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Judge In e360 Vs. Comcast Rules e360 a Spammer

kdawson posted about 6 years ago | from the are-too dept.

Spam 156

Brielle Bruns writes "Yesterday, Judge James B. Zagel dismissed claims against Comcast by e360. In the decision, the judge says: 'Plaintiff e360Insight, LLC is a marketer. It refers to itself as an Internet marketing company. Some, perhaps even a majority of people in this country, would call it a spammer.' This clears the path for Comcast's counter-suit." e360 is the spammer that got a default judgement against Spamhaus, as we have discussed on numerous occasions.

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CvE (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23037168)

Plaintiff e360Insight, LLC is a marketer. It refers to itself as an Internet marketing company. Some, perhaps even a majority of people in this country, would call it a spammer.' This clears the path for Comcast's counter-suit.

Comcast vs. e360Insight: Whoever loses, we win.

Re:CvE (2, Insightful)

Shadowland (574647) | about 6 years ago | (#23038800)

> Comcast vs. e360Insight: Whoever loses, we win.

Or is that:
Comcast vs. e360Insight: Whoever wins, we lose.

I guess it depends on if you are a "glass half full" or "glass half empty" kind of person. :^)

Re:CvE (3, Funny)

misleb (129952) | about 6 years ago | (#23039148)

At least Comcast offers services that people actually WANT. You may not like some of their policies, but they are what I would call a "positive" business. That is, as opposed to a negative business like e360 that acts more as a parasite offering "services" that consumers don't really want and quite often hate. They leech off the system.

I say, "Go Comcast!"

What's the distinguishing characteristic? (2, Interesting)

imstanny (722685) | about 6 years ago | (#23037176)

I get snail mail advertisements all the time; to me they are spam. What's the difference between unsoliticed snail-mail marketing and unsolicited email 'spam'?

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (3, Insightful)

DragonPup (302885) | about 6 years ago | (#23037224)

The snail mail sender pays for the entire cost of the message(paper, printing, delivery, etc). The spammer shares his cost with the recipient's ISP.

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (1, Interesting)

toleraen (831634) | about 6 years ago | (#23037300)

Snail mail sender didn't pay their share of my paper shredder though.

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (4, Informative)

Firethorn (177587) | about 6 years ago | (#23037930)

It's your option to shred, toss, or burn the mail in a furnace in the wintertime.

Still, the [i]majority[/i] of the costs are borne by the mailer, thus resulting in limites to the amount, and at least some specifivity. Not to mention that in order to get the best rates you have to identify yourself to the post office pretty well. This limits the amount of scamming that can be done as the scammers are normally stuck paying first class if they want to do anonymous drops. That increases costs to the point it has to be a very good scam or very selectively mailed if the scammer is to have any hope of making money and avoiding the postal police.

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | about 6 years ago | (#23038616)

burn the mail in a furnace in the wintertime
Funny you should say that. As I sit here typing, there is a BBQ less than fifteen feet from me full of smoldering junk mail and ID-sensitive documents (after shredding).

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (4, Informative)

sherriw (794536) | about 6 years ago | (#23038118)

There's no need to shred un-addressed junk mail (like flyers). If you are getting junk / offers addressed directly to you, I've had good results with calling those companies and asking to be removed from their mailing lists. Typically they don't want to pay the postage for mailing to an uninterested person.

Now I get essentially zero addressed junk mail.

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (4, Insightful)

ZuG (13394) | about 6 years ago | (#23037394)

You know, it just occured to me that this is really false.

The spammer shares the costs with the recipient's ISP, and ultimately the recipient (through increased ISP costs). The cost of any one individual spam is very low, but taken together they quickly become noticable.

The junk snail mailer pays for all of the mailing costs, but each piece of junk mail he sends must be recycled or thrown away, creating a small effect on the cost of garbage for each individual user. The cost of any individual junk mail is very low, but taken together, they do have an appreciable effect on the cost of trash collection.

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (4, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | about 6 years ago | (#23037622)

The spammer shares the costs with the recipient's ISP, and ultimately the recipient (through increased ISP costs). The cost of any one individual spam is very low, but taken together they quickly become noticable.
That's not really correct. A spammer might have to pay as much as you or I do in terms of costs, but they're getting that amount times millions and millions for free. Since the biggest names these days generally are using bot nets and co-opting servers the cost to the spammer is in most cases essentially zero.

It's sort of like paying $5 for a car and making somebody else pay the rest of the sticker cost for a luxury car. Yes technically they're both paying, but even street people around here can get their hands on $5 without too much trouble.

Trying to fight spam with legislation doesn't have a chance without global cooperation, and the Russians in particular just don't care, as do a few other nations. It's difficult to deal with places like the US where most of the spam originating from here is doing so from compromised computers.

Technical deterrents are difficult to get right, and while they do allow for some help, it's impossible to really fix it. It makes a difference, but with the current net architecture it's a challenge to stop spam and have anonymity as well.

