to people on the wrong side of the spam battle sometimes, though denials of service are attributed to both spammers and de-spammers, each by the other.

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Re:This is absurd! (2)

dattaway (3088) | more than 13 years ago | (#287891)

I harvest potential contacts ...

I may have you blocked already! What did you say your name is?

Re:It's quite simple (2)

Genom (3868) | more than 13 years ago | (#287892)

As a test, I open a new Hotmail account about once every 6 months -- the last one I opened on Feb. 22nd, and by the 24th, it was receiving spam.

I just open the account, send a quick test message to it from a Yahoo mail account (to verify that it works), then wait. I make sure to say "NO" to all the "offers" and such that MS wants to shove down your throat when you sign up.

So - conceivably, the address shouldn't receive any mail at all. I don't give the address out -- I don't use the address for anything, and I haven't given MS permission to spam the address by agreeing to their "special offers" during signup.

In 2 days, I was receiving 10-15 spam a day. It's up to about 50 a day now (that's where it seems to plateau for hotmail). There's either a backdoor, MS is selling hotmail addresses to spammers, or both.

Re:The Market for Spam Filtering (1)

cdipierr (4045) | more than 13 years ago | (#287893)

Interestingly enough this service isn't available in North Carolina. Since you're charged per call (or at least that's how it was when it started) and the phone company had no way of proving the # of calls it blocked out, they deemed it illegal to sell such a service because they could conceivably charge customers an arbitrary amount of money per month.

Re:Tackhead is a little whining bitch (3)

Eponymous Coward (6097) | more than 13 years ago | (#287895)

If you claim anything more that a buck or two, you are full of bulshit
If you use a wireless service to check/send mail, then the expense of spam can add up quickly. It's like a collect call that you cannot refuse.

Simpler with qmail... (1)

rsidd (6328) | more than 13 years ago | (#287896)

If you have an account on a mail server which runs qmail, in fact, you can easily set up aliases for yourself which begin with your username. So if your name is foobar, you can create an alias for yourself called foobar-slashdot (no help from root required).

Re:This is absurd! (3)

Dr.Dubious DDQ (11968) | more than 13 years ago | (#287902)

Do you offer recipients a way to get their name off your list?

Of course, you just send a reply to "takemeoffyourlist@somewhereorother.com" with the subject "This is a real email address that gets read so stop sending me email but go ahead and sell this address to the NEXT guy in line as a 'verified' email adress to spam to"....

(It's commonly known that many [most?] of those reply addresses are for exactly that purpose...so even if you don't get more email from that source, you tend to get lots more from brand new sources who bought the "verified email list" from the guy you replied to...)


---

Re:It's quite simple (2)

dmuth (14143) | more than 13 years ago | (#287905)

Here's something useful if you have your own domain with unlimited aliases: Put the name of the website as the name of the email. For example: slashdot.org@mydomain.com Filter it in your favorite email reader, and when you are tremendously bored you can go through your trash folder see what websites sold your name to spammers...
Heh, it gets even better. In the interest of saving namespace on my domain, I use a plussed variant of my address, dmuth+slashdot<at>claws-and-paws.com, when I post here. As it turns out, spammers, being stupid as usual, end up breaking off the address at the plus sign, so now spam comes into slashdot<at>claws-and-paws.com.

<sigh>I hate spammers...

--

Re:This is absurd! (3)

zCyl (14362) | more than 13 years ago | (#287906)

I think that digital solicitations provide a valuable service to consumers

Shouldn't consumers get to decide for THEMSELVES what's a valuable service to them? The point of the spam debate isn't over whether your business is legitamite or not, it's over the question of who should initiate a transaction. There are a few companies I choose to receive information from that I have specifically told them to send, but I have no desire to receive information from you or your company.

Hypothetically, how would you feel if 20 to 30 people rang your doorbell every evening to tell you all about the wonderful widgimigadget they're selling? It's not hard to receive that many spam mails in an evening, even if you've been careful with your email address.

Re:This is absurd! (2)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 13 years ago | (#287907)

Well, if you're sending mail to people who have already bought from you and indicated they want more news and info from you, you aren't a spammer. However, it sounds more like you're sending mail to people who haven't bought anything from you, attempting to convince them to become customers, whether they've asked for you to contact them or not. Which is the definition of a spammer. Note that spamming until they ask you to stop is still spamming, so the 'reply to get off my list' doesn't change things one bit. Especially seeing as the laws usually used to justify that have never been signed into law.

So, flat-out: do you send mail to people who haven't contacted you first asking for you to send them information and/or news?

Re:Is headhunting spam? (2)

Skapare (16644) | more than 13 years ago | (#287908)

Now what if every laboratory that hired students in the whole Uni did this. Then the mailboxes really would get clogged up.

One problem aspect to spam is that it does not scale up. If only 1 million people sent everyone just 1 piece of spam each year, that would still be nearly 2 pieces of spam coming into your mailbox every minute, on average. And don't expect it to be arriving spread out over time like that. This is not something that can ever be universally adopted. Even now it's only a handful of people doing it.

Re:The Market for Spam Filtering (2)

Skapare (16644) | more than 13 years ago | (#287909)

Lots of people do have various means they have implemented for themselves to block spam. I do. And I have to do it carefully because I actually get some email announcements from various companies I do business with, and I'm glad to get them, such as the place I've ordered CDs from.

Some of the strongest methods to block spam is to block relayers. Legitimate mass-mailers don't use relaying. I subscribe to MAPS and my spam load went down quite a lot. New relayers are popping up fast (mostly with pirated obsolete copies of Exchange Server), so I have supplemented MAPS by blocking ALL of China (including Hong Kong) and Korea, and am considering the same for Taiwan and maybe even Japan (will have to make exception for a little bit of legit mail I get from there) as the level of relaying there is rising.

