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Receive Spam, Make Money!

CmdrTaco posted more than 12 years ago | from the make-money-slow dept.

Spam 275

Bud Dwyer writes "Wired is running the heartening story of Bennett Haselton, who was awarded $2000 from spammers under Washington state's anti-spam law. From the article: 'Spam fighters hope that if enough individuals take spammers to court, it could eventually drive the industry out of business. And, some savvy individuals could make some easy money along the way, and with a clear conscience, too.'"

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First Moist! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2698801)


Spammers in the US, sure (3, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 12 years ago | (#2698817)

About 70% of the spam I'm getting is offshore and a good percentage of that is in some language (probably chinese) which doesn't translate.

I'd love to take these weasels to court, since I'm getting about 30 spams a day and a one week vacation can result in lost email due to a clogged mailbox.

Procmail regex for Chinese encoding? (2)

swb (14022) | more than 12 years ago | (#2698892)

Is anyone familiar with the encoding used for Chinese (or at least how it displays in a Latin character set) to put together a regex that would catch most of these spams?

I get plenty that are obviously not in English and it seems there should be a (set of) regexs that could pretty reliably tag it as non-English and route it to /dev/null.

Re:Procmail regex for Chinese encoding? (3, Informative)

polymath69 (94161) | more than 12 years ago | (#2698941)

Actually yes. If you look for the fractional character (3/4), in my experience you'll catch most of these chinese-or-whatever-they-are spams.

(This is character 0xbe; it displays as 3/4 in my Solaris xterms. It may appear differently in other fonts or locales.)

Re:Procmail regex for Chinese encoding? (2)

Wolfier (94144) | more than 12 years ago | (#2699048)

Yes. I can read Chinese, and I know of a 2 byte character that describes a chinese email every time - much like the "a"/"an"/"the" articles in English. Put it in procmail - boom. ALL Chinese emails are gone. Although you have to have 2 filters, one for traditional and one for simplified.

Re:Procmail regex for Chinese encoding? (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 12 years ago | (#2698942)

Frequently the spam I get includes some URL which ends with .cn (China), so that's my guess. I never bring these things up in a browser, after one try, which yielded the on-screen equivilent of Times Square and gibberish.

I prefer a text-only preview of all incoming email and have been a happy user of The Bat, which does a nice job of allowing me to screen email without it launching nasty business behind the sceens (like some of the worms buried in html headers, an example can be found here [] )

Re:Spammers in the US, sure (1)

iiii (541004) | more than 12 years ago | (#2698938)

More likely it's Korean. I get tons of Korean spam.

Re:Spammers in the US, sure (3, Informative)

Binestar (28861) | more than 12 years ago | (#2699034)

I must say if you are having alot of problems with Spam and have procmail on your mail system you can use Spambouncer [] . It filters out Chinese, Korean, blacklists, and various other spamhosts easilly. Since November 29 when I rotated my procmail-log It has filtered:

10:49am (chrisf@borg) /home/chrisf (38) cat antispam/procmail-log | grep procmail-filtered |wc -l

messages. In that time I've received 2 spam's to my inbox. I don't know what I would do without it.

Re:Spammers in the US, sure (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 12 years ago | (#2699085)

Nice, but my email comes through an ISP who doesn't seem to recognise what a problem Spam is and don't provide any means to filter it on the way INTO my mailbox. Yeah, I know, I'll be changing to an new provider in a few months, when I go DSL and then it'll all be over. Still... there does seem to be a potential financial incentive to keep receiving this junk if I could sue in California.

Re:Spammers in the US, sure (1)

Binestar (28861) | more than 12 years ago | (#2699106)

If you have the ability to install a mail server of some sort on your local lan, use fetchmail with that, you can use spambouncer on that machine and use your workstation to pop to the mail server and have everything filtered on that end. Granted, you still pay any fees on the download of the spam, but it's a solution that might be workable if you have broadband or even want to setup a linux gateway with diald.

With spambouncer you can just have it add headers that you could filter on, and you would also be able to add headers using procmail to filter any mailing list mail you get.

If you get any significant amount of mail per day I can't stress enough the usefulness of procmail.

Again, might not be worth the effort to setup, but if you are like me and have had the same e-mail address for 6+ years, chances are you've managed to get on many mailing lists. =(

abuse (0)

bananaape (542919) | more than 12 years ago | (#2698822)

That could be easily abusable. I could try to do the same thing against all the people who have sent me emails telling me that Microsoft will give me 300 dollars if I forward the message to 30 people. Yeah... easy money.

How about junk snail mail? (1)

goatmon (259120) | more than 12 years ago | (#2698823)

Is there anyone we can sue for stuffing our street-side mailboxes with junk mail? After all, we do have to pay to have the trash taken away.

Re:How about junk snail mail? (1) (443482) | more than 12 years ago | (#2698860)

Just stuff it all in the postage-paid return envelope and drop it back in the mail.

Re:How about junk snail mail? (2)

glowingspleen (180814) | more than 12 years ago | (#2698925)

Actually, I have had a debate about that and came to the conclusion that you SHOULDN'T send back prepaid envelopes just to get back at bad companies.

Why not? Because you will hurt everyone eventually.

Not every ad mailing will be enjoyed by every receipient. But at the same time, there are occasional random mailings we all actually like to get. By mailing back prepaid envelopes empty (or full of junk), all you do is hurt the industry's profit margin. That won't mean less junk, it will mean less prepad envelopes, since that will be the easiest way for them to save money. And then you won't have prepaid envelopes for the stuff you actually want to send for.

Just throw them away or write to that giant clearinghouse to be taken off the main list.

Re:How about junk snail mail? (3, Interesting)

WinDoze (52234) | more than 12 years ago | (#2699023)

I find it works well for starting the fireplace. Just remove the little plastic window from the front of the envelope (you get good at just tearing the front of the envelope off real quick) and burn baby burn! I haven't bought any kindling yet this year. Seriously. It's effective, secure (I don't like throwing away credit card applications, etc.), and very satisfying.

