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Spammer Sues List Broker

michael posted about 12 years ago | from the throw-another-spam-on-the-barbie dept.

Spam 351

BuckMulligan writes: "This article describes a lawsuit brought by a spam company against a list brokerage warehouse for selling e-mail addresses of persons who didn't opt-in. What this means is that those marketing lists created by data brokers aren't even accurate enough for sending spam."

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351 comments

Fark post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3195631)

Re:Fark post (-1)

DonkeyHote (521235) | about 12 years ago | (#3195837)

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This has been the revrend and I have spoken............

I wonder... (5, Funny)

WndrBr3d (219963) | about 12 years ago | (#3195640)

This brokerage warehouse wouldn't happened to be called HOTMAIL.COM ... would it ?? ;-)

I dont wonder (1, Informative)

brodiedreamyou.ca (542180) | about 12 years ago | (#3195680)

That wouldn't really make any sense, MS dosen't want people sending you spam, it just increases their bandwidth usage. They've even gone to the effort of creating good spam filters and the ability to block hosts that have spammed you in the past

Re:I dont wonder (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3195800)

Where as Yahoo Mail never recieves any spam in my experience. And Hotmail still gets tons even with all the spam filtering in place!

Banners (1)

LiENUS (207736) | about 12 years ago | (#3195644)

How do you read this article with the bouncing laptops all over it?

Re:Banners (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3195703)

maybe by disallowing activeX to run on your browser?

(Tools -> internet options -> Security) on MSIE

Re:Banners (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3195730)

http://www.guidescope.com
That's how I do it.
That, and "hosts" file.

Re:Banners (1)

neuroticia (557805) | about 12 years ago | (#3195774)

Interesting. After the laptops finish bouncing not only do they go away, but so does the banner at the top of the screen. In order to bring the banner back and see what it was for I had to close the window and then re-click the link from slashdot. (Initially I was too distracted by the bouncing computers.)

Good advertisement. ;) Must be horrid for the click-thru's though.

-Sara

Re:Banners (1)

Tackhead (54550) | about 12 years ago | (#3195857)

KEM>> How do you read this article with the bouncing laptops all over it?

What bouncing laptops?

Oh, that's right, I disabled Flash. I never see these ads.

Um.... (5, Insightful)

Wakko Warner (324) | about 12 years ago | (#3195646)

...do lists of people who opt-in for spam even exist? Are they big enough to fit on one 8.5x11" piece of paper?

Who the hell would be stupid enough to opt-in for spam?

- A.P.

Re:Um.... (2)

seebs (15766) | about 12 years ago | (#3195668)

There are actually legitimate opt-in lists, but to the best of my knowledge, you can't buy them; you can, however, pay someone to mail to them.

For an explanation of why you can't "buy" an opt-in list, ask Google about "Nadine mailing".

Re:Um.... (4, Interesting)

foobar104 (206452) | about 12 years ago | (#3195744)

For an explanation of why you can't "buy" an opt-in list, ask Google about "Nadine mailing".

Yes, this is off-topic. Mod me down if you must.

Am I the only one who forsees a day when URLs and hyperlinks as we know them are superceded by Google search strings?

The Google database changes dynamically, of course, but that's currently a small problem. If I'm looking for info on the IBM FAStT700 disk array, as I was this morning, I'm a lot more likely to type "ibm fast700" into Google than I am to navigate through IBM's maze of a web site.

If I don't know exactly what I'm looking for, Google can usually help me find it, or at least something sufficiently close to it to get by.

But if I know exactly what I'm looking for, but don't know where to find it, Google is even more helpful.

Who needs URLs anymore?

Re:Um.... (1)

Indomitus (578) | about 12 years ago | (#3195768)

I read an article talking about that same thing. There was a domain registrar talking about how he's not registering as many specific business names as URLs anymore since people can just type the biz name at Google and find it fine.

Re:Um.... (2)

Glytch (4881) | about 12 years ago | (#3195792)

Who needs URLs anymore?

Google.

Re:Um.... (2)

foobar104 (206452) | about 12 years ago | (#3195887)

Okay, fine. Setting aside the arguable point that Google is a what and not a who, you got me on that one.

My point, though, was that in a lot of ways the URL, for my purposes anyway, is going the way of the IP address. It's a part of the Internet infrastructure that I'm passingly aware of, but that I only have to encounter on rare occasions.