Re:Dave Ritz = Crying fuck-nut (3)

Skapare (16644) | more than 13 years ago | (#287913)

If Usenet is so dead, why is your company still running Usenet servers?

Re:This is absurd! (1)

the_tsi (19767) | more than 13 years ago | (#287915)

As long as you send from a legitimate address and actually RESPOND to remove requests, keep it up. Good luck, more power to you. But as soon as anyone sends me their marketing stuff from abc981723897@yahoo.com, they go on my shit list. :)

-Chris
...More Powerful than Otto Preminger...

Re:It's quite simple (1)

Lesson1 (21801) | more than 13 years ago | (#287916)

Great Idea.

Doesn't work in practice so well. Some of my freinds don't know how to BCC anybody. I can't tell you how many time I've ended up on a spam list because of email being forwarded a few hundred times.

When I called the "friend" to complain he told me in a haught,y sarcastic voice: "I didn't know that your email wasn't public"

People are just idiots!!

Re:This is absurd! (1)

dvicci (22294) | more than 13 years ago | (#287917)

You're missing the point. They have to download and read it to know how to unsubscribe, yes? You are sending e'mail to people who are potentially having to pay for it on a per-e'mail basis. People who have to pay for storage, or time on-line, or bandwidth are PAYING SOMEONE FOR YOU TO SEND THEM E'MAIL. It does not matter WHERE you get the addresses. It does not matter HOW you get the addresses. The point remains that you are forcing people to pay so they can read and then delete your spam.

What the sort of business model is it to force potential customers to pay for advertisements to services that 99% of the time have ZERO relevance to their lives?! Don't feed me that "you pay for television commercials" crap, either. The fact that we pay for television service, which happens to come with advertisements as well is NOT a valid comparison. We pay a flat fee for television service, commercials or no. However, with e'mail spam, if we pay for bandwidth, storage, or time on-line, we most certainly DO pay extra for e'mail spam.

Re:This is absurd! (1)

DeathBunny (24311) | more than 13 years ago | (#287918)

>I would be unable to support my wife and kids if >it weren't for the business I gain through e-mail

I'm sure most buggers and burlgars would use the same argument. The fact is that what you are doing *IS* wrong, and moreover, *IS* F*CKING ANNOYING!!!

I'm sure most of the slashdot community will agree with me that we are sick and tired of slogging through dozens of adds for shit we aren't interested in and have NEVER asked for information about!

Feature? (3)

schon (31600) | more than 13 years ago | (#287920)

From the article:

Spam is one of those features of modern life, like infomercials and telemarketers, for which almost no one has a good word

It's not a feature, it's a bug. :o)

Re:It's quite simple (2)

bracher (33965) | more than 13 years ago | (#287921)

actually, it can be a bit simpler than that... if you use qmail as the mail server for your domain, then everything up to '-' is evaluated as an address for delivery. I routinely give

from-[NameOfCompany]@[mydomain]

as my email address when I'm forced to register. all such mail is then delivered to from@[mydomain] by qmail. the advantage here is you aren't creating a million aliases to keep track of; and it is _very_ easy to see who sold my name to whom.

- mark

Re:This is absurd! (2)

Steve B (42864) | more than 13 years ago | (#287923)

I harvest potential contacts from public forums.

Thanks for the confession, thief.
/.

Re:Is headhunting spam? (2)

GoofyBoy (44399) | more than 13 years ago | (#287924)


Its from the university to the same university, right?

It would appear that the professor, as an employee, is using his "company's" resources. Ask your system admin if its ok or if there is alternatives.

Re:Tackhead is a little whining bitch (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 13 years ago | (#287926)

Mod this guy up...I think he's come up with a great real-life analogy to describe spam to people not familiar with the internet (but nonetheless still use it):

Spam: It's like a collect call you cannot refuse.

Re:This is absurd! (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 13 years ago | (#287928)

I'm sure the LA Times is highly biased against all kinds of petty thefts.

If you're a legitimate businessman, then buy your advertising, don't steal it from me and my ISP.

-jcr

Who cares where you're collecting the addresses? (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 13 years ago | (#287929)

I don't give a flying fuck if you're getting addresses from USENET, chat rooms, or buying them from other bottom-feeding asswipes like yourself.

My mail queue is my property, not yours. I'm sure you'd love to break into my house and paint a billboard on my living room wall, too, but I'd kick your ass if you tried it.

This is not a freedom of speech issue, it's a property rights issue, and stealing your advertising placements doesn't become legitimate just because you give out an address where people can send you a note confirming that their address is live.

-jcr

Re:This is absurd! (1)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 13 years ago | (#287930)

> I'm not going to rise to the obvious troll,

Actually, what makes his troll so brilliant is that those of us who whack spammer nads on a regular basis have seen spammers using his rhetoric. It's what most spammers really think.

Basically, it's close enough that it passes the Troll Turing Test, in that it's indistinguishable from the real thing.

Of course, if he stuck in markers that identified it as a troll, (e.g. first letter of every sentence spells TROLL, or AYBABTU), then he'd get bonus trollin' points for style - in that it was distinguishable from a "real spammer", but none of us picked up on it.

Re:Hmm... (3)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 13 years ago | (#287936)

> I've found a rather neat little thing to keep spam from bothering me too much. It's called the Delete key. Trust me, it works.

I think my "delete" key is broken. It seems to be hooked up to my brain, which views and parses the headers of the spam, and forwards a report to the abuse administrator at the spammer's ISP.

For most ISPs, the spammer's account is then deleted. I'm sure that's not what you meant to suggest I do, but it seems to work for me.

Re:This is absurd! (5)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 13 years ago | (#287937)

>I run a legitimate multi-level internet business,

This is NOT MLM! This is NOT a scam! It's 100% legal! The guy who spammed me and suckered me into it TOLD ME SO! Really!