Re:How about junk snail mail? (1)

ciscoeng (411359) | more than 12 years ago | (#2699081)

Probably not; but check out the Direct Marketing Association (google) and for a good start on limiting the junk mail.

Hmm I think i'd be.. (0, Offtopic)

saqmaster (522261) | more than 12 years ago | (#2698826)

... rich by now.

"If I had $1 for every *insert word here* i'd had.. i'd be rich by now.."

first spam (the meat) post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2698828)

Spam! Some Parts Are Meat!
It's good in a can!
It's good on sandwhiches!
It's fun to play with!

Lordy! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2698837)

What I wouldn't do for a clear conscience!

hmmm (5, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 12 years ago | (#2698839)

Probably won't be that easy to collect, especially if they didn't even show up in court. I'm just not sure the idea of driving the industry out of business is feasible; the vast majority of spam mail I get doesn't have a valid e-mail address. In fact, the vast majority of spam I get isn't really advertising. Most of it are just grifters trolling for victims, figuring if they send a million messages out, and get 3 marks, they'll make a profit.

Re:hmmm (4, Insightful)

Masem (1171) | more than 12 years ago | (#2698922)

The WA state law is NOT to prevent spammers from spamming, but to use truthful information in their spam as to whom they are, how they can be contacted, or how one can be removed from their spam lists, all which is consider consumer fraud (and thus why this bill has survived judcial scurtinity). If anything, this will simply force spammers to actually identify themselves and make it easier for people to remove themselves from their lists.

Also, from what I've read of the various cases, if you sue the spammers and they don't send anyone to court, that's contempt of court and can be considered jail time. So instead they send out someone, weakly plead their case, and lose, and write the $500 check. To them, that's chicken feed, but only because a bare handful of WA state citizens are using the process. If only 100 or 1,000 residents did this, the spammers might actually consider changing their methods instead of blinding accepting the penalty. As far as I've read, only one spam corp has fought this, and that was the case that validated the law's constitutionality.

Re:hmmm (2)

Violet Null (452694) | more than 12 years ago | (#2698972)

Well, if you assume that the company in question is actually selling something, and to actually sell something has some method in which they can be contacted or traced, then the collection problem becomes easier.

Records are kept of who pays for that 1-800 number, or who signed up for that AOL account, after all. Sure, you might not get 100% collection if these are fly-by-night operations, but you should get enough that others start thinking twice.

Re:hmmm (3, Informative)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 12 years ago | (#2698987)

"Probably won't be that easy to collect, especially if they didn't even show up in court."

If they fail to show up, they're found guilty by default. If they fail to pay, not only can you pass that info on to credit-reporting and background-check agencies but (if it's anything like a traffic ticket) a bench warrant is issued for their arrest (results of that vary depending on the state).

As an example I have a friend that was arrested in Florida for defaulting on debts in Virginia. The creditors filed suit in Virginia, he never showed, the court found him guilty, he got pulled over in Florida for some reason, and ended up spending the night in jail.

See, here's what I don't get.. (3, Informative)

jabber01 (225154) | more than 12 years ago | (#2699020)

If the spam doesn't have a valid email address, and doesn't provide any reliable contact information by which to track down the offenders, how can the spammers expect to hook anyone on their crap schemes?

After all, if it is just as difficult to chase down the spammer, as it is to try and take advantage of whatever they are offering..

I can see how this might work for some types of spam.. The 'hot stock tip' bit for example simply counts on someone out there buying a stock to drive up the price..

But when there's a product or service involved? Whom do you pay? And if you know whom to pay, you know whom to sue..

I get as much as a few dozen bits of spam each day at my 'public' address.. And these are the ones that I can't 'umbrella' filter by country, domain, etc.. Most of these are not even in English, or from the US.. Spam laws don't work in the areas most responsible for pumping out spam..

Sad waste of bandwith, tis all. And the spammers are counting on the fact that it is much easier to simply delete their crap than compile, research and file suit.

Re:hmmm (1)

MrFredBloggs (529276) | more than 12 years ago | (#2699069)

"the vast majority of spam mail I get doesn't have a valid e-mail address"

Isnt it possible to somehow see if an email has a valid adr, and if its not, just dump it?

How to guess (0)

nasogrumy (306555) | more than 12 years ago | (#2698840)

Ok, it is one case, but how to guess the best solution to get money or good deals or stuff for free as all these spammers use these keywords to get your attention.

page widening post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2698841)

Time to widen the page

<a href=Hi,.I'!.I' ositive.score!!.N'!.Ch eers.folks!,.the.common.American.pen is.bird.has.been.a.staple.of.every.American's.dail,.fried .penis.bird,, .diet, y.1870s,.Francis.Zefran.became.the.first.penis.bir,.OH..At.the.time,.not.m uch.was.known.of.the.penis.bird's.nutritional.valu e,.but.the.Penis.Bird.Ranch.changed.all.of.that..N ,' lab.found.many.interesting.things..First,.it.was.d iscovered.that.thepenis.bird.was.actually.semisent ient..Second,.the.scientists.found.that.the.meat.o,.vitamin.A,.v itamin.B,.and.calcium,,.cholestor ol,.and.sodium..Never.before.had.such.a.nutritious .meal.been.had.without.supplement.or.fortification ..The.scientists.of.the.lab.recommended.immediatel y.that.the.penis.bird.become.a.part.of.every.Ameri can'' s.usefulness.reached.president.Rutherford.B..Hayes ,.he.was.absolutely.ecstatic..You.see,.President.H, s.the.Hayes/Zefran.Penis.Bird.Consumption.Act..The .a.daily.meal,.most.important.of.which.was.the.req , y.for.Francis.Zefran's.Penis.Bird.Industries..The.,.t his.quickly.made.Francis.Zefran.into.the.richest.m's.inflation..Never.before tion.Act, rt..It.was.argued.that.the.act.was.unconstitutiona l.and.went.against.liberty.itself, tractors.tasted.delicious.penis.bird.meat.for.the. first.time,.they.immediately.dropped.their.cases.a has.ever.known,,.the.only.meats.p eople.ate.were.pork.and.beef..In.the.early.1970s,. though, reme.Court.finally.agreed,,.Section.II,.Penis.B ng.against.Penissoft,.a.recent.startup..Where.will,!></A>

Re:page widening post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2698886)

I smell a Slashcode bugfix heading this way! No wait... that's just jamie. Does he always smell like that? Ewww...