Re:Um.... (1)

CaptainSuperBoy (17170) | about 12 years ago | (#3195670)

No. There's no such thing as an opt-in mailing list. No reputable marketer will sell an e-mail address, ever.

Re:Um.... (2)

AndyChrist (161262) | about 12 years ago | (#3195701)

No, but you can opt-in with disreputable ones. Ones who might say "do you want to receive mail from our associates" or somesuch. Why...however are they supposed to send messages if we don't give them your address! (I know, I know...)

Re:Um.... (2)

CaptainSuperBoy (17170) | about 12 years ago | (#3195739)

Why...however are they supposed to send messages if we don't give them your address!

I have no idea. My ISP just forced me to change e-mail addresses.. my new one is @attbi.com. So it's been active for a month or two, I've given it to nobody. And I got my first spam on it the other day. Now, I HOPE that the spammer was clever and just took my username off my old domain (@ne.mediaone.net) and slapped it on the new domain, because it's the same. Because the only other explanation is that they got my address from AT&T broadband somehow.

Re:Um.... (3, Interesting)

neuroticia (557805) | about 12 years ago | (#3195834)

Or... They use what seems to be a common technique.

Step 1: Forge "from" so that bouncebacks won't be an issue. Step 2: Use software to auto-generate half a million email addresses using a dictionary and random "common" numbers such as dates, "69", "1", etc. Step 3: send email. Sit back and enjoy not having to deal with bouncebacks or angry replies.

I used to have an AOL account with the string 'Sara' in it. Every month or so I'd recieve an email with 100 names in the 'to' field and out of curiousity I'd try pulling up a profile on a bunch of them, most would return the results that the user did not exist.

I'd be curious to see who would recieve more spam-- BOTH accounts being equally inactive and on notorious 'spam' email hosts such as yahoo, AOL, MSN, etc. ba56ugnu0i99845@domain.com or saragirl69@domain.com All bets are on the latter.

-Sara

Re:Um.... (2, Interesting)

Linuxthess (529239) | about 12 years ago | (#3195677)

"Would you like to recieve email messages from our *valued* business partners?"
How many grandmas couldnt even read that small print?

Re:Um.... (2)

mnordstr (472213) | about 12 years ago | (#3195679)

Who the hell would be stupid enough to opt-in for spam?

Many! It's not called spam, it usually goes under the name of "Special Offers" or "Free newsletter". Everyone doesn't know that if they give out their email address to unreliable destinations, they will get spammed.

Re:Um.... (5, Interesting)

Binky The Oracle (567747) | about 12 years ago | (#3195687)

I suspect that most "Opt-In" mailing lists are derived from people who click through an online service agreement without reading the whole thing or the privacy policy.

The real trouble comes when trying to determine which of the spam that says I can opt-out actually means it, and which of the spam is just harvesting/validating my address.

Thankfully, most of the web sites I use only send me their own spam (which I generally don't mind, especially if I can tell them to stop) but occasionally I get one site that sold my name to a list and voila... instant opt-in on a technicality.

That's why I normally make a new email alias when providing my address to a new site so I can at least attempt to see who sold my name in the first place.

Re:Um.... (4, Interesting)

Stonehand (71085) | about 12 years ago | (#3195745)

Another bit is the web sites with an unverified opt-in -- that is, anybody can type in an e-mail address and it's considered as an opt-in without sending a confirmation request.

Mandating
a) a confirmation request sent via e-mail, that requires POSITIVE confirmation (the response must include a unambiguous not-readily forged reference to the original message) before "real" addition to the list

b) a simple, obvious, free removal mechanism, which works within a reasonable period (say, 48 hours?)

would help.

Re:Um.... (1)

sketerpot (454020) | about 12 years ago | (#3195688)

Remember those little check boxes on some pages that say "E-Mail me with news about foo" that are checked by default? Some people never get around to unchecking them. This is them constued as an "opt-in".

But I do think that the list would be big enough to fill a piece of paper, with microdot reduction.

Re:Um.... (3, Informative)

AlexDeGruven (565036) | about 12 years ago | (#3195756)

If you've installed real player in the past, you can see that in action.

During the installation there is a "Special Offers" section. The first four (Which, not coincidentally are the only ones that show up in the little box) are unchecked by default, but scrolling down reveals that the other 15 options are checked.

Remember when the web used to be free, of ads, that is?

Re:Um.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3195853)

Yup, that's one of the dirtiest tricks that I've seen a major company pull with their installation procedure. I wonder why Real hasn't been ground into the dirt over this already.