> I think that digital solicitations provide a valuable service to consumers

If you were subsidizing my email account, you'd be entitled to spam the bejeezus out of it. But you're not. I'm the owner of my server, and I decide what's a valuable service and what's not. Not you. Because it's not yours.

When you pay for my server - or if I'm in Europe, my per-minute-local-calls, or if I'm in the US and reading it on a cellphone, my cell phone bill, or if I'm an ISP, the bill for the 30% capacity I have to add to /var/mail and /usr/spool/news that's currently taken up by spam - then, and only then, do you have a right to advertise on my hardware.

> Please, I urge you, give us a break, we're just trying to get by the only way we know how.

On the very slim chance that you're not a troll:

If the only way you know how to make a living is by stealing the resources of others, I hope you either (a) learn another way of making a living, or (b) starve to death.

Theft is not a viable business model. Until you've learned that, please fuck off. Fuck off, stay fucked off, and don't come back until you've finished fucking off.

Re:It's quite simple (2)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 13 years ago | (#287938)

That doesn't always work. I recently got a vanity domain. Soon after that, I started getting e-mail addressed to "MyFirstName@MyLastName.net" before ever sending e-mail out!

Spammers have tricks where if they seem you use something like (John SMith) jsmith@aol.com, they'll try "jsmith@att.net", "jsmith@earthlink.net", "john@smith.com", etc.

Re:This is absurd! (2)

po_boy (69692) | more than 13 years ago | (#287939)

UltraBot2K1: why don't you provide an email address in your /. profile?

Re:This is absurd! (1)

gclef (96311) | more than 13 years ago | (#287955)

Again, I fully abide by all rules and regulations against SPAM, and provide an unsubscribe option to all mailings.

I'm not going to rise to the obvious troll, but this reminds me of a question that's been bugging me for a while: why do the suit-types (and, often, spammers) think that spam is an acronym? I can almost always tell a suit/spammer from a tech by how they capitalize "spam." If it's all caps, they don't know what they're talking about.

Of course, if it actually *is* an acronym, I'm probably about to get flamed.....

Re:This is absurd! (1)

BradleyUffner (103496) | more than 13 years ago | (#287956)

It's quite simple. If you don't send spam then you are not a spammer. Spam to me is email that advertises something from a company that I never asked to recieve. If I go to your web page and sign up for a news letter and then you send me one every week that isn't spam. But if you buy a list of email addresses and my name happens to be on it, and I never asked you to send me an advertisment well then, that's spam to me. At least that is the way I feel about it.
=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\= \=\=\

Re:It's quite simple (1)

crivens (112213) | more than 13 years ago | (#287961)

No it isn't. This might be my own stupid fault for using Hotmail, but I have a hotmail account that I haven't give out to anyone or any site. But still I get SPAM.

Re:It's quite simple (1)

paulschreiber (113681) | more than 13 years ago | (#287962)

I do this, and I have received spam from slashdot and ebay, so i deleted the slashdot alias.

ironic, no?

Paul

Re:It's quite simple (1)

alleria (144919) | more than 13 years ago | (#287978)

Slashdot, besides being read by the trolls, is also read by a bunch of fairly well-to-do individuals. Prime target for an automatic reaping bot to come and harvest email addresses, which is why people here tend to obfuscate theirs in a way that fools the 'bots.

Spam filter (2)

don_carnage (145494) | more than 13 years ago | (#287979)

For me, a simple spam filter did the trick. I just wrote a Perl proggy that deflected any mail that was not directly addressed to me and installed it as a procmail filter. [zap] no more spam.

I do ocassionally get spam sent directly to my email address and I have had a couple of mailing lists bounced, but it's just a matter of adjusting the block file. (Oh, and no one has threatened my life or stollen my credit card numbers for it either.)

--

Re:This is absurd! (2)

don_carnage (145494) | more than 13 years ago | (#287980)

Heh -- let me know your domain name so that I can add you to my block list. :^)

Seriously, though: If you're sending email out to people whom which you have done business with in the past or people that have signed up for your mailings, then I'm OK with it. However, if you "obtain" a list of email addresses from an "online marketing organization" you're clearly in the wrong. I mean, you do realize that most of those addresses are harvested from websites (like /.) and newsgroups and chain letters, right? You really think those people want to receive your junk mail in their inboxes?

Opt-IN is a far better approach than Opt-OUT.

--

Re:Spam filter (2)

don_carnage (145494) | more than 13 years ago | (#287981)

Oh yeah...and here's an example of the block file: block.conf [dnsalias.com]

--

Re:This is absurd! (2)

don_carnage (145494) | more than 13 years ago | (#287982)

Heh -- nice troll, btw.

No one gives two shits about the option to unsubscribe. Usually, it's a hijacked account (of someone you hate), or a URL to a pr0n site.

--

Re:Spam filter (4)

don_carnage (145494) | more than 13 years ago | (#287983)

Stupid gay lameness filter.

You're just going to have to go here: spamfilter.txt [dnsalias.com]

--

Dear Slashdot reader... (2)

tomzyk (158497) | more than 13 years ago | (#287986)

I would like to inform you of an increasing problem with our society lately... it is called SPAM [latimes.com] .

...
yadda yadda yadda... more text and hyperlinks...
even a link to "Remove you from our mailing list" (which actually just adds you to 3 other newsletters/mailing lists that you don't want)...
...

Thank you for your time.
PS. If you don't send this to 30 people within the next 5 minutes, you will have bad luck for the rest of your life.

Re:Spam, Forwards, and Luck messages (2)

Misch (158807) | more than 13 years ago | (#287987)

This is what I send back if some idiot sends one of those to me. http://www.kith.org/logos/things/chain.html

You contradict yourself (1)

tykay (165793) | more than 13 years ago | (#287989)

...legitimate multi-level internet business...

Isn't that a contradiction in terms? Legitimate and MLM would seem to be mutually exclusive.

Re:It's quite simple (1)

jargoone (166102) | more than 13 years ago | (#287990)

(they have french spam??)