Thanks for pointing this out. All your base are belong to Slashcode.

Re:page widening post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2698978)

Thanks, fucktard. I had been reading /. at -1, enjoying the funny trolls and despairing at the just plain stupid ones, but thanks to your dumb ass I'm going back to God's comment limit, score=1.

I bet you've caused more people to ignore trolls, as well as the non-troll ACs who happen to have relevant things to say. So it's really only yourself that you've hurt.

Nice to hear (2)

KarmaBlackballed (222917) | more than 12 years ago | (#2698842)

But our laws do not usually reach outside our borders. As this gets more notice, less and less spam will originate from within countries that prosecute. But the spam will not diminish.

This is not the fix. But it is always nice to see a spammer lose what they love most: money!

Re:Nice to hear (3, Insightful)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 12 years ago | (#2698851)

US laws don't usually reach outside their borders? Perhaps you've heard of this little skirmish going on in Afganistan recently... Or perhaps a little law called the DMCA...

Re:Nice to hear (2)

Zigg (64962) | more than 12 years ago | (#2698884)

The war in Afghanistan has nothing to do with US law. It has to do with fanatics crashing planes into buildings and killing lots of people.

Your point about the DMCA is 100% accurate, though.

Re:Nice to hear (3, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 12 years ago | (#2699030)

  • The war in Afghanistan has nothing to do with US law. [context: the USA projecting laws globally]

Everything that the US government does has to do with US law. The 1973 War Act [] attempts to limit the President's ability to declare war, while also giving the option to pass a euphemistic "use of force" resolution rather than old fashioned (and honest) declaration of war. Bush followed the procedures of this Act under protest, as Presidents like to think that as Commander-in-Chief, they're not answerable to Congress. But he did follow them.

My point is actually that the Law is defined by Congress (50% of whom are members of the American Bar Association, so much for separation of powers), and they can pass any law they damn well like to allow the USA to project power - military or economic - across the world if it's convenient to them. If there was a political will, we could very easily re-define spammers as [h|c]rackers and have them punished anywhere in the world. Remember DeCCS?

Re:Nice to hear (1)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 12 years ago | (#2699044)

"The war in Afghanistan has nothing to do with US law. It has to do with fanatics crashing planes into buildings and killing lots of people."

That isn't against the law?

It's against the law, we had no other recourse, so we start up the war machine.

they do! (1)

karm13 (538402) | more than 12 years ago | (#2698883)

as far as i know, if a packet passes a US server with content illegal in the US, it's a matter for US courts.

scary, huh?

Now I'm Curious... (5, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 12 years ago | (#2698890)

I see these people winning in small claims courts against defendants in other states. How do they go about collecting the judgement, particularly if the out of state person/company just blows it off?

Possible new Spam trend:

To: (undisclosed recipients)
Subject: Make Big Money Suing Spammers!

Hi, Friend! Are you bothered by Spam clogging up your mailbox, hard drive and embarrassing you by it's content? Worry no more!

For $25 we'll show you how to get rich by suing spammers! Send payment to:

O. B. Laden
Cave #1248
Tora Bora

Act now, before it's too late!

Re:Nice to hear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2698937)

It is a good thing too that our laws dont get out of our borders. There are way too many laws the US has passed because they are paranoid.

Ah nuts.. (1)

MantridDronemaker (541253) | more than 12 years ago | (#2698843)

Ah nuts, and here I was happy that I rarely get any spam at all! Maybe two spams a day if that. Anyone actually get hundreds of spams or does that really happen all that often?

Guess I'd better start looking at more pr0n! :P

Re:Ah nuts.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2698974)

I've had about 12 e-mail accounts plus my BSD box and 100+ spam a day is really really easy to come by. Just sign up for a hotmail account. Ever since M$ went to using nt/2k servers Spammers have had a field day with almost any hotmail account. I was using yahoo as my primary, since they apply the RBL to any email but lately that hasn't been helping.
BTW pr0n has nothing to do with it. Although it might be all those cracking/emu sites I visit for educational/security reasons. And the fact that IE5 doesn't properly secure cookies in all versions. It could even be related to ad banners since they often track the url you came from which would (often) include the login name for your (web) e-mail account.

Re:Ah nuts.. (2, Interesting)

jon doh! (463271) | more than 12 years ago | (#2699063)

i've got a bunch of hotmail addresses i keep to use when i sign up for stuff. some of them haven't been given out yet though, and they still get 10-30 emails a day, all of which are spam.

Re:Ah nuts.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2699064)

Just downloaded my mail this morning, first time since 3 pm yesterday. In that 19 hours, I have 402 messages in my inbox and 35 messages that were moved to other folders with filters (Friends, work, family, etc). Now, there will probably be about 50 messages from ids telling me who's trying to get where on the servers. About 10% of what's left in my inbox after that will be valid mail. Having the same e-mail address for 7 or 8 years, back when you never had to worry about spam, will get you a whole lotta spam. If you did a search on my e-mail address, you'd find a ton of pages with it up there. A pity I can't change it, and can't use anything more then very basic filters for work reasons.

(Today seems not to be a normal day though, usually I only have about 200 or so messages.. Must be the holiday season)

So, how long.. (5, Funny)

kafka93 (243640) | more than 12 years ago | (#2698846)

.. until I start receiving a load of "received spam-mail? Make money NOW!" messages in my inbox?

First Blow Up Afghanistan then... (0, Troll)

toupsie (88295) | more than 12 years ago | (#2698857)

All my spam now seems to be coming from China according to SPAMCOP [] . What is the deal with this? Are the Chinese so clueless that the entire country runs as an open relay? Since I don't access any resources in China, feel free to pull the plug on them.

Re:First Blow Up Afghanistan then... (1, Offtopic)

Steve B (42864) | more than 12 years ago | (#2699047)

All my spam now seems to be coming from China

Thank you for having the courage to speak the truth about the brutal and tyrannical Chinese occupation of Tibet....