Ultimately what things come down to is making it less rewarding. What we really need is the ability to fine companies that are paying spammers to advertise for them. Admittedly it would be nice to see spammers drawn and quartered, but realistically, it's far easier to find Target, Walmart, Bestbuy and the other companies I've seen advertised than it is to find a cyber criminal that may or may not be located somewhere in southeast Asia. It's just so much easier to follow the money than it is to try and follow the spam.

Of course that's going to be fought tooth and nail, and I'm sure there are other problems with it. But it's a far easier solution to the problem than the others are. Of course, that isn't a license to ignore the other parts.

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (2, Insightful)

Aquaseafoam (1271478) | about 6 years ago | (#23037748)

Were the above the case, what's to stop someone concocting fake spam to cause financial damage to a company? You'd have to catch them red handed or they could just deny, deny, deny....

Linhardt is claiming that with me. (5, Interesting)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | about 6 years ago | (#23037950)

I am suing e360Insight for illegal spamming. http://www.barbieslapp.com/spam/e360/e360insight.htm [barbieslapp.com]

In their failed summary judgment motion (asking the court to dismiss the case based on some evidence), they claim that the spam I tracked to them is not theirs, but it must be someone trying to make them look bad because: 1. They don't spam; 2. That it could have been created in a word processor using publically available information; 3. They don't format their e-mails that way; 4. That it did not come from their IP addresses.

e360 ignored that they have used Atriks, which hides the true IP address by running it through a sort of legal botnet. They also ignored that they use anonymous domain name registrations, so I must have been a good guesser to get most of the domain names correct (their co-Defendant, Moniker, admitted that most of the domain names I identified to e360 were registered through them to bargaindepot.net -- their sister company/codefendant).

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23037660)

The cost of 1 piece of mail is about 41 cents. The cost of an email is so small its a fraction of a traction of a cent. Big difference.

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (1, Flamebait)

nuzak (959558) | about 6 years ago | (#23038060)

Know how much bandwidth a mail server needs? Quadruple it. That's just to handle the spam. Is that free?

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (3, Interesting)

Itninja (937614) | about 6 years ago | (#23039126)

Sure is (or at least was). I knew a guy who got into the spammer business about 8 years ago (he's out now). I asked him the same question. He was sending a couple of million emails a day and I figured his cost for bandwidth must have been huge. But he told me it was all about the scheduling. He paid standard residential rates for ADSL and just scheduled his email server to send out no more email at one time than he could before the ISP caught on. Bascially he was just using 100% of the bandwidth he was paying for, whereas most residential users only use a small portion. Of course, as time went on, the ISP tightened their AUP and just flat out told him 'we know you running a mail server from your house and we won't allow it'. But at his peak he said he was making something like $1000/mo. He told me once he calculated his cost per ad was like 1/10000000 (one-billionth) of a cent.

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (3, Informative)

BenSchuarmer (922752) | about 6 years ago | (#23037666)

Contact the advertisers and tell them to take you off their list. Unlike spammers, junk mailers generally honor opt-out requests (they don't want to pay for paper and postage if you tell them there's no chance you'll buy something from them).

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (2, Interesting)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | about 6 years ago | (#23038156)

The junk snail mailer pays for all of the mailing costs, but each piece of junk mail he sends must be recycled or thrown away, creating a small effect on the cost of garbage for each individual user. The cost of any individual junk mail is very low, but taken together, they do have an appreciable effect on the cost of trash collection.

I've read about some countires in Europe and other places placing a surtax on goods to handle the cost of disposal (for the packing materials only, IIRC). Maybe something similar on bulk mail is in order.

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (1)

Skrynesaver (994435) | about 6 years ago | (#23038644)

Actually IEE directive from Europe is added to all electrical goods and the seller is obliged to recycle the replaced item

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 6 years ago | (#23038870)

In Canada, you can place a sticker with the words "No Junk Mail" on the inside of the door of your mail box and then you won't get any. That doesn't work with email.

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (3, Informative)

ivan256 (17499) | about 6 years ago | (#23037398)

Every week I fill a 35 gallon trash bag with junk mail. I then pay to throw out (recycle) said bag of junk mail. Entire cost, my ass.

In municipalities that provide trash collection, the government ends up paying that part of the costs of direct mail advertising.

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (2, Interesting)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | about 6 years ago | (#23037472)

Hm, I probably wouldn't mind junk mail so much if there were an easy way to liquify nonmetallic material and use it as fuel for my home...

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (3, Insightful)

RingDev (879105) | about 6 years ago | (#23037530)

You mean like in a fireplace or non-gas/electric furnace?

-Rick

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | about 6 years ago | (#23037570)

I was hoping something that doesn't pollute or have horrific smell (do I repeat myself?) like maybe a fuel cell sort of deal.

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23037500)

At the end of the day, the government still contributes to the USPS. Do you really think that the few cents they charge per letter would fully cover the cost of snail mail?