Sure. It's called Le Spam. There's even a website [lespam.com] , though it appears to be free of content. But at least they're running Apache.

Re:It's quite simple (1)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 13 years ago | (#287995)

Give me 5 minutes and I can write a script that d/l's a slashdot discussion and pulls out all the email addresses. A side thought to my original idea would be to not "announce" your email address. Either don't put it up at all or somehow spam-proof your name (and using the word "spam" isn't good, cause I can filter that out in an extra 10 seconds).

Put yourself in the mindset of someone grabbing email addys with a script. How can I make an address that the common person can figure out, yet be complex enough to dodge simple filters... Keep this in mind if you have an email addy that will be displayed in the public eye.

Re:It's quite simple (5)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 13 years ago | (#287996)

Here's something useful if you have your own domain with unlimited aliases:
Put the name of the website as the name of the email. For example:
slashdot.org@mydomain.com
Filter it in your favorite email reader, and when you are tremendously bored you can go through your trash folder see what websites sold your name to spammers...

Re:It's quite simple (1)

Fat Rat Bastard (170520) | more than 13 years ago | (#287999)

... and scream at your friends when they give you're name to some goober outfit like iWon ;)

If you don't have anything nice to say, say it often.

Re:It's quite simple (1)

Fat Rat Bastard (170520) | more than 13 years ago | (#288000)

you're = your

Doh... grammatically challenged today.

If you don't have anything nice to say, say it often.

The one way to get a man up in arms... (4)

lamasquerade (172547) | more than 13 years ago | (#288001)

Ritz, a frequenter of Usenet groups where erotic images were traded as digital files, took the deluge of porn spam personally. "My enjoyment was being interfered with," he says. "The spam got out of hand and I felt I had to take action."

An ordinary man. They took his porn. Now he wants revenge.

Re:This is absurd! (2)

jehuni (175194) | more than 13 years ago | (#288006)

Legend has it that it is actually an acronym: SPAM = SPiced hAM. Of course, the official line from Hormel is that it's just a made-up word.

In fact, Hormel has this to say about spelling "SPAM" in all caps:

We do not object to use of this slang term to describe UCE [unsolicited commercial email], although we do object to the use of our product image in association with that term. Also, if the term is to be used, it should be used in all lower-case letters to distinguish it from our trademark SPAM, which should be used with all uppercase letters.

You can read their full statement at http://www.spam.com/ci/ci_in.htm [spam.com] .

jehuni

The curse of Shannon V. Puls lives on (2)

djve (191622) | more than 13 years ago | (#288013)

I don't have a complaint with UCE/spam when they really do honour unsubscribe requests or have legitimate headers that allow me to contact the people and have my details removed.

I really hate forged headers as it takes time to cross-reference and check the real routing details. And if you can easily get make a spelling error, the spam sites use close approximations of well know sites.

And that is what really pisses me off about Puls. Forged headers and bogus unsubscribe details. I think people like him are a bane to society. They chew up bandwith with rubbish I don't want to see and there is no way to get off thier list. If I want to by something I'll do a search for it and I make sure not to use companies that use spam to spread their message.

Using a private and public email addresses only works until your private one is accidentally made public. It happens all the time. So I now fight to try and keep my private one clean of spam. The many good sites have removed me.

Obviously I still get crap from Puls. His treatment of people make me wish he has a long, slow degenerative illness resulting in his demise. With my luck he'll live to 1024.

djve

Re:This is absurd! (1)

stevephil (193688) | more than 13 years ago | (#288014)

This practice is total bullshit. People should only be sent spam who has previously asked for it. You should have to "OPT-IN" not out. Spammers should be declared fair game with a bounty on their heads. Just like telemarketers bottom feeding scum with attitudes like yours no wonder people want to see you go down. If you need to feed your family get a real job like the rest of us....

Re:This is absurd! (1)

OverCode@work (196386) | more than 13 years ago | (#288015)

Messages sent in compliance with e-mail regulations are not a problem; they're easy to filter out, and I never see most of them (nor do I want to). But these account for a minority of the junk mail I receive on my several e-mail accounts.

A random sampling of subject headings from the crap I've received over the past few days (from my Spam folder):

"Triggers POWERFUL sexual responses"
"You decide 9089"
"Time to refinance"
"Your saving is here 27514"
"You deserve a vacation now______"
"Make the right choice 3703"

All of these were sent from addresses that appear to be randomly generated (frequently from Japan). Do I have any reason to believe that the unsubscribe address is actually valid? I've received about 40 such messages in the past week.

This is why spam has (and deserves) a bad name. I argue that the majority of unsolicited commercial e-mail not sent in accordance with any guidelines. Isn't it actually illegal to spoof your return address through someone else's mail server?

There are some days when I seriously want to punch the bastard who sent the most recent round of junk mail. You (UltraBot2K1) are not the sort of person I'd be upset with -- I really don't mind the stuff clearly marked with ADV: and with a valid unsubscribe address (I just filter it out).

I live on a college campus (Georgia Tech), and I am inundated with marketing every day. One company (TribHub.com -- THEY SUCK, DON'T USE THEM) actually posted flyers in the dorm restrooms, even though GT housing is marked No Solicitation. BigWords.com (THEY ALSO SUCK, AND THEY'RE NOW OUT OF BUSINESS) was almost as obnoxious, but they at least didn't break laws in the process.

Allright, back to cleaning my inbox.

-John

Re:This is absurd! (1)

OverCode@work (196386) | more than 13 years ago | (#288016)

Please count this as notice to not send unsolicited mail to my address. Thanks.

-John

Re:It's quite simple (1)

guinsu (198732) | more than 13 years ago | (#288020)

This isn't funny, its incredibly useful, I've started doing it all the time.

Re:Dave Ritz = Crying fuck-nut (1)

guinsu (198732) | more than 13 years ago | (#288021)

The reason usenet is dead/dying is because of spam however. Its a shame, on the whole I like newsgroups better than web message boards.

