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Spam Your Rights Online

Meet the Spammers 750

Posted by timothy
from the ask-them-for-viagra dept.
DaveAtFraud writes: "It took a little digging to find an on-line copy of this article that I first saw in my treeware daily newspaper. Thanks to the Salt Lake City Tribune for having it on-line. According to the Spamhaus project, a handful of people are responsible for 90% of the spam that clogs you in box. This is your chace to hear from them and what they have to say is quite interesting. If you don't think the filters and blacklists work, one spammer whines, "My operating costs have gone up 1,000 percent this year, just so I can figure out how to get around all these filters." Stopping spam is simply a matter of economics. When its uneconomical to send spam, people will stop sending it."
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Meet the Spammers

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  • I feel so sorry for this guy:

    one spammer whines, "My operating costs have gone up 1,000 percent this year, just so I can figure out how to get around all these filters."

    only ... NOT!
    • by Bonker (243350) on Wednesday August 07, 2002 @08:45AM (#4024633)
      Another telling quote:

      Relentless anti-spam vigilantes have hounded the 35-year-old head of Empire Towers Inc., plastering Cowles' home address and phone number all over the Web. Spam recipients call to tell Cowles how they feel.

      "These people will go to the lowest depths," said Cowles, of Bowling Green, Ohio. "I have some phone clips that would make you sick."


      Ahem...

      You want to talk about going to the 'lowest depths'?
  • I vote for death Penalty for Spammers!

    Feed Internet Democracy today..Kill a spammer!
  • by Marx_Mrvelous (532372) on Wednesday August 07, 2002 @07:36AM (#4024239) Homepage
    I don't know why people think laws against spammers would be ineffective. Even a threat of legal/finacial action against them would be a huge deterrent in sending spam. Heck, if it reduced it 10% wouldn't it be worth it?

    Of course, intelligent filters and the like are the best way to treat the symptoms, but they don't treat the problem.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Laws in what country? Spammers can move.
      • "Laws in what country? Spammers can move."

        I'd like to know which country they're in too. They know a looooooot of attractive women who want to perform rather.. uh.. interesting rituals once they get my credit card #.
    • by nanojath (265940) on Wednesday August 07, 2002 @09:34AM (#4024906) Homepage Journal
      I don't know why people think laws against spammers would be ineffective

      Absolutely agreed. I believe 90% of the unwanted spam we all hate so much could be stopped with a short list of simple guidelines.

      1) If you apply an e-mail to an officially sanctioned opt-out list, it is illegal and subject to fines to e-mail an unsolicited e-mail to that address.

      2) Make it illegal to send solicitations for age-restricted products (pornography, cigarettes, gambling, katmandu temple kiff...) to minors. Don't give me a free speech spiel. Go try and put up a billboard for hot rape sex porn. And for the people that bust this one: don't bother with the fines. Send 'em to jail.

      3) Make it illegal for any business to solicit without providing as part of the solicitation a valid contact for feedback, or to misrepresent their identity by using false addresses/spoofed headers, or to provide an opt-out/emoval link that feeds into anything other than a sanctioned opt-out list.

      4) Finally, and here's your free speech, make it illegal for ISPs to dump any spammer that complies with these laws, but also illegal to knowingly serve any spammer that does not.

      There's not much point in moaning about these spammers being nasty clueless jerks. Listen: several THOUSAND members of the Municipal Credit Union, ordinary people from all walks of life, stole about $15 MILLION (!) from ATMs. They knew it was wrong. They knew they were taking advantage of the tragedy of the attacks on the WTC towers. At least some of them must have known they at least stood a chance of being caught. But they did it anyway. Because they could. People are greedy and always ready to make a special moral exception for their own crummy behavior.

      BUT...

      Because there are rational theft and fraud laws in place, something can be done about it... Like throwing the most egregious offenders in jail, and forcing the rest to pay back what they stole. With a little common sense legislation we can do the same to spammers.

      • by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Wednesday August 07, 2002 @10:21AM (#4025193) Homepage Journal
        4) Finally, and here's your free speech, make it illegal for ISPs to dump any spammer that complies with these laws, but also illegal to knowingly serve any spammer that does not.

        I agree with everything you said, except for this point. In my opinion, that violates the ISP's freedom of speech/association. Brick-and-mortar stores aren't required to allow customers to scream as they browse the aisles; it's an annoyance to the staff, and disconcerting to the other customers. Spammers use an incredibly high percentages of shared resources (those thousands of lines of Bcc:'s don't just transmit themselves, after all), and I don't think that ISPs should be made to host them, and really doubt the constitutionality of such a law.