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23037910)

At the end of the day, the government still contributes to the USPS.

No they don't. Not at all. Not even in the middle of the day.

Do you really think that the few cents they charge per letter would fully cover the cost of snail mail?

Yes. [usps.com] And why the "few cents" exaggeration? IS that the only way you can hope to make your point?

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (4, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | about 6 years ago | (#23037722)

Well for me in my City Garbage is a fixed cost per year. So if I use it or not I pay the same amount... However junk mail helps keep the United States Postage Service running. And for relitivly low stamp prices for the level of service the USPS offers us. Daily Home Deliver and Pickup a close by location to get federal forms. Witout Junk Mail Stamps will be well over a dollar a stamp. Mail delivery will be much slower and a lot of other bad things...

SPAM on the otherhand is advertising without the good. They dont support services that we want they are a burden on ISPs even the company who chooses to Spam reputation (albiet I havent seen a legit product being sold in years) will be shot. It really is a take-take indrustry that gives nothing back. At least tobaco comanies keep generations of farmers in business. SPAM operations run cheap make money without any benefit they are not a positive impact on the economy, they do no good.

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23038204)

I really don't care if it does keep the post office running. I would happily pay a couple dollars to send a letter in the extremely rare case that I do have to send a letter, in order to avoid being bombarded with unsolicited advertisements (many of which you really can't opt out of without significant effort) when I open my mailbox.

How often does anyone need to send mail anymore? Bills can be paid online. Most documents can be sent electronically. USPS isn't needed for shipping (and now they have can canceled their cheap surface international shipping). The only case I can think of is sending documents that require a pen & ink signature.

Access to federal forms? Just download + print.

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about 6 years ago | (#23038436)

Well B2B comminication is still a lot of mail that goes on. Having B2B at $1.00 per letter can get very espensive very quickly.

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23037750)

Send it back. You must do this. Write on the envelope "gone away" or "not known at this address" and put it in the nearest postbox.

If you do this (1) the sender has to bear the postage cost of the returned item, (2) they have to dispose of the returned item, (3) you get taken off their list since they have no easy way to determine if you really have gone away or not.

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (4, Funny)

randyest (589159) | about 6 years ago | (#23038080)

You should stop doing that. Instead, stuff all the spam back into the postage-paid business reply cards envelopes they send. With a little tape, you can really fit a lot of paper into one of those. They look like balloons when I mail them back. And the mail-spammer gets to pay the postage for the trash back to them! Free for me, helps the post office with a little revenue, and financially penalizes the mail spammers -- that's win/win/win!

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (1)

jcr (53032) | about 6 years ago | (#23038136)

Every week I fill a 35 gallon trash bag with junk mail.

Wow, I thought I got a lot. My paper spam is only about a 1-foot stack each week.

-jcr

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | about 6 years ago | (#23037760)

The difference is, with snail spam, it's going to be delivered, and then you're going to have to deal with it. You're still going to pay the cost of throwing it away, recycling it, etc.

With email spam, there are several stages where you can block the connection before the mail is delivered, thus reducing the cost to you. Not completely eliminating it, but reducing it. I know of no similar steps to take with snail spam.

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (4, Informative)

geekboy642 (799087) | about 6 years ago | (#23038092)

Careful, your ignorance is showing. Do you honestly believe there are no ways to block junk mail before it is delivered? Here's a helpful exercise: every time you find something you don't know, throw it into Google and skim the first five links or so. Here's what my 10 seconds of casual effort dug up:

This will block 90%+ of junk mail, and I actually signed up months ago. The only junk mail I get is a local free newspaper that just gets stuffed into every box regardless.
http://www.dmaconsumers.org/consumerassistance.php [dmaconsumers.org]

This thing is pure gold. It will block ALL of those "pre-approved" credit card offers. You know the ones, they come with a 29.99% APR, a $650 limit, and yearly fees? Well, at least the ones my wife gets do. I signed up on this thing and I haven't had a single one since.
https://www.optoutprescreen.com/ [optoutprescreen.com]

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (3, Informative)

zerocool^ (112121) | about 6 years ago | (#23038564)

For those who are skeptical (and i'm one) regarding the fraud or non-fraud of optoutprescreen.com, See this:

One: Verisign signature.

SITE NAME: www.optoutprescreen.com

SSL CERTIFICATE
STATUS: Valid (28-Sep-2006 to 18-Oct-2008)

COMPANY/
ORGANIZATION: CONSUMER DATA INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION
Washington
District of Columbia, US

        Encrypted Data Transmission This Web site can secure your private information using a VeriSign SSL Certificate. Information exchanged with any address beginning with https is encrypted using SSL before transmission.
        Identity Verified CONSUMER DATA INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION has been verified as the owner or operator of the Web site located at www.optoutprescreen.com. Official records confirm CONSUMER DATA INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION as a valid business.