Re:This is absurd! (1)

guinsu (198732) | more than 13 years ago | (#288022)

btw, i think your analogy sucks. i think it would be more akin to every business owner in the city calling you on the telephone to tell you about the great deals they have. eventually you dread answering the phone because you know it's just going to be more crap to waste your time. THAT is what spam is akin to.

Gee, I'm glad no businesses in the USA ever resort to tactics like that to sell their products.

Re:Is headhunting spam? (1)

Peter Dyck (201979) | more than 13 years ago | (#288023)

Well, the "select group" was approx. 10000 students and university staff members combined.

Is headhunting spam? (4)

Peter Dyck (201979) | more than 13 years ago | (#288024)

As the one responsible for hiring new students into our laboratory, I was asked by my professor to get a list of student's e-mail addresses and start mass mailing them with information about our laboratory and available jobs.

To me this sounded a lot like spamming and I refused to do it. The professor didn't agree with my opinion, but since he saw that it was a question of principle to me he let it go -- for the moment at least.

It's unbelievably hard to convince people who don't have their e-mail box clogged by spam (he's got a secretary who goes through the mail first) that spam is a real problem.

Re:The Market for Spam Filtering (1)

feorlen (214880) | more than 13 years ago | (#288028)

>People in my neighborhood deal with calls by
>subscribing to a service with the phone company
>to only let phone calls through that are
>identifiable

Yes, I have caller id. I was forced to get it last time I moved and was assigned a recycled phone number. Every telemarketer on the planet has it. I get 10 or 12 calls a day and they are all junk. And this is *after* subscribing to Private Citizen's anti-telemarketer service. Of the calls I have answered, nearly all are actionable under federal law for automated messages (always with no identification) or outside approved time period.

I pay a lot of money every month for caller id just so I can identify the one call per week from someone I want to talk to. It's like a protection racket.

The only reason I have a phone line is for outgoing calls and to be able to get DSL. I don't answer it unless I happen to be sitting next to the phone and I can see that it is someone I want to talk to. That happens about once every other month at most. If not for DSL, I would not have a wireline phone. If more of my friends would actually respond to their email, I might not even have any phone at all.

Email makes the 'net go round. Kill email, and you kill the Internet. Spam is killing email.

Re:This is absurd! (1)

tigrrl (219188) | more than 13 years ago | (#288031)

Spam is like weeds. If you want it, or find it interesting, it isn't Spam.

I get regular e-mailings from RedHat, American Airlines, and a couple of other enterprises I do business with regularly. This is not Spam. It's solicited advertisements. OTOH, I get ads for pornography, get-rich-quick schemes, pyramid schemes, cars, magazines, other merchandise, and indecipherable crap from Asian addresses. I do not want any of this stuff. It is Spam. It shows up in my box because someone harvested my e-mail address from Usenet or god-only-knows where.

Are you a responsible e-mail marketer? Do you offer recipients a way to get their name off your list? Does you return address resolve? Do you get your names from a reliable source? Can you assume that the members of the recipient list are likely to have some interest in your products? If so, then GREAT! You aren't a member of the group that is being maligned in the article, and you shouldn't take it personally.

Larting spammers (1)

Darth RadaR (221648) | more than 13 years ago | (#288032)

For the most part, chasing after spammers is a waste of time. Just filtre it out with a script.
But on occasion, I get in a bad mood and decide that it's time for a lart.

Usually a lot of spammers will have their originating machine & e-mail address spoofed, but
they will have some sort of "Reply to" address on one of the many free web-based e-mail services.
Granted, you'll rarely catch spammers, but it does give a bit of satisfaction when you do this...

$mail spam-meister@yahoo.com < core

...a few hundred times and fill up those 6 megs of email space real quick.
(And cheating them out of any business, which they don't deserve.)

Re:Spam filter (1)

Zeus72 (228822) | more than 13 years ago | (#288035)

Post it!

Re:The Market for Spam Filtering (1)

bmongar (230600) | more than 13 years ago | (#288037)

Try Spamcop [spamcop.net] it seems to work pretty well.

Re:It's quite simple (1)

omnirealm (244599) | more than 13 years ago | (#288045)

That works... until your family members give out the Email addresses of all their family members to the first site that asks for it...

The Market for Spam Filtering (2)

omnirealm (244599) | more than 13 years ago | (#288046)

Due to the complexities involved with international law, legislation on this issue can never really be effective. I believe the best way to deal with the problem to be at the level of the individual. People should proactively adopt a method to protect themselves from spam. Telemarketers have been with us for a while. People in my neighborhood deal with calls by subscribing to a service with the phone company to only let phone calls through that are identifiable (caller ID works).

For those calls that don't have an ID, a recorded message informs telemarketers to remove the number from their list, and then the system asks for the person to give his name. The system informs the resident being called what that name is, and then the receiver can decide whether or not to take the call. It can be a little annoying for those who are calling from a number that can't be identified, but by and large, it is effective.

I see a market for Email providers that automatically blocks spam. I would be willing to pay $5 a month to have an Email account that is largely spam-free. Or, I would be willing to pay an ISP $5 a month that provided spam-free Email service. The revenues that the subscribers pay would help maintain the software that would effectively block the spam (this includes paying for ongoing research to defend against the eventual loopholes that spammers will find in any such system).

People will pay for effective virus protection. People keep paying for updates as virus writers find ways around the virus protection software. If spam is as annoying as everyone says it is, why aren't they paying up for services such as these?

Re:fp (1)

samrolken (246301) | more than 13 years ago | (#288047)

I really hate FP people... even worse are the people that say FP when they are indeed not.