Re:Um.... (3, Funny)

Boiler99 (222701) | about 12 years ago | (#3195691)

I think it's like the check-boxes hidden between 3 flash ads of some photographically enhanced woman in an X-10 Cam advertisement that says, "YES I WOULD LIKE TO RECIEVE YOUR STUPID NEWSLETTERS AND PLEASE SELL MY ADDRESS TO 3RD PARTIES IN ASIA".

If you don't specifically Opt-OUT, they opt you in by default ;) The problem is that you don't know what you have to opt-out on until you start getting the spam, and by then it's too late.

Re:Um.... (4, Funny)

qslack (239825) | about 12 years ago | (#3195854)

Those checkboxes are usually worded as "I don't not want to be not subscribed to a mailing list that doesn't contain information about non-offers that I am not interested in from unselected partners who have no affiliation to you."

Re:Um.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3195777)

Why is this moderated "Troll"?

Moderators on crack; film at 11.

Re:Um.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3195846)

In the past, very very long time ago, to receive spam was useful to check if your e-mail account were working.

Boil them in oil, burn them alive... (1)

tmcmsail (302707) | about 12 years ago | (#3195656)

I wish we could give these spammers the punishment that they deserve.

Re:Boil them in oil, burn them alive... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3195829)

Hey, haven't I read your work [slashdot.org] before? BTW: Your ideas intrigue me! How may I sign up for the newsletter?

Hmm. (2, Funny)

TheFlu (213162) | about 12 years ago | (#3195657)

Maybe they could just send an email to everyone asking them if they've like to opt-in.

I think this means... (3, Funny)

kaimiike1970 (444130) | about 12 years ago | (#3195661)

That all those fake addresses people have been 'seeding' the internet with have finaaly begun to have an effect. Maybe the whole industry will eat itself from the inside out. Hopefully the two sides here can sue each other to oblivion.

Seeding spammers. HOWTO (3, Funny)

SomethingOrOther (521702) | about 12 years ago | (#3195772)


The best technique I have seen for this was a usenet .sig saying "Send spam here" and listing addresses of the spammers.

The poster had visited the websites the spammers were advertising (usualy p0rn sites) and collected legit e-mail addresses from the html source (usualy billing@ sales@ etc).

He/she added this to the usenet .sig (with the explanitory note) and let the spambots harvesting addresses do the work for them :-)

Sad day ... Stephen King dead at 54 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3195662)


I just heard some sad news on talk radio - Horror/Sci Fi writer Stephen King was found dead in his Maine home this morning. There weren't any more details. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss him - even if you didn't enjoy his work, there's no denying his contributions to popular culture. Truly an American icon.

Re:Sad day ... Stephen King dead at 54 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3195856)

Not news to me; I killed him. You want more details? Check out eBay in the upcoming weeks. Be sure to bid on all his body parts (including lots of organs). I have a friend bidding on his heart, otherwise I'd tell you when that one was going on the chopping bl... um.. auction block.

There's just no honor amongst thieves (2, Insightful)

T5 (308759) | about 12 years ago | (#3195663)

The sad part of this is that tax dollars are funding the ability for these cretins to sue each other.

Re:There's just no honor amongst thieves (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3195791)

> The sad part of this is that tax dollars are funding the ability for these cretins to sue each other.

"tax dollars"? Explain, please..

It's not the marketers, then (2, Insightful)

TrollMan 5000 (454685) | about 12 years ago | (#3195665)

The company said it used the Mindset Interactive and Inurv lists to send messages to thousands of e-mail account holders. It claims the companies said the data were collected with the consent of the owners and could be used for direct marketing.

This is most likely false. How many e-mails have you received stating that you indicated you wanted to subscribe to some form of mass-e-mailing, but didn't? And how do people receive spam only 8 hours [slashdot.org] after setting up an e-amil address?

Spammers? What? (2, Interesting)

rmadmin (532701) | about 12 years ago | (#3195666)

Spammers can sue people? That just aint right. Regardless, if you buy 10 million e-mail addresses, look at how many of those addresses are going to be canceled, or changed in just one day. Our ISP has 400 users, and we change usernames, add, and remove users daily. And thats just a 400~ customer base! Maybe if the list makers get sued, they'll have to adhear to the actually 'Opt-in' theory! Then maybe I'll stop getting stuff about Viagra that I don't need, Hair loss products that I don't need, Viacream *shudder*, Ferimones, and the other list of absolutely stupid shit that I can't believe anyone would buy, let alone try to sell! But thats just my opinion.