Two: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/credit/prescreen.shtm [ftc.gov]

FTC.gov page about the website.

There are also some blog entries around the web where people have had the same feelings about the website and it's possibility of fraud. As always, do your own research. But it looks legit.

~Wx

But if I did that... (1)

PRMan (959735) | about 6 years ago | (#23038572)

But if I blocked all the credit card offers, how would my wife and I continue to float thousands of dollars at 0% for years and never pay a dime for the privilege???

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (1)

momerath2003 (606823) | about 6 years ago | (#23038898)

Thanks, but even though this is legitimate, I'm NOT interested in handing my name, address, SSN, and so forth to a thousand marketing companies on a silver platter.

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | about 6 years ago | (#23039062)

I agree. Although if you think about it, they already have your name and address. It's the SSN I need to keep to myself. Can we opt out with each individual source without revealing it?

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (1)

slash.duncan (1103465) | about 6 years ago | (#23038324)

Snail mail spam does allow a couple ways to get rid of it upstream.

1) At least here in the US, while the postal service doesn't do traditional blocks (but see below), I believe the regulations require advertisers to remove one's name from their lists if asked to do so. The mail must be individually addressed to make that possible, altho it can be addressed to "occupant", but it must have an individual street or whatever address. I believe bulk rate must also have something (often the small card with the individual to address; small cards often get lost and are in any case hard to find among the newsprint) listing the sender, as well, so a customer may send a removal request.

I've asked for removal from several regular mail spammers around here, and they've done their part. The problem however is that the post office doesn't always do /their/ part. First, as mentioned, those little address cards often get separated from the bulk of the newsprint and etc that forms most of the ad bundle. Technically, this is a violation of USPS regulations, the mail must be delivered in its entirety including the address card, and you can call your postmaster to complain.

Second, with bulk mail, the tendency of the carrier is often to just shove it into each box sequentially, never looking at the address on the card. After you get your name removed from the marketer's list (as I mentioned, I've had no problems with that part), you'll often still get it -- if you look at the address however, it was to the neighbor next in line (or two or three down, if several have had their addresses removed). Thus, taking your name off lists doesn't always help. However, again, and this is a more serious issue due to the privacy and mail integrity implications, delivering mail to the wrong address is against USPS regulations. This one's therefore DEFINITELY worth calling the postmaster and complaining about.

Unfortunately I've not yet followed thru on that, so can't say how effective it might be. Also note that if your complaint causes the local postmaster to come down hard on your local carrier, as it SHOULD for the regularly getting the neighbor's mail case, you could end up on not so friendly terms with said mail carrier. One would HOPE they'd be professional about it, but one would HOPE they'd not have to be told to deliver the mail to the correct address, too.

2) I've not tried this, but someone mentioned it somewhere I was reading, and it sounded reasonable, so I'm passing it on entirely without vouching for the authenticity thereof. Apparently, there's a regulation allowing people to file to block mail they consider obscene. Apparently, some folks took to using this to block advertising. Apparently, when the USPS didn't respond in such advertising cases, someone took them to court. Apparently, the resulting court decision included a ruling that only the individual can decide what's obscene to them, and thus, if they fill out the appropriate paperwork, the USPS is obligated to block mail from that sender to that recipient -- with serious legal repercussions if they fail to do so!

If this is correct and as should be plain from the language above I've no idea, just passing on what I read in the hope that it's useful, this method should allow you to block certain mail entirely, with legal action possible should the USPS fail to do so. Naturally, the USPS isn't entirely happy about such obligations and doesn't make it easy to find this information. However, a stop at the post office to request the obscene mail blocking form should get you on your way, and verify one way or another whether this is correct, in the process.

Hope that's useful and that postal services in other countries have something similar if not better. Of course, if anyone could verify the obscene mail block bit, preferably with a pointer to an authoritative source, it'd help me as well. =8^)

Duncan

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23037810)

And the other mail that can't fit in my mailbox because of all the spam? I have to waste gas to go pick it up at the main office. Fuck you and your costs.

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (1)

kindbud (90044) | about 6 years ago | (#23038434)

The snail mail sender pays for the entire cost of the message(paper, printing, delivery, etc). The spammer shares his cost with the recipient's ISP.

That's getting dangerously close to an argument the carriers would use to justify charging content providers for delivery of their content to end users. If everyone is in agreement that no one should be able to force extra infrastructure charges on someone else beyond what was planned for, then what defense do we have against AT&T assessing a surcharge on YouTube?

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23037256)

The difference is one usually is made of felled trees, processed with additional fossil fuel energy,
printed with toxic inks, and loaded onto diesel spewing trucks to be delivered to your doorstep.

The other one is virtual. The energy it costs to deliver it to you is negligible, as is the required
energy to properly dispose of it. (hit delete)

Oh yeah, also if you have a decent spam filter you will RARELY get unsolicited emails.

There is NO DECENT FILTER for snail spam.