Re:Goddess (1)

samrolken (246301) | more than 13 years ago | (#288048)

get counseling man

Re:Hmm... (3)

fmaxwell (249001) | more than 13 years ago | (#288050)

So, does the "Delete key" also reduce your ISP bills -- which are higher as a result of spam? Does it prevent small businesses from being inundated with complaints when some spammer uses their domain as his fake from: address?

I have a friend who had a support address for his clients. If they put "URGENT" into the subject, his pager went off. It went off at about 3:00AM because of some spammer's "URGENT" message. Would your delete key have prevented that?

Get a clue. Spam is a problem that needs to be eliminated, not just ignored.

Re:It's quite simple (1)

Rosonowski (250492) | more than 13 years ago | (#288051)

No kidding. I cannot count the number of times that I've told them that they shouldn't put me in anything that even resembles a 'tell your freinds' box, and they just go and do it anyways.

More power. (3)

ImaLamer (260199) | more than 13 years ago | (#288054)

If the guy wants to take things into his own hands that is all good, but the guy sounds like a pest.

He's kinda like copyright.net's system of asking sysops to block access to users and what not. These sites, MSN and Yahoo (excite and so on..._ are the ones to blame, but I doubt they are going to start watching their e-mail servers closer.

These services, MSN (or hotmail) for example is horrible for keeping people from abusing it's system. One reason I suspect is that MSN makes money from every visit a spammer may make to send their messages; that is of course if the user is visiting the site to do it and not just using open ports in pop servers. Why would they start working to block visiters?

Plus these free sites have so many 'customers' that I doubt they even have time to block this stuff. I doubt people even use the same username twice. Chances are they don't care about the abuse because once the message is passed on, they aren't affected. (unless you get a lot of responses or bounced e-mails - disk space could fill up)

If users are abusing the systems by using open ports or what not - what chance do I have that a spammer would use my computer to spam out a message? I've noticed after installing Suse, Caldera and Mandrake (maybe Redhat too, it only stayed on for about an hour) that a pop3 server was started with the default system setup.

I, being a good linux user, noticed that I didn't know about the security of it and turned it off until I learned more.

Should I worry?

---if these sysops knew anything would they work for msn?---

Spam, Forwards, and Luck messages (1)

UF_Fan (264246) | more than 13 years ago | (#288059)

It's just intresting how about 80% of all e-mail is either Spam, Those realy long forwards that you hate to read because they have like 800 forward headers, or those stupid messages where you read somthing kinda cute but at the end is some sort of "If you do not e-mail this in x minutes you will have bad luck/be unproductive in bed/not see the special treat/not get a $20 gift certificate to Old Navy/not share the love of god"
Frankly I've had to create Five e-mail accounts just to deal with all of this extraneous junk. It's to the point that I'm probably going to have to create a couple more accounts just to filter the garbage that I get from slashdot and userfriendly.
Fight against the garbage and help the ones who have yet to see the light.

Re:It's quite simple (2)

popular (301484) | more than 13 years ago | (#288063)

For the rest of us, there's sneakemail [sneakemail.com] ...

--

Re:fp (1)

1+1trouble (302912) | more than 13 years ago | (#288064)

Sometimes hatred is a difficult thing to aviod feeling. But it's definitely worth your time to learn how to cultivate love and compassion. This site [wordismind.net] maybe answer some questions, and help to lead you on a more righteous path in the future. Good Luck!

Re:More power. (2)

cavemanf16 (303184) | more than 13 years ago | (#288065)

Some sites are actually TOO good at blocking. DSM.org [dsm.org] notes on the front page of their site that their mailing list (which you have to request to have sent to you) gets bounced by AOL for being 'spam'. Apparently AOL doesn't follow normal email conventions and rules in an attempt to 'help' the average retard Joe Schmoe that just got on the 'net.

Re:Spam costs in many ways (2)

Hormonal (304038) | more than 13 years ago | (#288069)

Yeah, I saw that article, too, but I refrained from quoting,since it's not my style, and I think that although it definitely costs a lot of money, I sure as hell wouldn't want to try to put a price tag on it. I think the results of any poll like that are highly subjective, but it provides backup for my case, so I'll take it. Thanks.

Spam costs in many ways (5)

Hormonal (304038) | more than 13 years ago | (#288070)

I see a lot of people here defending spam, which is fine. You have a right to your opinion, no matter how wrong it is. Unfortunately, most people are looking at this from a somewhat U.S.-centric point of view, which allows them to overlook the real cost of spam.

First of all, it's an annoyance. I have to set up filters to get rid of what I can, delete what gets through the filters, and wait for it to d/l from the server (this would be a bigger deal if I was on a modem, rather than cable.) I go to great pains to make sure I get very little spam in my main inbox, by putting noone@nowhere.com in every damn e-mail box I fill out on the internet, unless I really trust the vendor. Friends and family get a second, not-so-important e-mail account to send to, and they get my real address after they show me they're not imbeciles. I shouldn't have to screen people like this, but I do, just to avoid spam.

Secondly, the main reason spammers get put in jail or otherwise reprimanded is because they send out such huge amounts of spam, they crash someone's server, and that someone gets pissed. Even though my cable modem is $50/month regardless of how much spam I get, spam costs someone money, in terms of downtime and misused resources.

Finally, I know that some people pay for their internet connections based on the amount of data transferred (this is for regular consumers, too, in some countries), and if I got charged a flat rate per byte (kilobyte, whatever), I'd be really pissed if every time I checked my mail, I got spam in addition to my real mail. A lot of newbies are probably getting these kind of accounts, and are ending up paying double or triple what they would pay if their inboxes were spam-free.

Spam has real costs, which can be expressed in terms of real dollars, not just in terms of wasted time. It's unfortunate that spammers can send for free. If they had to pay for postage out of their pocket, I think we'd see a lot less of it. I am all for getting spammers to quit.