Re:Spammers? What? (1)

happyclam (564118) | about 12 years ago | (#3195706)

When the "spammer" buys what they think is an opt-in list, that's no different than Publishers Clearinghouse buying a snail mail list from some marketing list source, of which there are many.

The funny part is they probably got what they paid for: They probably went on the cheap to get the most email addresses for the smallest price, and it turns out the list was dirty.

ha, ha, ha

Re:Spammers? What? (1)

kontos (560271) | about 12 years ago | (#3195786)

Before reading this, I had considerd Virtumundo a "Responsible Spammer" (I know probably an oxymoron). The only place I've ever recived email from them is an address specifficaly set up for them, and each of the emails that I got indicated it was sent because I was on the irtumundo mailing list. The fact that they admit that they would buy a mailing list just made me loose all respect for them.

and in other news.... (3, Funny)

British (51765) | about 12 years ago | (#3195678)

Drug dealer files lawsuit against drug supplier for selling him some bad weed, and some cocaine "padded" with baking soda and talcum.

I Google therefore I am (5, Funny)

jhines0042 (184217) | about 12 years ago | (#3195682)

A Google search did not return any information about Inurv Inc.

Personally, I think this is the best line in the whole article. Google, final proof that you do, or do not, exist.

Hey, I'm not on Google either! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3195789)

Oh, sh*t. A search for "Anonymous Coward" didn't turn up anything on Google either. I guess that means that either I don't exist.

Well, at least I can't get modded down.

Actually AC is on Google... (2)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 12 years ago | (#3195819)

Couldn't resist this. I checked and "Anonymous Coward" (with the quotes to get the exact phrase) appears in Google about 30,200 times. And the second instance is (of course) Slashdot.

Re:I Google therefore I am (2)

Animats (122034) | about 12 years ago | (#3195821)

When I find out the address of a spammer, I put it into Google and see what pops out. Often, a whole list of scam-type businesses will show up with the same address. I just came across one today in Glendale, CA. At the same address are an inkjet-refill company, a loan broker, an online gambling operation, and a spamming service.

Re:I Google therefore I am (4, Informative)

Tackhead (54550) | about 12 years ago | (#3195884)

> When I find out the address of a spammer, I put it into Google and see what pops out. Often, a whole list of scam-type businesses will show up with the same address. I just came across one today in Glendale, CA. At the same address are an inkjet-refill company, a loan broker, an online gambling operation, and a spamming service.

Sometimes that means you've found a spammer.

Other times, it just means you've found a Mail Boxes, Etc. type of place. (Non-US folks: Sorta like a post office, but run by private companies. People can rent mailboxes with them, and collect their snail-mail there. Most of their customers are legit, but many aren't.)

(Sometimes, of course, the same spammer will use the same mailbox/dropbox provider for more than one scam. Figuring out the difference by looking for similarities in writing styles, etc. is more an art than a science...)

Trying to do the RIGHT thing, it seems... maybe. (5, Interesting)

Stonehand (71085) | about 12 years ago | (#3195692)

Heh. If the marketer really believed that he was getting a list of people who opted in for marketing information, then kudos -- the list was bought, mail was sent, and the marketer got burned by complaints and bounces instead of going only to those unusual avians which welcome e-mail advertising.

A more cynical hypothesis is that it was a "wink wink" situation where the marketer knew that the list was probably not what it was purported to be, and held the "sue the list provider" approach as another angle to deflect blame just in case the heat was too much. But that would be a tricky game to play.

Re:Trying to do the RIGHT thing, it seems... maybe (2)

ari{Dal} (68669) | about 12 years ago | (#3195812)

I'd say the latter is true.

What idiot would honestly believe that these warehouses of email addresses were all legitimate? These people got what they paid for, and should have known better. If people want to do business with you, they'll let you know directly.

This is just a cheap attempt to put blame on the suppliers of the lists. They probably got a few threats of lawsuits and are now running scared thanks to the new laws in effect in a lot of states.

The one upside to all this is that perhaps (maybe, possibly, but i doubt it) they'll avoid the data-mined address lists in the future and actually work to get business in a legitimate fashion.