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (1)

Reece400 (584378) | about 6 years ago | (#23037308)

Well, recycling anything addressed to 'current resident' or without an address at all, gets rid of a good chunk..

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (1)

sqlrob (173498) | about 6 years ago | (#23037320)

There is NO DECENT FILTER for snail spam.

yes, there is. Form 1500.

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (1)

toleraen (831634) | about 6 years ago | (#23037352)

I'd be glad to get the kind of spam Form 1500 blocks. Unfortunately, that makes up 0% of the spam I have ever received.

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23037602)

You are allowed to define "pornographic content" as anything you wish and the post office can not rule against it.

http://sowhatcanido.blogspot.com/2005/04/stop-junk-mail_01.html

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (1)

Amouth (879122) | about 6 years ago | (#23037692)

this is why i let my wife check the mail... now i only get what is worth while....

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (1)

somersault (912633) | about 6 years ago | (#23037806)

The energy it costs to deliver it to you is negligible, as is the required energy to properly dispose of it. (hit delete)

Actually, if you add up all the energy that was ever used by computers and networks to send and receive spam, I'm sure it would probably involve a fair amount of pollution and wasted energy. What percentage of a random sample of internet packets travelling through an ISPs backbone is going to be spam related? Probably quite a lot..

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (3, Informative)

L0stm4n (322418) | about 6 years ago | (#23037826)

The other one is virtual. The energy it costs to deliver it to you is negligible, as is the required
energy to properly dispose of it. (hit delete)

Oh yeah, also if you have a decent spam filter you will RARELY get unsolicited emails.

There is NO DECENT FILTER for snail spam.
It costs money to power the antispam machines, the extra machines needed to process the mail that gets through and wasted time of people deleting it. I used to work for an ISP/hosting joint. Small mom and pop place. 1 server would have been plenty to deal with our load, except for the spam. a couple hundred domains spam going through our mailservers forced us to cluster up to 6 machines to deal with the filtering.

I can sort my snailmail spam from real mail in a couple seconds. With electronic spam I have to tweak filters and still end up deleting a good amount from my inbox which takes time.

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (1)

Reece400 (584378) | about 6 years ago | (#23037270)

It costs nothing to anyone but the sender in snail mail, where as with email it costs all parties for the bandwidth. Similar to fax spam which cost the end user the paper & ink..

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23037448)

That's not true. Just because you don't pay for it doesn't mean it doesn't "cost".
We call that an externality in econ 101.

It costs the USPS money to deliver it. Money that raises stamp prices, or paid via taxes.
It costs diesel (or sometimes CNG) to power the trucks to deliver it to your doorstep.
Probably the most expensive single item the USPS pays for = fuel, I would guess.

The money it costs per spam item via snail mail vs. email is a BIG difference.

A billion messages probably costs a few dollars to deliver. Now imagine a billion letters.

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (3, Insightful)

pipatron (966506) | about 6 years ago | (#23037850)

It costs the USPS money to deliver it. Money that raises stamp prices, or paid via taxes.

Ok, so, let's see. The less customers USPS have, the lower the price for stamps?

If everyone sent 50 letters/day, the stamp price would be so high, it would be unthinkable?

Apparently I fail to follow this logic.

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | about 6 years ago | (#23038116)

Actually, Labor is the largest expense of the USPS not fuel.

The USPS is not an "on demand" entity. The carriers still run their routes regardless if there is a piece of mail destined for an address. Each rural mailbox and postal center collection box must be checked for outgoing mail. Every postal employee that is full time gets paid regardless of the work load.

Now what junk mail does is offset the expense that the USPS has to pay on a daily basis. The more junk mail passing through the postal system, the more revenue being generated to offset the costs.

SPAM, on the other hand, generates cost as both MONETARY such as the cost to mitigate the additional flow of email and INFRASTRUCTURE as performance suffers as some non-spam mail may get lost in the process.

Unlike SPAM, Junk mail has value in job creation. It take labor to create the paper, ink, and equipment. There are workers who generate the mailings and deliver the mailings to the postal service and (as mentioned before) keeps the postal system employed.

SPAM only benefits the spammer...

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (1, Insightful)

Reece400 (584378) | about 6 years ago | (#23038126)

USPS is no longer part of the government, they are a corporation. They wouldn't deliver something for less that it cost to get it there...

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (1)

fuocoZERO (1008261) | about 6 years ago | (#23037296)

I'm not sure on this beacuse I haven't seen any documentation, but I was told by a company that does large mailings for other companies (like junk mail) that there are laws going into place that make sending mail to "Current Resident" (and the like) illegal and punishable by fine.

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (3, Insightful)

Wuhao (471511) | about 6 years ago | (#23037412)

If you were asking what the difference is in the context of acceptability, junk mail senders are forced to pay the carrier -- the postal service -- for every piece of mail they generate. When I want to send a package through USPS, I can, and the fact that the junk mailers are also using the postal service has only made it easier, since they carry their own weight financially.