Re:First Blow Up Afghanistan then... (1)

toupsie (88295) | more than 12 years ago | (#2699079)


Re:First Blow Up Afghanistan then... (2)

bero-rh (98815) | more than 12 years ago | (#2699082) is indeed a major repeat spammer - this doesn't have anything to do with "all Chinese being clueless", though.

If you go the "Since one machine in China is a major spammer, all Chinese are clueless" route, don't forget to equate the US with AOL, and similar resources.

A problem with ISPs in China is that most Chinese people don't speak English (which, again, doesn't mean they're stupid - how many English speaking people speak Chinese?), so dropping the ISP a note saying "your user foo is sending spam" will be as understandable to some of them as spam in Chinese is to you.

The most interesting part of the article... (5, Informative)

Lostman (172654) | more than 12 years ago | (#2698862)

was where the guy gave a link to someone that shows others how to do this exact same thing. Try (unlinked for the goat weary).

He gave a form letter, even step by step directions on how to do this. Only thing was that you would have to be living in oregon unless your own state has fun laws like this. That does definately sound like fun.

Delaware (1)

kraut_juice (543076) | more than 12 years ago | (#2698865)

Does anyone know if any anti-spam case has been successfully won in the state of Delaware?

Sue your friends? (-1)

markjrubin (88076) | more than 12 years ago | (#2698870)

I wonder if I could sue my friends who get Outlook viruses and send me:

Spamcop (5, Informative)

soundlord (249389) | more than 12 years ago | (#2698872)

I realize that most of you probably already know about this, but I am going to mention it anyways: if you're having problems with spam, you should go to SpamCop [] . They have a free service that you can use to report spam to the necessary network administrators via parsing the headers of the spam mail. Simply save a bookmark that they give you, and when you receive spam mail, go to that book mark, paste in the whole text of the spam mail (including headers) and click a button.

I know that it's hard to keep spammers from doing what they're doing due to their using different email addresses and hosts each time they send out some spam mail. But I have found that by using SpamCop regularly, the spam mails eventually stop coming to my inbox. And whether this means that they've been taken out of business or they're removed me from their spam list due to my being a thorn in their side - well, either is good enough for me.

Re:Spamcop (2)

don_carnage (145494) | more than 12 years ago | (#2698908)

Can we forward spam email messages (with headers) directly to SpamCop instead of pasting? This would be easier to build into a procmail filter...

Re:Spamcop (2, Informative)

soundlord (249389) | more than 12 years ago | (#2698967)

You can forward spam messages [] to SpamCop, but in order to do that, you need to register [] for their service. However, I like to look at the statistics page [] of spam I am about to report, to make sure that I'm not sending spam report mail to anyone who doesn't deserve to get it (such as legitimate people who were unlucky enough to be involved in the headers somehow). That way, only the people who need to know about the spam get the SpamCop mail.

Re:Spamcop (3, Informative)

brassman (112558) | more than 12 years ago | (#2698998)

If you're running procmail, a kind soul posted a couple of Perl scripts here in Slashdot just a week or two ago that automate the process of Spamcop reporting.

That process is in two steps -- submitting, then reading the summary of what what Spamcop found and "pulling the trigger," and I wouldn't recommend automating both parts. Quite often Spamcop will respond that the offending ISP "doesn't care," or has already closed the offending account -- in those cases there's no point in tying up Spamcop's resources any further.

I try real hard to ignore spammers, but when one wiggles past my filters you'd better believe I invest the time to ruin his day.

Re:Spamcop (1)

MmmmJoel (26625) | more than 12 years ago | (#2699016)

I know it's available for paying members, although I'm not sure about people who use the free service.

Paying members can report spam as easily as clicking a hyperlink. Forward your email to your Spamcop address and Spamcop intelligently filters the spam from your inbox (using the information reported from both free and paying members) and allows the member to either delete, forward, or report the spam for you at the click of a button. And it's a cheap service! $.50/MB equals less than $15/year for me.

Re:Spamcop (2, Informative)

Erik Hensema (12898) | more than 12 years ago | (#2699019)

Yes, go to this page [] . Here you find two perl scripts: one script forwards the spam and another script parses the spamcop reply and automatically reports the spam.

Yahoo filtering (1)

webwench_72 (541358) | more than 12 years ago | (#2698932)

Yahoo web mail has a 'bulk mail' filter, enabled by default, which works really well for me (and has the advantage of being free). I get perhaps 1 or 2 spam messages that slip through to my 'real' inbox; all the rest are successfully filtered. I would never use an ISP email account address for filling out forms, etc, either -- I use webmail (obviously), and if spamming gets out of hand, I can always get rid of a webmail account.

Re:Spamcop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2698979)

Is there any easy way to bulk-parse spam via SpamCop? I get 20 spams a day and it's very time consuming to copy-paste all of them. Forwarding isn't much faster, and I can't find a way to make a filter that automatically forwards spam in Outlook Express or Hotmail (I know MS sucks, but Outlook works fine for me and I'm too lazy to find and install something else).

Spamcop LAWYER SYNDICATE (2, Insightful)

conner_bw (120497) | more than 12 years ago | (#2699115)

Spamcop is a great service, but in light of this new sueing spammers predicament, maybe their reports, along with being forwarded to the proper server administrators, should be equally forwarded to tech savvy lawyers.

This would be the equivalent of ambulance chasing. It allow over eager lawyers access to info and file their own cases against spammers. Of course, they would probably do it for the money, but spammers lose!money, but spammers lose!

It's about time (5, Insightful)

Philbert Desenex (219355) | more than 12 years ago | (#2698875)

It's about time spammers started paying for their sins.

Spamming is basically a form of theft, externalizing around half the cost of sending an advertisement to the reciepiant of the spam. That's clearly what makes spam attractive to advertisers (and their swinish lobbyists, the DMA).

The second order effect of this externalization hasn't been talked about in the press much. Ordinary advertising costs up front - a Tee Vee commercial for laundry detergent gets paid for before you buy the Whisk. A two-page spread in Time magazine for the latests SUV gets paid for before any consumer buys a 2002 Yukon. And yes, the company doing the advertising prices their product to account for the ad expenditure.