Re:Trying to do the RIGHT thing, it seems... maybe (1)

halftrack (454203) | about 12 years ago | (#3195863)

Or ther was a "wink wink" situation where the marketer knew that the list was probably not what it was purported to be, and held the "sue the list provider" approach to get money. This is their own statement: failing dot-coms continue to seek additional revenue streams, many (companies) are resorting to unethical and often illegal methods [me: to find capital]

Question (4, Interesting)

SkewlD00d (314017) | about 12 years ago | (#3195694)

Why haven't the lists been made illegal yet? I mean, you can at least opt-out of junk mail by telling the post office, and the DMA did a 180 and now thinks spam should be done in a more reasonable way. Shouldn't there be a way you can opt-out of these giant master lists, nailing the spammers at the source?

rm -rf *.spamer

Maybe they did opt in? (2, Interesting)

SomethingOrOther (521702) | about 12 years ago | (#3195700)


Just a thought
Maybe these people did opt in for spam.
Only when the clueless AOL newbies realised this ment Hot Teen Sluts twenty times a day did they kick up a fuss and deny everything?

Oh Good... (2)

Greyfox (87712) | about 12 years ago | (#3195704)

They're starting to consume their own. Maybe that will lead to a rapid extinction. I know... not likely, but we can hope, can't we?

Let's get to the fucking bottom of this (-1, Troll)

Profane Motherfucker (564659) | about 12 years ago | (#3195705)

Here's the deal, and this is no bullshit. Spammer finds that his assfucked business plans of sending out shitloads of unsolicited email to a bunch of unsuspected motherfuckers isn't going so well.

So he does a little digging and finds that the bitchass whore who sold him the list really was a bigger asshole than he, and sold him a totally bogus list. Now, the spammer, rather than deluge the fucking internet with a bunch of ads on Wet Teenage Pussy can settle for a nice fat court settlement.

And if the email addresses were 'opt-in' like the article claims, than the guy isn't a spammer. Fucking slashdot. Learn the difference. How many people piss and moan about the misuse of Hacker versus Cracker. If they were opt in, than this fucker is a Direct Marketer. Not a spammer.

Re:Let's get to the fucking bottom of this (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3195752)

Gee, all the curses of a tarantino flick without the brains. you sir blow mountain goats.

Treeloot (3, Interesting)

CaptainSuperBoy (17170) | about 12 years ago | (#3195707)

A couple things to note. The plaintiff is Virtumundo Inc., the same company that runs Treeloot. That's right, the company that brings you the most annoying banner ads in the world is suing someone for improper marketing. If they didn't know that there's no such thing as buying an opt-in list, I'd be worried about their long-term business prospects.

There is no such thing as an opt-in mailing list. You can pay other people to send mail to THEIR list of people who have opted in, but no reputable marketer will ever sell you a list with actual e-mail addresses. Nobody, if properly informed, will willingly sign up for e-mail from "anyone who wants to buy my address." Your address could be re-sold unlimited times, and you'd receive a deluge of spam.

I'm on the verge of sympathy, really . . . (2)

cjpez (148000) | about 12 years ago | (#3195716)

Yeah, I can almost feel it . . . got it, got it . . . No, lost it. Drat. No sympathy for them, I guess.

I suppose there is something to be said for keeping lists clean, at least. I suppose there's an awful lot of wasted bandwidth out there due to millions of nonexistant email addresses. I suppose compared to all the P2P networks out there nowadays, though, it hardly registers.

B.Shifman's wet dream! (1)

BACbKA (534028) | about 12 years ago | (#3195717)

Wow! Spammer *actually* suing someone who made his spamming more difficult! Isn't it Bernard Shifman's wet dream?! :-)

Are they spammers? (5, Insightful)

Rick the Red (307103) | about 12 years ago | (#3195723)

It sounds like they don't want to be spammers. It sounds like they were trying to find people who didn't mind email adverts and were trying to avoid mailing to those who do mind. Nevermind how short that list may be, it sounds like that's the list they wanted and didn't get. It sounds like they were trying to be good Netizens, after all. And, of course, Slashdot calls them "spammers" and the readers just assume they are.

Would real spammers sue their list providers for this?

Re:Are they spammers? (1)

ttyp0 (33384) | about 12 years ago | (#3195815)

Sure they would sue if they are spammers or not. These days suing seems to be a new revenue stream for dot coms.

Sure..... (4, Funny)

shawnmelliott (515892) | about 12 years ago | (#3195724)

To: Mr Spammer
From: Me
Subject: Opt-In

Hello, just wanted to say hi. Hope you get this and please please don't forget to let me in on special offers, pornography, get rich quick schemes and fantastic trips for 2

Sincerely,
Me

the owner's 22? (1)

Thng (457255) | about 12 years ago | (#3195732)

Kansas City, Mo.-based direct marketing firm Virtumundo is seeking damages...Privately held Virtumundo, run by 22-year-old founder and sole shareholder Lynn..
22 years old and her own business. I should start a spamming compnay and get rich fast, and maybe even increase my penis size and stamina while losing 10lbs in one week!