Spammers, on the other hand, force their carrier -- Internet mail servers -- to bear 100% of the cost while receiving no compensation. Thanks to this, mail administrators are now forced to spend an enormous amount of time worrying about keeping spammers out, instead of making sure that the mail of legitimate users gets delivered. When I want to e-mail someone, I am less likely to be able to do so successfully since it's possible to get caught up in the antispam measures that have been set up on the mail server, as well as the recipient's mail client.

In sum: junk mailers pay their carriers, and contribute to the maintenance of the service. Spammers pay nothing to the mail servers, and are a significant detriment to the service.

They're both annoying as shit to the recipient, though.

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (0)

twoshortplanks (124523) | about 6 years ago | (#23037582)

Surely a spammer pays for 50% of the cost of the bandwidth, since they pay their ISP just as you do.

What they don't pay for is 50% of the cost of running the mailserver, or the 50% of the cost of the bandwidth between your mailserver and your computer.

This, of course, is ignoring the fact that most spammers don't pay for anything - the actual spam is sent via a botnet, that a great number of people who aren't the spammer are paying to keep on the internet.

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (1)

Paradise Pete (33184) | about 6 years ago | (#23038302)

Surely a spammer pays for 50% of the cost of the bandwidth, since they pay their ISP just as you do.

Have you somehow missed all the bot-net articles?

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | about 6 years ago | (#23038318)

It's obvious that the 50% figure is from using the "Right Hand Extraction" method (aka pulling it out of your...), but let's talk about your reasoning behind the number.

All kidding aside, the spammer only pays for access to the internet. He does not in any way,shape, or form subsidize your access to the internet.

When you pay your ISP for internet access, you are paying for a certain amount of bandwidth for data and certain amount of storage space on the mail server. When you receive spam, you are losing the value of your investment since spam takes space from your email account without providing you any benefit and lowers your carriers ability to provide you the bandwidth you desired due to the incoming spam taking effective bandwidth away from the internet.

A more accurate statement would be:

While a spammer pays a small cost for access to the internet. None of the money spent by the spammer is used to offset the resulting expense and loss of ROI experienced by the recipient and the recipient's ISP.

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (1)

fbartho (840012) | about 6 years ago | (#23038570)

botnets.... Only an *honest* spammer would pay for it's share of bandwidth. And they are all low hanging fruit for people to stop, or they aren't enough of a nuisance in comparison.

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (1)

TheSkyIsPurple (901118) | about 6 years ago | (#23038802)

The only reason mail admins HAVE to keep spam out is that people expect it.
There's nothing saying you can't contract another party to receive your mail for you and junk it, in real life.

In any case, I still risk losing mail IRL because I tend to toss my junk mail, and sometimes I'll catch a random letter or bill in there... usually just as I toss it so I have to dig it out of the bin.

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (2, Interesting)

91degrees (207121) | about 6 years ago | (#23037490)

Very little. Ultimately I guess it comes down to quantity. There are at least some practical limitations on junk mail (paper and postage costs money).

If I had my way, junk mail would be opt-in only as well.

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (1)

introspekt.i (1233118) | about 6 years ago | (#23037518)

One makes me very angry and forces me to set up and maintain filters. The other one I can just wipe my bottom with. Watch out for paper cuts, though. Ouch.

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (3, Insightful)

doojsdad (1162065) | about 6 years ago | (#23037528)

Snail mail spam is what keeps the US Postal Service in business. They aren't going to fight very hard to prevent it.

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23037544)

Because with snail-spam, I can cut my heating bill, and piss off those hippy kids in one shot.

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (2, Funny)

ChuckSchwab (813568) | about 6 years ago | (#23037788)

WTF is with you people? Trying to draw all these hairsplitting lines between "okay" solitations and "not okay".

So-called "spam" is not the problem. The problem is that all you idiots use an outdated system that ALLOWS anyone to send information packets through it with zero traceability, zero accountability, zero credibility.

Isn't it *our* fault, collectively, for spam? For relying on such a crappy, corruptible system of communication in the first place? If we put a giant button on our homes that says "press to begin ignition process", we'd hardly be justified in claiming that button-pushers are the source of our ills.

As long as we're ordering our lives around such a corruptible system, we have precisely ZERO right to complain.

And I don't even hate "spam" like apparently the rest of you do. What you call "spam", I call "messages that give me info on the latest products, technologies, and business modesl." You want less of it? I want MORE of it. Hell, two weeks ago, I got a good deal on a prescription drug (that I won't name...) at about $50 for a year's supply. It takes a while to deliver (hasn't arrived yet), but you sure as hell can't beat the price.

And the fact is, that consumers LIKE spam. Why do you think spam is profitable? Because people buy the products advertised!

I think a study asked a bunch of questions about the internet to people to look for correlations and what they found was striking:

90% of people who think spam should be "eliminated some time in the future" have bought something on line. Does that make ANY sense whatsoever? You hate getting ads in your email, but you're all so eager to buy on line?