The fact that a spam victim pays for the ad before making a decision on whether or not to buy the laser printer toner means that market forces controlling advertising are vastly weakened. For example, the makers of "Whisk" laundry detergent used to have an ad campaign based on the phrase "Ring around the collar". During the mid 70s, the Women's Movement found this ad campaign offensive, so they boycotted "Whisk".

Fast forward to 2002 - you've already paid to receive an ad for Hotwet Russian Teen Sluts. No boycott on earth will have an effect on the advertiser - you've already paid for it, without being given a choice in the marketplace (maybe you prefer Hotwet Bulgarian Teens).

There's only very weak market forces that affect spam. We need government regulation of spam, we need the ability to punish spammers economically.

Re:It's about time (5, Funny)

4444444 (444444) | more than 12 years ago | (#2698917)

we need the ability to punish spammers economically.

You can punish them just goto and do search fro "bulk email" every limk you click will cost tehm several dollars last itme I looked it was about $8 per click

Re:It's about time (2)

reaper20 (23396) | more than 12 years ago | (#2699056)

Mozilla/Galeon's tab feature is perfect for this. Middle click the link 50 times, everything is self contained in the browser, close, repeat ...

Re:It's about time (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2699093)

Only works once per day, so that's 49 wasted clicks.

Re:It's about time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2699074)

We need government regulation of spam

What about the huge percentage of spam I receive that originates in .hk or .kr or .cn ? No regulation in the US will ever dent their activities, and spammers will just outsource everything to servers in those regions.

Spambouncer / Bennett's Birthday (2, Informative)

waldoj (8229) | more than 12 years ago | (#2698879)

I just installed Spambouncer [] , a procmail-based set of filters, on all of my servers over the past few days. I love it. It takes a little tweaking, but that's easy enough. It was not a problem to set up, and I've gone from a dozen or so UCEs per day to one or two. After a few more days of tweaking, I should be down to zero.

ObCompliment: Go Bennett, it's your birthday, go Bennett, it's your birthday! [1]

-Waldo Jaquith

[1] I am so white.

Somebody Call a Class Action Attorney! (3, Interesting)

NortonDC (211601) | more than 12 years ago | (#2698888)

Spam is one area where a very aggressive attorney making a career out of class action suits would be doing a public service. Some clever attorney out there ought to get on the ball with this.

Paradox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2698889)

But if the posts say make money fast, and I sue them and in fact do make money fast, then I couldn't have sued them because they were in fact true. In which case they would have been false and I could sue...

Wow!! (1)

clemens (188721) | more than 12 years ago | (#2698893)

He's really making money fast!

hmm. i don't get repeat spams ever. (1)

adosoda (539994) | more than 12 years ago | (#2698895)

if you just send them (the spammers) a msg that says something to the effect:
thank you for your mail, to continue sending me mail there will be a 500 dollar per item charge. your welcome to do so, although i will need your billing address and credit card number. if these are not provided to me, you will be taken to court so i may recover damages. thanks for your time.

Re:hmm. i don't get repeat spams ever. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2698905)

Best way to do this is do a whois on the domain that's being advertised. Usually scares the shit out of them when you tell them you're going to send a bill to them, and list their home address :D

Re:hmm. i don't get repeat spams ever. (2)

bero-rh (98815) | more than 12 years ago | (#2699107)

So how do you go about finding their addresses?
Quite a bit of the spam I'm getting spamvertises websites with whois entries along the lines of

You suck, Antispammers
1, Spam avenue
Spam city
NA 12345

Unfortunately, quite a few registrars don't kick domains for putting in invalid contact information.

How did he figure out who to sue? (2)

sphealey (2855) | more than 12 years ago | (#2698915)

I wouldn't mind taking action of this nature against spammers, if I could figure out who to take action against. When spam arrives with no usable return address and no valid telephone number, who do you take to court?


Re:How did he figure out who to sue? (3, Informative)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 12 years ago | (#2699094)

  • When spam arrives with no usable return address [...] who do you take to court?

The upstream provider? Really, it hacks me off that so many places run open relays, are RFC ignorant, and basically don't give a damn about the use of their networks (regardless of what their AUP's say). Sure, there are good providers that don't dick around when you send them abuse reports, but the amount of crap I'm seeing coming from .ac.somewhere-in-asia (that's international .edu) is staggering.

They're outside your country? Contact them anyway. If they don't respond, and the spam keeps coming, keep moving upstream. Sooner or later you'll hit your own ISP or ASP. Let them know that they're handling packets from RFC ignorant peers, and dump it on them. If that drives costs up, good, I'm sick of hearing that ISPs don't have the resources to deal with spam.

Instead of giving money to lawyers (directly) and courts (through taxes), let's get it to the ISPs instead.

Inconsistency.. (2, Flamebait)

kafka93 (243640) | more than 12 years ago | (#2698919)

I find it quite interesting that while many users of the Internet are quick to claim that 'information wants to be free' and to fight against censorship and restriction of their liberties, spam remains an area where the same people rush to seek legislation.

Surely these things must work both ways? If we have the right to send email to whomever we please, and to do so without the content of our email being checked by a third party, shouldn't that privilege extend to companies wishing to promote a product - however irritating it might be?

Before anyone flames me: I did read the article, and I realise that the case cited was based upon the forging of the 'from' address, which rendered the spam illegal. But is even this a 'fair' thing? If I were to send someone an email address with faked details, wouldn't that be my prerogative?

Perhaps where things need to be tightened up in order to address the problem of spam in a consistent manner is in the area of unapproved use of resources like SMTP servers. Instead of the recipients of spam being able to sue, it should be possible (and easy, and effective) for those whose resources are used by spammers without concent to take action - and the crime should be treated in the same way as would theft in the material domain. If spammers were forced to use their own servers, the act of blocking them out would be rendered easier; and if they were to face criminal charges when using other servers, then I'd wager we'd soon see matters improve.