Re:the owner's 22? (2, Interesting)

Binky The Oracle (567747) | about 12 years ago | (#3195798)

Oh great, I can see the new spam scheme now...

I got rich quick and here's how you can too. (Thanks, by the way for sending me your $29.95)

The secret is in knowing that you can sue anyone for anything and receive millions in damages. All you have to do is start a legitimate advertising company (See FCC Regulation 405.32/G) and purchase lists of email names from several list brokers that provide opt-in addresses.

Send email with a fabulous offer (like this one) to everyone on those lists. When you start getting legal threats from the recipients (and you will), all you have to do is turn around and sue the list broker for providing you with an inaccurate list.

The secret is that nobody can sue you for spam yet, but you can sue a business for selling your business a product that caused irreparable harm to your public image. Sweet, huh?

Sigh.

YES!!!! (2)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | about 12 years ago | (#3195735)

This is a good thing.

Proper Opt-in lists are a good thing. Now, if someone sells a non-opt in list or SPAMMING software, making the claim that it is a valid marketing method, they should be hung out to dry.

I for one would be happy to testify in this type of case.


Bitching and moaning, does not cut it. You must fight the SPAM!

3rd party confidential list. (3, Interesting)

Romancer (19668) | about 12 years ago | (#3195737)


It'd be interesting to have an agency that you could send your e-mail address and preferences to that could be checked by potential buyers of e-mail lists.

It could serve as a free service to the people who care enough to act on their need not to recieve spam. Any reputible company would check their databases with the 3rd party database and remove the e-mail addresses of people who opted out of all spam. Maximizing their direct marketing costs of sending out mailings.

As always, (2)

mlknowle (175506) | about 12 years ago | (#3195740)

As always, it's the lawyers who win!

One scumball sues another, or the good guys sue the bad guys, or the bad guys sue the good guys, the lawyers never lose!

Forget IT, that's what my career should have been.

Always "Opt-In" (2)

rufusdufus (450462) | about 12 years ago | (#3195743)

I always "opt in" on these things with a fake email address. I hope to water down thier lists so they will eventually just give up.
If enough people did this, those lists might go away.

Another place where you get this is on product registration. Usually the agreement is in the fine print somewhere on paper so you don't get warned during the registration. Usually something about business partners.

Re:Always "Opt-In" (2)

Asgard (60200) | about 12 years ago | (#3195852)

Intentionally opting in (to a default-opt-out) w/a bogus address just makes the good guy's (if they exist) life harder. If it is a default-opt-in, then perhaps it is ok.

Re:Always "Opt-In" (1)

toebee84 (567800) | about 12 years ago | (#3195878)

Be careful with "fake" email addresses. The domain name very well could exist. You would not believe the information that people send to me because they are not aware the domain name of the email address they are using is not fake.

Spammer 101 (2)

SkewlD00d (314017) | about 12 years ago | (#3195746)

They also use web 'bots that search the internet for all email addrs and spam anything they find. Heck, you could even use dns to spam every domain such as abuse@x.com webmaster@x.com etc. Evil, and spammers do far worse. Heck, all those "enter to win a prize" at your local radio stations, etc. probably sell their info to the spam listers and mass-mailers to make addition revenue.

stealth opt-in email lists (1)

DFossmeister (186254) | about 12 years ago | (#3195750)

I know that I have never consiously opted-in for spam, but I get it on my "registration" email account quite frequently (I maintain a registration account that I only use when registering for things--thus I do not need to pay attention to it often).

When registering for things over the net, sometimes the terms of service require that you accept email from them. Of course their privacy statement says that they will never divulge your information, but we all know that this is not true. Just think about EggHead, or any other company that sold its assets while getting their listing on fuckedcompany.com.

Then there is the fine print on the email. "By reading this email, you consent to be included in our email list. If you with to unsubscribe, please click on this link which really doesn't work anyway."

All in all, I think this is a good step by the SPAM company to limit its liability. If someone sues the spammer, he can point his finger elsewhere and say that they bought a list of verified opt-in email addresses, and that in good faith, he wasn't sending SPAM to anyone who didn't want it.