You asked for it? (1)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | about 6 years ago | (#23037980)

Are you saying a rape victim asked for it because she doesn't carry a ak-47? Bernie Goetz tried that, but he still got convicted for illegal discharge of a weapon when he 'felt' threatened on the train in NYC.

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (1)

ChrisA90278 (905188) | about 6 years ago | (#23038114)

What's the difference between unsoliticed snail-mail marketing and unsolicited email

Easy. With snail main the sender pays for it with a stamp. With spam the sender uses other people's resource to send the mail.

Actually look at spam from your point of view as an end user spam is a bit like jumk mail. All yuo have to do is sort out the crap and toss it out. but from the ISP's point of view spam is very costly. What if the junk-mailers used fake stamps? the post office would be very upset but you would not care much. This is what's going on with spam. the spammers are costing the ISP's a a lot of time and money

spam is more like telephone marketing than junk mailing.

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (1)

JackieBrown (987087) | about 6 years ago | (#23038550)

Parent was moderate flamebait? I guess there are some snail mail advertisers here

Re:What's the distinguishing characteristic? (1)

tinkerghost (944862) | about 6 years ago | (#23038624)

I get snail mail advertisements all the time; to me they are spam. What's the difference between unsolicited snail-mail marketing and unsolicited email 'spam'?
Truth in advertising laws apply to junk mail - including that the actual letter has to actually identify who it's from. Failure to do so is a Federal crime -- with actual jail time associated with it. The CAN_SPAM act was partially an attempt to bring the e-mail & s-mail rules closer together.

e360 vs Comcast? Yuck (2, Insightful)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | about 6 years ago | (#23037178)

A pox on both your houses...

This is like 4chan vs. The Church of Scientolog (except that in that case I have to clarify that it's 4chan I dislike, not the people joining their campaign as "Anonymous", and the Church of Scientology I dislike, not the people who simply believe in the underlying religious philosophy).

Btw, why is it that spammers ever appear in court? Why haven't vigilantes already made it a practice to terrorize anyone who publicly acts in furtherance of spamming?

Re:e360 vs Comcast? Yuck (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23037590)

Why haven't vigilantes already made it a practice to terrorize anyone who publicly acts in furtherance of spamming?
I've often asked myself that very question. If a pissed-off vigilante were to hunt down a spammer and kill him in cold blood, I have to wonder how the police would even begin an investigation. There's only what? half a billion suspects to consider?

Re:e360 vs Comcast? Yuck (4, Insightful)

CogDissident (951207) | about 6 years ago | (#23037592)

Ever hear of "blue security"? They made a program which, when you got spam email, went to the website and filled out their application with tons of "remove me" messages and junk, making their data files unuseable.

The spammers fought back so hard, they knocked the nation of Israel off the internet (where their offices/server was), for a few days.

The lesson? Spamming is big business.

Re:e360 vs Comcast? Yuck (1)

somersault (912633) | about 6 years ago | (#23037876)

the Church of Scientology I dislike, not the people who simply believe in the underlying religious philosophy
What is the actual underlying religious philosophy? You're saying you don't mind the members but you hate the organisation? Is that something akin to not liking McDonalds, but you don't mind speaking to people who are stupid enough to consider their food worth consuming?

Note: I do like other fast food places, just I always seem to end up with stomach problems after going to McDonalds, last time someone convinced me to go, I was off work for a few days.. and he was off for a couple of weeks :p

Official: e360 is a spammer (2, Interesting)

MadMidnightBomber (894759) | about 6 years ago | (#23037180)

Sorry, but that felt very good.

Where does this leave spamhaus v. e360 though?

Re:Official: e360 is a spammer (3, Interesting)

immcintosh (1089551) | about 6 years ago | (#23038012)

Leaves them right where they were before. e360 won default judgment against Spamhaus because Spamhaus didn't even deign come to court. This is, of course, because Spamhaus operates totally outside the jurisdiction of US courts, and they simply don't care. Not to mention I don't think any court will be inclined to do anything meaningful to actually enforce that judgment, so e360 has a nice big $11 million judgment that's effectively worthless. Especially considering Spamhaus is a non-profit, e360 will absolutely never collect a single penny.

Re:Official: e360 is a spammer (3, Informative)

D'Arque Bishop (84624) | about 6 years ago | (#23038562)

Leaves them right where they were before. e360 won default judgment against Spamhaus because Spamhaus didn't even deign come to court. This is, of course, because Spamhaus operates totally outside the jurisdiction of US courts, and they simply don't care.

IANAL, but actually, that's not QUITE accurate. If Spamhaus had said to begin with that the US courts lacked jurisdiction, that would have been the end of it and e360 would not have won anything. However, Spamhaus claimed in state court that the suit belonged in federal court, thus acknowledging that the federal courts had jurisdiction. THEN they didn't bother to show up in court, and lost a default judgement.