Incidentally, I'm not a sysadmin and if I'm talking crap, please forgive me. But it seems to me that piecemeal court cases filed in small claims courts are going to do very little, very slowly.

Re:Inconsistency.. (3)

sphealey (2855) | more than 12 years ago | (#2699008)

Surely these things must work both ways? If we have the right to send email to whomever we please, and to do so without the content of our email being checked by a third party, shouldn't that privilege extend to companies wishing to promote a product - however irritating it might be?

Before anyone flames me: I did read the article, and I realise that the case cited was based upon the forging of the 'from' address, which rendered the spam illegal. But is even this a 'fair' thing? If I were to send someone an email address with faked details, wouldn't that be my prerogative?
Your right to exercise your biceps and knuckles ends at the tip of my nose. Whether or not information is or wants to be free, you have no right to impose monetary costs on me without my consent. Which, since I pay for dial-up access to my e-mail, is what spam does.


No Inconsistency (2)

Steve B (42864) | more than 12 years ago | (#2699028)

If we have the right to send email to whomever we please, and to do so without the content of our email being checked by a third party, shouldn't that privilege extend to companies wishing to promote a product - however irritating it might be?

The issue here is one of property rights, not speech rights. Freedom of speech does not cover spamming for the same reason it doesn't cover painting graffiti on people's houses.

Re:No Inconsistency (2)

kafka93 (243640) | more than 12 years ago | (#2699102)

I suppose I was forgetting that people do pay for access to their email; however, it seems to me that the burden with email has *always* fallen upon the recipient in all areas: I'm on a load of mailing lists, and if I don't want to receive email from certain people, it's my job to block them out, and not their job to stop sending to me.

And I'm not certain that this can be seem as an issue of property rights as opposed to speech rights. If someone speaks to me, then the act of listening and processing what they say requires energy, which ultimately costs me money; it's not for the sender to know whether I'm interested in what they have to say or not, and they can't be held directly accountable if I'm irritated or bored by what they have to say. Spam mail is like lots of people all talking nonsense at the same time - tiresome, a pain in the neck, but nonetheless a speech issue.

Of course, in real life if somebody keeps following me around and talking to me against my wishes, I'd have a restraining order issued; I don't think that's really practical, though, when it comes to email - and my original argument was principally about what constitutes a pragmatic solution to the problem.

Re:Inconsistency.. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2699037)

How the hell did this old anti-anti-spam argument get moderated up? Its been debunked so many times that I just start laughing whenever I see it. The moderators must really be smoking some good stuff today.

Re:Inconsistency.. (2, Insightful)

sacremon (244448) | more than 12 years ago | (#2699045)

The differnce between freedom from censorship and the blocking of spam is one of consent.

If I wish to view something on the web, and the author wants others to view it, I should be able to do so without someone else telling me that I can't. The author is consenting in wanting others to view the work, and I am consenting in wanting to view the work.

With spam, my consent is considered irrelavent by the spammers. They are sending me material, without my consent or my desire to see it. It costs me money to receive their spam, as the ISP is going to pass on the cost of their bandwidth utilization to me in the form of higher fees.

Re:Inconsistency.. (1)

sheriff_p (138609) | more than 12 years ago | (#2699076)

And the US is a free country, so people have the right to commit fraud, right? Isn't the whole war on Afghanistan about freedom?

I think you need to get some context, matey.

Re:Inconsistency.. (1)

withak53 (463555) | more than 12 years ago | (#2699109)

If I were to send someone an email address with faked details, wouldn't that be my prerogative?
Whether you may or may not spoof your email isn't the issue here. Whether or not a company can is. Companies do not have the right to give fraudulent information.

Here's another way to attack spammers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2698929)

Here's how you can exhaust some of the business capital of spammers:

1) Go to your favorite web directory, where sites are paying per clickthrough, such as:

2) Search on any of these keyword phrases:

email marketing
bulk email marketing
direct email marketing
bulk email marketing campaign
email marketing company
email marketing software
opt in email marketing
targeted email marketing
permission email marketing
marketing email
email marketing services
email marketing tool
optin email marketing
online email marketing
email marketing program
email marketing list
email marketing campaign
free email marketing
bulk email work marketing
email marketing strategy
email marketing solution
permission based email marketing
email marketing uk
marketing email list
target bulk email marketing
email marketing consultant
direct email marketing firm
precision email marketing
bulk email marketing software
marketing bulk email
marketing email service agent
direct marketing email
email marketing 98
email marketing service
targeted bulk email marketing
discount targeted email marketing
email marketing secret closeout
email marketing technology
email marketing consulting
email target marketing
business to business email marketing
html email marketing
opt in email marketing software
global email marketing
marketing via email newsletter and mailing list
email marketing system
email marketing benefit
targeted opt in email direct marketing
viral email marketing
marketing with email
direct email marketing australia
replynet powerful email marketing tool
email marketing arabic
mass email marketing
email lab marketing specialist
email marketing career
email marketing etiquette
marketing phd email list
optinpro opt in email marketing software
email marketing research

3) Start clicking away; some of these companies are paying five and six dollars per clickthrough!

In most cases, Slashdotters would exhaust a lot of marketing capital that these companies have. In a few cases, the company may not have set a cap on their spending, and a few hundred thousand frivilous clickthroughs would bankrupt them.

Way to go Bennett (2)

mcSey921 (230169) | more than 12 years ago | (#2698931)

This guy is great. I remember [] from back in the day. He helped me fight a censorware install at the schools at which I was teaching. I wonder if he is still selling those groovy t-shirts.

Re:Way to go Bennett (1)

CoolVibe (11466) | more than 12 years ago | (#2699050)

I think he still sells those t-shirts (I own one :).

He's fighting a worthy cause. Buy some stuff from his website, he could sure use the support.

Good! (1)

orgnine (529145) | more than 12 years ago | (#2698936)

Excellent that finally people are doing something about spam... not like some that are just passing the buck [] .

Personally I am fed up with tolerance people have for spammers. It is a very negative facet of the computing industry and a lot of people are plain turned off of e-mail because of spammers. Economy-wise, there is a negative trend that will continue to appear if spammers, fakes, phoneys, aren't given the prod with a very hot iron.