DFossMeister

Spamming For Dumbasses (1, Informative)

t0qer (230538) | about 12 years ago | (#3195754)

Uhh, this isn't a troll, it's a true story and it might shed somelight on how spam operators do their dirty deeds.

About 2 months ago I had the chance to take a road trip with one of my best buds to go see his father down in bakersfield. For those that don't know what bakersfield is, it's a shithole of a dirty little town somewhere between Sacramento and LA on the I5.

Now if it's a shithole of a little town, why would I in my right mind want to go there, sleep on a floor for 3 days, and eat crappy food. Well, my friends dad *supposidly* had a T1 line going into his apartment and was running spam operations from that. I told my friend that's bullshit, Ma bell don't run T1's to anything but businesses, i've ordered enough of them to know.

We got down there, I was expecing to walk in, and find a wirespeed DSL modem or something. Upon closer inspection I found a CSU/DSU and a cisco 2500 router. Holy shit this guy really did have a T1 line. I started talking to him about the legal/social ramifications of his business. After about 30 minutes of talking to him I could tell, he got a hair up his butt one day thinking spam was going to be a big money maker for him, paid someone to set him up and that was it. Not only did he not have a clue that hijacking someones SMTP server is bad, but he said SMTP servers that don't run open relays are interferring with his ability to do business and started screaming "ITS MY RIGHT TO SPAM AND ANYONE WHO TRIES TO STOP ME IS INTRUDING ON MY AMERICAN RIGHTS TO RUN A BUSINESS"

I stopped talking to him after that. He just would not accept that using someone elses server without their permission is just plain wrong. Anyways...

He started trying to talk me and my friend into getting into the business with him. I told him it would be a conflict of interest for me because I am a sysadmin of course, but I would be more than happy to watch him work to learn for myself.

His network consisted of 6 win98 machines, 1 BSD box that he had no idea what it did. They ran some windows GUI based tool called SMTPscan. Basically it had 2 boxes to input your IP range into, it would scan that range and report back usable servers. I can't remember the actual name of the program he used to send the mail with, but I remember him pasting that list from SMTP scan into it.

Also to note was his lack of a true list management system. His remove e-mails pointed back to a hotmail account so his main server would be isolated from any attacks. He would manually go into his hotmail account. These removes did nothing though, let me explain it from his point of view.

Basically when your remove yourself from a spam list, it's just for that spam. The spammer still has a list for some new product that he hasn't sent out yet, if he hasn't sent it out how can you be removed?

So this guy maintains a list of 4,000,000 e-mails and ALLWAYS spams to all of them. Legally he's found a loophole to cover his ass and can happily spam the same list as long as he's selling something different.

I just wanted to post this so everyone would know, spammers aren't really the most technically minded people. To them it's
1. Spam
2. ****
3. Profit

While to us it's
1.Spam
2.Flood someone elses server, slander some legit company by relaying pr0n spam. Eat Bandwidth
3. Profit

I hope you enjoyed this post, please mod accordingly if you did.

--toq

Re:Spamming For Dumbasses (4, Funny)

Dr Caleb (121505) | about 12 years ago | (#3195847)

Tell us where he lives. Street, apartment# etc. We'll send the boys over to his house and have a leeeetle talk with him.

Better yet, give us his IP address and we can let our fingers do the walking.

Re:Spamming For Dumbasses (2)

rufusdufus (450462) | about 12 years ago | (#3195866)

In Washington State, it is illegal to send spam period. Isnt this the case is California as well? Why don't you post his name/address so a right minded Californian can do something about it?

Re:Spamming For Dumbasses (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3195868)

how many times have you posted this article?

Re:Spamming For Dumbasses (1)

ethereal (13958) | about 12 years ago | (#3195872)

Here's what I want to know: did he really make any money at it? Was he even breaking even on the T1 costs?

Not that I'm going into that business myself, but the conventional wisdom is that spamming doesn't pay. So either this guy is too dumb to notice, or it really does pay and we've been miscalculating the intelligence of spammers all along.

I mean, c'mon (1)

inerte (452992) | about 12 years ago | (#3195879)

Even I can cut and paste. Check it out:

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=28821&cid=30 95 261

Where's the outrage? (2, Funny)

GungaDan (195739) | about 12 years ago | (#3195891)

And where's the violence? I mean, was he a larger man than you physically? Was he armed? This story would be a whole lot better if it ended with: "and then I skinned him with a straight razor and soaked him in pickle brine."