When we want your service, we will ask for it. (2)

Anonymous Admin (304403) | more than 13 years ago | (#288071)

legitimate multilevel marketing? It is interesting to note that while you are all in favor of spam, (legalized spam of course), you provide no email address for us to forward ours to. I personally return all spam to sender, and try to make sure their inbox has plenty of copies of my "remove notice". while [ 1 ];do mail -s "remove Anonymous_Admin@blah.net from your list" spammer@spam.org ;done

Re:This is absurd! (1)

dossen (306388) | more than 13 years ago | (#288072)

well... at least they don't call collect!

Taking your advice (5)

banuaba (308937) | more than 13 years ago | (#288080)

Under crotherm's advice, "This would a great article to pass along to those less knowledgable about SPAM and those that fight against it", I have 'passed' this article along to every distribution list at my place of employment, most of the newsgroups on Usenet, and I modified an IRC bot to post the URL in all of the channels on EfNet, DALNet and Openprojects.

Thanks for your help and support in the fight against spam.


Brant

Re:This is absurd! (1)

Robert A. Heinlein (315073) | more than 13 years ago | (#288084)

You forgot the sarcasm tag.

Re:It's quite simple (1)

Robert A. Heinlein (315073) | more than 13 years ago | (#288085)

Unfortunately more than a couple of sites that offer you something for your email address will not accept addresses in the form

bwientze-companytag@the-dma.org

Spammers have some smarts and will often strip the tag meaning that bwientze@the-dma.org may receive spam.

Of course since bwientze@the-dma.org considers spam to be free speech he probably enjoys reading it and would never try and use that djb-ware or simillar tricks to avoid it.

Re:This is absurd! (1)

Robert A. Heinlein (315073) | more than 13 years ago | (#288086)

You forgot the 'I am a tard' tag.

No whitespace in tagnames dipshit. That would be treated as an italics.

Re:Spam filter (1)

sonofevil (316367) | more than 13 years ago | (#288087)

That's a great way to keep from having to see and/or manually delete spam in your personal box, sure. Another problem that spam gets attributed to -- bogging down servers as they work on trying to process massive amounts of e-mail -- won't be solved by scripts like this... the script might even contribute to this sort of thing, heh. Having said that, I do the same thing, so...

Re:This is absurd! (3)

superflex (318432) | more than 13 years ago | (#288088)

frankly i don't care if you run a legitimate business. i still don't want unsolicited email in my inbox. if i am already a customer of yours, then fine. i'm obviously already interested in your product. but, when i send my mother flowers on mother's day, it really pisses me off when within a week i'm getting spam for swedish penis enlargers, 0% mastercards, and "fabulous business opportunities". if i was interested in any of these things, i could find them on the net myself. i don't want you and 5 million other assholes sending email to me to tell me about it.

btw, i think your analogy sucks. i think it would be more akin to every business owner in the city calling you on the telephone to tell you about the great deals they have. eventually you dread answering the phone because you know it's just going to be more crap to waste your time. THAT is what spam is akin to.

I am confused, is Ritz a spammer? (1)

Kenny Austin (319525) | more than 13 years ago | (#288089)

"Ritz, a divorced former radio and recording engineer, pursues his campaign against Internet abuse out of a cluttered Milwaukee suburban apartment equipped with an ordinary dial-up Internet connection for his desktop computer. He sends out a constant stream of messages to dozens of freelance spam-cancelers and thousands of network administrators."

Am I the only one that finds this funny? Ritz sends out a constant stream of messages to thousands of people from his dail-up connection. I hope he has a static IP so someone can put him on MAPS.

This is absurd! (2)

UltraBot2K1 (320256) | more than 13 years ago | (#288090)

The LATimes article in the story seems to be highly biased against e-mail marketing. As an internet businessman, and entrepeneur, I frequently use bulk e-mail as a way of informing my customers about new products and specials. There is nothing immoral or dishonest about this practice, and I am in full compliance with US Congress e-mail regulations.

I think that digital solicitations provide a valuable service to consumers, and have been (unfairly) given a bad reputation. I run a legitimate multi-level internet business, and use bulk mailings as my primary method of solicitation. I would be unable to support my wife and kids if it weren't for the business I gain through e-mail. Again, I fully abide by all rules and regulations against SPAM, and provide an unsubscribe option to all mailings.

It is unfair to label all e-mail marketers as criminals just because of a few persons who have no respect for users privacy and bandwidth limitations. Some of us are honest businessmen who are just trying to make a living, and have been branded as low-lifes because of a few rogue SPAMmers.

This would be akin to calling all Linux users criminals. While I'm sure that a few Linux users are career criminals, the vast majority of Linux users are law-abiding citizens trying to avoid Monopolistic alternatives. Again, a few bad apples are giving an entire group a bad name. Please, I urge you, give us a break, we're just trying to get by the only way we know how.

Re:This is absurd! (2)

UltraBot2K1 (320256) | more than 13 years ago | (#288091)

I do not buy e-mail addresses from so called "online marketing organizations". I harvest potential contacts from public forums. Mainly chat rooms, usenet posts, and forums like Slashdot and Kuro5hin. I am well within my legal right in doing so, since you have chosen to make your e-mail address publicly available. As I have previously said, I always include an option to unsubscribe.

Re:It's quite simple (1)

Chakat (320875) | more than 13 years ago | (#288092)

Actually, they break it up at the plus because certain email programs (netscape is one, IIRC) use any info before the plus to route it to a specific email folder, so you can have for example funny_jokes+tod@somedomain.tld, and anything sent to that addy will be sent to the funny_jokes folder. Now, a lot of people give out their email , including some here at /., addy as trash+whatever_their_username_is, so that the spam goes straight into the bit bucket. So, the spammers, figuring that they are so SMRT, wipe off everything to the plus, and send the email to the general delivery addy.

Under some circumstances, though... (1)

CoachS (324092) | more than 13 years ago | (#288093)

My primary business e-mail account has to be out there in order for customers and such to reach me. I can keep a private account for friends and family, but my work account is still going to be filled with Spam.