Help Fight Spam []

The Original Spam []

more info (3, Informative)

klip04 (522737) | more than 12 years ago | (#2698946)

there's quite a bit of info about this stuff at []

What are you doing to receive so much spam? (1)

wonder (218298) | more than 12 years ago | (#2698958)

I'm a software developer, so suffice it to say, i get around on the net on average about as much as many other people who seem to be getting assailed by spam on a daily basis. I however, am not being assailed. In fact, i get virtually no spam at all. I'm on the (former) @home network, and have been for years, so i have a hard time accepting such innuendo that my isp is selling out my email address. Not because it was @home - i'm a skeptical pessimistic bastard most of the time, so i don't put it past any company to screw me over any way they can - but because i simply haven't gotten any spam, which must lead me to the conclusion that i haven't been sold out. So if i haven't been sold out, and i'm on the same network as thousands of other people who suffer from spam every day, i am forced to wonder, what are these people doing to invite the spam? I think "invite" is the appropriate word here too. I can't logically think of any other explanation. If you follow all those links that your "less technical" friends send you in email - nobody is immune from spam that your friends fwd to you - and sign up for all these newsletters and junk like this, you have to expect that your luck is going to run out and you're going to be sold out sooner or later.

You'll never hear me support spammers in any way, shape or form. I detest them and if i could banish them from our universe, believe me i would, but perhaps the blame doesn't rest solely on the spammers - they have to get your address somehow right? Maybe (if you're one of those people that suffer from spam) you should take a look at yourself and figure out what you're doing to aim that spam cannon at yourself.

Two Spam Rules will change your life! Send $19.95 (1)

The Panther! (448321) | more than 12 years ago | (#2699101)

I guess you don't have any dipstick friends who think online greeting cards are cool? Those are spam list generators that you have no control over. If you post on a Usenet board and don't mask your return email and spam-proof any email address in your post, you're asking for it.

I do a fair bit of buy/sell/trading of computer hardware online, and I've noticed even with spam-proofed everything, I've seen an increase from 10/day to about 30/day in a few months. Once you're on a list, it's guaranteed to be merged with larger lists and resold. Just one spammer typing in addresses manually can demolish your email account. They never do this, though... they're spammers because they're lazy.

But, I combat it very effectively. I set up two mail rules.
  • Anything with known phrases that are spam, known subjects that are spam, etc, get moved to a JunkMail folder and marked as read.
  • Anything else which does not contain keywords I find interesting, and does not come from people in my address book, get moved to the same folder and marked as read.
This way, I've rejected about 95% of the spam I get, and only occasionally find new keywords to reject or passthrough. True, I do "pay" to download and store the spam locally, but I'm on broadband and delete the JunkMail every day anyway. At some point, when I'm pretty confident that I get all the mail I care to read, I'll change the rule actions to delete immediately.

The important thing to remember is once you've gotten on a list, you'll never get off. And at that point, it's not a matter of bellyaching about it, but being pro-active, because spammers are putting (some) effort into mail bombing you.

--- MAKE MONEY FAST ----- (-1, Troll)

leuk_he (194174) | more than 12 years ago | (#2698959)

Subject: Make money fast with bulk mail!

I have to tell you a way to turn all the spam you receive in money. This a oppotunity you must not miss. If you receive any "Commercial electronic mail message" you can receive up to $500 each.


One was a chain letter asking for five dollars from a guy from Indiana who used his real name.
he asked for 5$, is used my real name, and i was awarded $500!

a company offering seminars on how to make money on the stock market.
I made $500 on them. Not bad on the currect stock market.

This email is legal according to the following law: Washington's Title 19.190 RCW
it does NOT "Contains false or misleading information in the subject line."

If you do not want to receive this messages anymore please click on this link [] and follow the instuctions.

Please send this email to as much people to inform them of this oppotunity.

--- sorry couldn't resist 8-)

Isn't it ironic... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2698960)

That Bennet, one of the most vocal anti-MAPS whiners (because his website,, was listed on MAPS. This was most probably done by his ISP who moved it into an ip range infested with spammers and on the RBL), it getting notice for suing spammers.

I certainly hope that more spammers get sued, but I also hope that more blocking lists, like my current favourite SPEWS, blackhole more spam tolerant ISP's. If peacefire weren't on a spam tolerant ISP, they wouldn't have got onto the RBL.

Should MS jump on the bandwagon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2698973)

With the amount of spam going through Hotmail these days, you'd think MS would want to help in the fight against spam, just to save some Hotmail resources. Aren't they always concerned about the "consumer"?

Money from a turnip (1)

The Panther! (448321) | more than 12 years ago | (#2698977)

It's about as likely to get a significant enough settlement to cover lawyer fees and a bit more for spam, as it is to sue indigents for damages when they spit polish your windshield.

Spammers are by nature in the lowest percentile, or they wouldn't be spamming. Perhaps it would be lucrative for some ambulance chasers to 'buy' the rights to prosecute--the way they buy patent rights for prosecution purposes today--then at least someone could make a buck off it on average.

SPAM DISCLAIMER (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2698999)

DISCLAIMER: Information within this email contains "forward looking statements" within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21B of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Any statements that express or involve discussions with respect to predictions, expectations, beliefs, plans, projections, objectives, goals, assumptions or future events or performance are not statements of historical fact and may be "forward looking statements." Forward looking statements are based on expectations, estimates and projections at the time the statements are made that involve a number of risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results or events to differ materially from those presently anticipated. Forward looking statements in this action may be identified through the use of words such as "projects", "foresee", ÿFFFF93expectsÿFFFF92ÿFFFF94, ÿFFFF93will,ÿFFFF94 ÿFFFF93anticipates,ÿFFFF94 ÿFFFF93estimates,ÿFFFF94 ÿFFFF93believes,ÿFFFF94 "understands" or that by statements indicating certain actions ÿFFFF93may,ÿFFFF94 ÿFFFF93could,ÿFFFF94 or ÿFFFF93mightÿFFFF94 occur. All information provided within this email pertaining to investing, stocks, securities must be understood as information provided and not investment advice. Investment News Alert advises all readers and subscribers to seek advice from a registered professional securities representative before deciding to trade in stocks featured within this email. None of the material within this report shall be construed as any kind of investment advice. In compliance with the Securities Act of 1933, Section17(b), Investment News Alert discloses the receipt of $5,000 cash from a third party for the publication of this report and additional services related to AAPH. Be aware of an inherent conflict of interest resulting from such compensation. All factual information in this report was gathered from public sources, including but not limited to SEC filings, Company Press Releases, and Market Guide. Investment News Alert believes this information to be reliable but can make no guarantee as to its accuracy or completeness. Use of the material within this email constitutes your acceptance of these terms.