Buyer Beware (1)

cassandy (557648) | about 12 years ago | (#3195755)

Reading the article makes it seem more like a 'buyer beware' situation than a court case where the company will actually get money.

Most people don't use their real email address when registering for something, especially not if it's 'free'. So it can be expected that a lot of emails on a list like that will be fake.

OTOH, the 'opt-in' thing could hold up or not in court. If there is a forced opt-in for a registration, some people still register, then wait until the first spam comes and send back a msg saying that they didn't ask for any spam in the first place.

Meh. I can see the company winning maybe legal fees but probably nothing else.

The best thing about this article... (1)

eaeolian (560708) | about 12 years ago | (#3195757)

...is not that the spammers might be getting it rammed to them in court.

It's that the company buying from them has the nerve to act like it was some kind of surprise. "An email list company collecting addresses without permission? I'm stunned..."

Ya gotta love it when companies that rely on buying marketing lists - always a little shady to begin with - start questioning ethics. Maybe I should show them the "Junk Mail" folder for my Hotmail account...

Eat thos spammers (-1, Offtopic)

3.141592653589793 (565525) | about 12 years ago | (#3195764)

5458945904r45@fdffd.net gfidr9034094405r05445jfifgrfojkld@fgdfkjlsj.org rlpf4987049455@txrtfdfld.co.uk fdfkdrf9dfdfd@odslakffsfd.nz f454504445044@atsitgfklSLASHDOTfkdsfkds.com Bogus e-mail adresses for all of you!

PostmasterGeneral (2)

PD (9577) | about 12 years ago | (#3195776)

I used to invoke mutt with a script that sent a complaint message to abuse@postmastergeneral.com every time I read my e-mail.

They claimed that all their lists were opt-in, but actually they had no idea. They accepted lists from their customers and took their word that they were opt-in. They would happily remove you from their mailing lists, but the next customer that submitted a list that included your name would automatically re-add your name.

So, the perfect solution to me was to simply complain about all the goddamn spam regardless of whether I had received any or not. That would remove my name from all their mailing lists *for that day*. It solved my problem completely. I don't give a fuck about whatever problems I might have caused for them.

Earlier article at bizjournals.com (3, Informative)

gregfortune (313889) | about 12 years ago | (#3195802)

Here's a link [bizjournals.com] to an earlier article than the newsbytes story although it's very sparse on details. Looks like they *might* have contact info for Inurv though... Phone number perhaps?

"Officials at Inurv could not be reached for comment."

Nothing Wrong Here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3195831)

"This article describes a lawsuit brought by a spam company against a list brokerage warehouse for selling e-mail addresses of persons who didn't opt-in"

This sounds good. This is someone who actually expected an opt in/out system to work.

That was not sarcasm, many people would not object to targetted (mass) email for services that they were interested in - if they could be sure of getting off the list when they want to.

Of course, I don't suppose that there are many of us who would choose to subscribe to the get rich quick / penis enlargement / gogocity (spamming &%&^% - had to mention them...) lists.

Assuming it's true, good for them! (3, Insightful)

jdreed1024 (443938) | about 12 years ago | (#3195835)

Assuming that Virtumundo really did get screwed when they were given a bogus database, then kudos to them for showing that they are a somewhat responsible company.

It would appear that they are different from Joe Spammer who uses Korean mail servers and provides a bogus reply-to address. The fact that they even read the complaints they got proves that they aren't out to (purposely) screw people.

I've gotten some things that I thought were complete spam, but when researching where they originated from, I realized there were times when signing up on a website, I forgot to uncheck all of the "I want to receive e-mail from our partner sites" buttons. While they really should be opt-in, instead of opt-out, it's my own damn fault for not double-checking my work.

I have no problem receiving advertising mail if it's because I forgot to uncheck a box, or accidentally checked a box. The problem is when there's no way to get off the list. It sounds like these folks actually read replies and care about whether they're spamming or not, and if so, good for them. Personally, I think e-mail marketing is a waste of bandwidth, but if I can prevent myself from receiving junk mails in the future, I don't have a problem with it.

(On the other hand, they could just be some schmoes who spammed knowingly or on purpose, and are now just trying to pass the buck.)

There are spammers in the US? (1)

ttyp0 (33384) | about 12 years ago | (#3195840)

It's funny, I can't recall a single junk email ever received from a legitimate US network address. Either the Japanese and Russians are the only enterprising spammers, or the US spammers aren't as 'legit' as they claim to be.
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