We find that MAILSweeper for SMTP is an effective filtering tool that lets us filter on custom phrases "Get Rich Quick!!!" and other such so that most spam gets dumped into the turf directory rather than filling up our mailboxes.

-Coach-

I don't think you need to create the aliases (1)

CoachS (324092) | more than 13 years ago | (#288094)

I think the idea was that if you put the website as the e-mail user, when the spam arrives at your domain it's going to get bounced for an invalid address...but as the admin you'll get an NDR report that shows that an inbound message for that address was bounced. Hence you don't need to actually create the alias because you don't actually intend to accept the spam.

If I'm understanding his excellent suggestion correctly, of course.

-Coach-

SPAM == bad news (2)

nate1138 (325593) | more than 13 years ago | (#288101)

The one big problem that I have with spam, is the burden of cost. When someone sends out direct mail by snail mail, they have to pay for printing, postage, etc. The cost burden is on the sender. Bulk email, on the other hand, puts the cost burden on the person being marketed to. We all pay for spam in higher ISP costs, decreased available bandwidth, etc. This is wrong. If you want to market to me, don't make me pay for it. Besides that, alot of spammers use mail servers that have been left as open relays (which I believe M$ Exchange does by default). Why should these companies shoulder the burden of someone else who thinks that I just have to know about the latest, greates porn site.

Snail Mail Spam (2)

Grimtaash (325709) | more than 13 years ago | (#288102)

I've found that a very effective way to get rid of the snail mail spam that you regularly receive is to take the business reply envelopes and stuff them with anything that's heavy. Once they get tired of paying the postage on the brick you sent back to them, they'll stop sending you "Free Magazines!!!! (if you sell your soul to the Devil)" offers.

It's quite simple (3)

Tyler Eaves (344284) | more than 13 years ago | (#288103)

Keep one public account, to sign up for websites and the like. and then have one you just give to your friends/co-workers/family, etc

This isn't s SPAM problem. (2)

Sielvyn (413024) | more than 13 years ago | (#288106)

What we all refer as SPAM is in fact a technic believed to be effective by the marketing people. The problem here folks isn't SPAM, it's Marketing.

Yes marketing is an important part of a company's business strategy to sell its products, however, it has grown too much. Today we are flooded with marketing flicks everywhere.

Marketing, today, has become a NEGATIVE image of a product. You want proofs! You don't need any. This is just common sense, no super hot chick in a commercial flick is never gonna make me buy that really important product i need. More and more people just want plain QUALITY.

Bulk e-mail marketing campains DO NOT WORK. Don't give me bullshit with that. I've seen so many good Internet projects failed because they were based on e-mail marketing or banner marketing. These medium usually attract a good amount of users for a very short period of time. And that is why these Marketing strategies DO NOT WORK.

You know what most user do with your SPAM? They create an hotmail account and redirect all your marketing crap to it. They're not even READING your crap. Everyone knows these type of marketing e-mails are just crap.

Conclusion: Hell's crap,
just send your load of crap
directly to an hotmail crappy account
, let's say crap4387@hotmail.com.
If someone wants to read this load of crap,
the log/pass is crap ;)

Here goes one stone, two hits. he he
( Meant Microcrap and all Spammers. )

Evolving at the paste of the fastest, not the slowest.

Bounce it back - it might work. (1)

EvilStein (414640) | more than 13 years ago | (#288107)

MacOS X's "Mail.app" has a feature to bounce email as undeliverable. Sure, you still end up seeing the spam, but I've noticed a significant decrease in spam since I've been bouncing it all back.
Most of the spam that gets through to my other accounts came from the WhoIs info on my domains.
Oh, and I got stuff to "hostmaster@***.net" claiming that it had opted-in for spam. More proof that this opt-in stuff doesn't work as well as it's cracked up to be.

Re:This is absurd! (1)

Hilary Rosen (415151) | more than 13 years ago | (#288108)

Your metaphor is a little skewed. You are asking us to take the whole barrel of apples, even though there are no good apples in the top layer, and the whole thing stinks like a Jon Katz article on a hot day.

Of the 5 or 6 items of spam that arrive daily in my spam folder, there is none from "legitimate" businesses. No valid return addresses. None from businesses that I would consider dealing with. Your "make money slowly enough to be ligitimate" email gets lost with the dreck. So don't send it. The customers you get will be the ones who also want to lose 20lbs in 20 days
--

Re:Hmm... (1)

JanusZeal (443073) | more than 13 years ago | (#288111)

Doesn't it get monotonous after about the first fifty reports of spam sent out?

Re:Hmm... (1)

JanusZeal (443073) | more than 13 years ago | (#288112)

ISP bills higher as a result of spam? You mean to tell me your ISP charges you per email stored on their servers?

I'm tempted to respond with "Get a clue. Get a better ISP."

As for your friend, hasn't he ever considered turning his pager OFF before he goes to sleep?

Re:It's quite simple (1)

TwistedTR (443315) | more than 13 years ago | (#288117)

The theory of having two seperate email addresses is nice but the gray line is crossed when a family member goes and sends you an E-Card or something of the like from a site. If they are not paying attention, they fail to check the box about receiving more information about the site. Once that happens your screwed being all of these companies share their databases with each other. For example, I setup a 5th email account (having stopped using 4 of them because of spam) as a test I went to 2 ecard pages and just left everything defaul checked. When I woke up this morning already I have 4 email, 2 people telling me how easy it is to get rid of my debt. One "sexy" woman willing to share her webpage with me for a modest 29.99 fee, and one I cannot even read cause its in french (they have french spam??). I am really getting tired of this, but it seems there is little we can do.

Re:It's quite simple (1)

TwistedTR (443315) | more than 13 years ago | (#288118)

Thats not your fault, being MS fails to fix a known problem with hotmail, anyone can pull huge lists of accouts and just spam them.
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