spam back (3, Funny)

diesel_jackass (534880) | more than 12 years ago | (#2699013)

I've tried spamming back people who spam me, with thousands of emails, and random subject and bodies. That makes me feel good. It is a hog to run on my computer though.

Now i just send them a bill with PayPal. I haven't had any responses yet, but i think they definitely owe me something for wasting my time, bandwidth, and storage. Maybe some lame spammer will cave and pay me the $30 that i billed them

This works well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2699032)

Run your own email server. Only publish aliases that you change regularly, say every 3-9 months. Forward *all* email that is not properly addressed to one of the spam services, or to a porn site (example: forward to
Generate a separate email alias per registration needed, such a ebayal2@, webal33@, etc.

Your spam will drop to near zero.

Mmmm... SPAM.. (-1, Troll)

MastahTrollah (543448) | more than 12 years ago | (#2699060)

,dP""8a "888888b, d8b "888b ,888"
88b " 888 d88 dPY8b 88Y8b,8888
`"Y8888a 888ad8P'dPaaY8b 88 Y88P888
a Y88 888 dP Y8b 88 YP 888
`"8ad8P'a888a a88a1*a888aa88a a888a


Going After Spammers (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2699061)

Some of you may like this ;-)

For a while now, my company has been in "hot pursuit" of spammers. Getting them for the message itself is mostly a grey area legally (the Washington state makes an exception), but using corporate resources without authorization is illegal. So we send them hefty invoices (for relay easily in the $500,000 range) and enforce them worldwide with the help of a collection agency, which adds 48% to the original cost to the spammer (we operate under the assumption that none will pay voluntarily, and all cases go through the full court process).

Currently there are $1.2m pending in courts, 90% in the US, the rest in Japan and Korea. And a vast majority has not even been invoiced (we have spent a ton of money on that already, but it does take time to research proper addresses to serve documents).

The goal is to get a few major judgements against the people who have their goods promoted this way (if we can collect on that, is another issue; and they can see if and how they can collect from the actual spammers). Once that is done, and press releases have been issued, we hope it sends strong enough a signal to spammers and their clients to stop it worldwide.

Any surplus beyond covering our costs will be donated to the EFF. Top EFF lawyers were very helpful in validating the legal approach. We are not looking to make a profit on this.

For more information see:

[Why? We were shut down once too often by relay, at a time when we had to keep some servers open for special customers]

(I didn't remember my SlashDot login, and the password didn't arrive yet via e-mail - sorry for the "anonymous" sender address)

Thomas J. Ackermann
Melior, Inc.

Radio Shack (not quite spam) (5, Interesting)

Sammeh (74204) | more than 12 years ago | (#2699078)

Not quite spam, but I remember a month or so ago, that a user billed spammers at the rate of 125$ per hour with a minimum of 10 hours to filter out their email to his/her domain.

Anyways, recently, Radio shack posted my home phone number as one of their local stores. I emailed them a couple weeks to change it and got no response, so I gave them a notice to remove it within 24 hours or I'd bill them the same amount (1250/10hours), to route their phone calls to the correct store.

I went to the store and they also have it listed on their reciepts and said they're having it listed in the phone book. They told me that they shipped in the notice to not print it in the phone book and were working on the reciept prints, but the website was up to corporate, so that's who I'm billing.

They have until 5:32 tonight to change the number on their website or they're getting a daily invoice.

I don't care if it works or not, I'd love the cash, but I'd love even more the phone to stop ringing off the hook, its worse than spam.

Re:Radio Shack (not quite spam) (2)

laserjet (170008) | more than 12 years ago | (#2699100)

haha. that is hilarious. it must suck to have that problem, but i hope you get your money. very funny that they could be so stupid. the amazing thing is how slow corporations move. It would probably take one person one hour (or less) to get your number changed. oh well. if I were you i would start answering the phone "Radio Shack, this is Rupert" and be rude to their customers and drive them away from the store. It's what they deserve if they don't correct their msitakes given ample time.

Guess the tune.. (-1, Troll)

MastahTrollah (543448) | more than 12 years ago | (#2699087)

In the shuffling madess
of the locomotive breath,
runs the all-time loser,
headlong to his death.
He feels the piston scraping --
steam breaking on his brow --
old Charlie stole the handle and
the train won't stop going --
no way to slow down.
He sees his children jumping off
at the stations -- one by one.
His woman and his best friend --
in bed and having fun.
He's crawling down the corridor
on his hands and knees --
old Charlie stole the handle and
the train won't stop going --
no way to slow down.
He hears the silence howling --
catches angels as they fall.
And the all-time winner
has got him by the balls.
He picks up Gideons Bible --
open at page one --
old Charlie stole the handle and
the train won't stop going --
no way to slow down.

What about distributed ani-spam? (1)

zkosky (537423) | more than 12 years ago | (#2699111)

I don't know much about this stuff, but couldn't you have a Gnutella-like system in which people contribute to a list of known spammers. It wouldn't be maintained by one anti-spam company or prog writer, but many people who ban together to build a distributed DB of spammers.

One problem with this would be the obvious way in which someone could play a bad prank on someone else by adding the poor bastards name to the list. A possible way to overcome this would be have a minimum number of complains about one spam, after which their name would be added to the list.

Anyway, what do you think?

PS. I think I might have read about something like this as an open-source project... "razor... something", so don't think I'm being original or anything.

Honey, you're scaring the children
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