Now, whether e360 can get anything out of them is another matter entirely, but they probably could have avoided the whole mess by denying the US courts had jurisdiction in the first place...

Seems like a fair judgement... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23037486)

But... (and IANAL)

It sounded like the judge said, basically, that the stated claims were invalid, but that the unmade claim of bad faith action by comcast may have a chance.

I've had several cases where comcast has silently blocked e-mail sent to me, where I specifically wanted to receive those e-mails.

If this is one of those companies that sends an advertisement with that little opt-out link at the bottom which is more likely to get you even more spam, then I'm all for Comcast blocking them. If this company (and I have not researched it, so I don't know much about it) does indeed require response to an opt-in e-mail prior to sending additional material, then comcast shouldn't be blocking them.

Re:Seems like a fair judgement...--SAME PROBLEM (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | about 6 years ago | (#23038336)

I've had several cases where comcast has silently blocked e-mail sent to me, where I specifically wanted to receive those e-mails.

I've had exactly that same problem with them, which is why I now use a free gMail account.

Comcast winning == good? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23037504)

Since I'm so anti-comcast, I have a hard time being able to distinguish when it's a good thing that they were not on the losing side of something.

e360 aren't spammers. . . (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23037514)

Everyone knows they are merely a 'high volume email deployer'.

Still, it's Comcast... (1)

binaryspiral (784263) | about 6 years ago | (#23037576)

Sure, spam sucks and it's nice to see ISPs raining down lawyers on spammers - but if Comcast wasn't such a collection of corporate asshats, I would feel infinitely better about them winning in court.

It's like seeing the grade school bully ace a math test.

Am I a bad person? (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | about 6 years ago | (#23037688)

Is it wrong for me to hope that a meteorite falls on that courtroom and takes out both parties (but spares everyone else)?

I must conclude that you are a "bad person". (1)

Dimensio (311070) | about 6 years ago | (#23038036)

Your desire would not result in sufficient suffering for either Comcast or to e360.

Re:Am I a bad person? (1)

MrMacman2u (831102) | about 6 years ago | (#23038206)

Yes. It is wrong to merely hope and not, instead, work diligently on developing your here-to-for latent psychokinetic abilities and start pulling rocks in from deep space and hitting them in the face! Get cracking and all will be forgiven!

Kudo's to the judge (1)

stabiesoft (733417) | about 6 years ago | (#23037704)

Finally a swift competent decision from the legal system on an obvious case. If only the silly patent cases could be dismissed as quickly.

I'm still waiting for my judge to rule (4, Interesting)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | about 6 years ago | (#23038104)

Monday (4/7/2008), I had two motion hearings against e360. One was their summary judgment motion to kick their my case against them, the other was my anti-SLAPP motion against their counterclaim.

Entire details at http://www.barbieslapp.com/spam/e360/e360insight.htm [barbieslapp.com]

Their counterclaim is for calling libel (calling them a spammer and liar) and abuse of process (asking for their domain names in discovery). At the hearing struck/dismissed their abuse of process claim, and said that their paying my attorney fees for the motion is mandatory. The tentative did not strike the libel claim, but she said she would look into that further as the court needed to investigate if the supplemental request for judicial notice, containing articles quoting Linhardt in the press (Cnet and NY Times, DirectMag.com) is sufficient for limited purpose public figure status.

She denied their summary judgment motion on my claims against e360. Mostly because e360 refused to provide discovery to me, but relied upon that information in their motion. On the my libel claim against them, she denied that, except the portion saying that he implied that I hacked into his system.

Is That a Blue Moon I See? (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | about 6 years ago | (#23038298)

It's not often I'm in favor of Comcast these days (and yes, I am a subscriber to it due to lack of other available options, despite the FCC's contention that there's ample competition in broadband), but this time I'm happy that they've won. Spammers, along with Phishers, Virus/Trojan Writers, and 'Bot Herders are the true scum of the Internet.

Re:Is That a Blue Moon I See? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23038948)

Consrvs vote for candidates who will solve problems we face.
Name one problem in the last 7 years which has been solved by the Bush Administration. Deficit? no. Katrina relief? no. War on 'Terrorism'? no. Air Travel problems? no. Health care? no. Like school yard bullies, you folks push the same old over used lines year after year, and vote for people who claim to support your issues. Even with a Supreme Court stacked in 'your' favor, women can still have abortions, you still can't buy a bazooka, and the government is spending like drunken sailor. Actually, that's not being nice to the fine men who man our ships, spending like a Republican seems much more appropriate these days.

What a great legal mind! (-1, Troll)

mi (197448) | about 6 years ago | (#23038520)

Some, perhaps even a majority of people in this country, would call it a spammer.

Terrific, judge! Let's leave it to the demos. If "some, perhaps even a majority of people" hate someone, he/she aren't entitled to their day in court.

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