    • We certainly need laws, but I don't know how they're going to discourage the kind of people who think they can make money by sending spam filled with blatent spelling mistakes, that often makes no logical sense, and sometimes doesn't even have a means of actually responding to it.

      To really attack the issue, I think we need to first stop labelling everyone involved as a "spammer" when there appears to be a hierarchy of culprits, including:

      1. The ISP that provides refuge for spammers.
      2. The spam enablers that provide the software, lists, and sometimes mailing services.
      3. The spammer who may be an independent jerk, or who may be misled and effectively taken advantage of and pimped out by a #2 organization.
      4. The people who actually buy their products.

      Most spammers (#3) are just idiots that will probably keep on trying regardless of whether they ever make money, and there's a new one born every minute. It's #2, the spam enablers (or spam pimps, perhaps?), who should be the most vilified and attacked. They're the ones making money off of spam regardless of whether anyone actually buys it or make money and they present much larger targets. With empty promises of wealth, they take advantage of the idiots who make up #3 by taking their money in return for mailing lists and sometimes actually sending out the spam. Many of these "clients" are probably people with legitimate and sometimes severe mental health problems (hence non-commercial spam about aliens and time travel) who might never be diswayed by legal means without eliminating the means.

      Like prostituition, strong laws should be made against this kind of pimping activity (spimping?), both directly, and at the ISP (#1) level. Also, maybe an ISO 9000 type practices and auditing standard for ISPs can be developed and widely publicized. This might require that an AUP include certain anti-spam requirements, and/or that the ISP takes responsibility for bulk mailing. ISP's might be encouraged or even forced to restrict bulk mailing to lists that can be independently confirmed to be opt-in and/or have a verified individual who will sign-off to that effect (under penalty of law), and to label all bulk mail with a certain identifier etc.
    • Laws against spammer are ineffective because:
      1.) They usually just send the spam from somewhere that the laws do not apply to (like China).

      2.) Much of the (currently) illegal spam I get advertises things which are either illegal, questionable, clearly scamming or already fall under faulty advertising laws.

      3.) We already have laws, and they have done nothing to stop spam.

      4.) Most spam is sent anonymously anyhow to protect the spammer, making it illegal won't change the dificulty of finding and prosecuting the spammers.

      I think you should make any Company found advertising by use of spam pay a massive fine. Sure, there would be abuse when a competitor sends spam in another company's name, but that would be rare and not enough to keep the spammers in business.
  • Economic (Score:2, Insightful)

    by wilbrod (471600)
    It's similar as the drug market or any stealing network. They still exist because they are a source of money for someone.

    Die capitalism die!
    • Re:Economic (Score:2, Interesting)

      Wrong. The drug market and stealing exist because people buy drugs and stolen goods. Spammers would die out the moment people stopped responding to it. But as they themselve say, they only need 1 in a 1000 and we all know the percentage of idiots on the net is a lot higher.

      So it should be

      Die idiots die!

      • I don't think so. As long as the spamhausen can sell the promise of riches to their clients, they'll stay in business. Even if nobody ever buys anything as a result of a spamvertisement.
  • Bernard Balan, 51, who operates a bulk mail site from Emsdale, Ontario, called one-stop-financial.com, says he has gone through "unbelievable hardships" to keep the spam flowing.
    "My operating costs have gone up 1,000 percent this year, just so I can figure out how to get around all these filters," said Balan, a former truck driver and pinball machine mechanic.


    Payback's a bitch huh? I guess this means we're "winning".
    • by Pig Hogger (10379) <pig.hogger@NoSpaM.gmail.com> on Wednesday August 07, 2002 @08:39AM (#4024596) Journal
      My operating costs have gone up 1,000 percent this year, just so I can figure out how to get around all these filters," said Balan, a former truck driver and pinball machine mechanic.
      And now, zoom to 5 years in the future:

      ...
      "Well, things are not so bad; I can manage to unglog 25 outhouses per week nowadays, and business is actually booming, thanks to all that junk food", said Balan, a former spammer and junk e-mailer.

      The only problem, he says, "up here in the muskeg, are those damn black flies and those drunken prospectors who shoot at me even if I have an appointment to unclog his outhouse". That's because he's forced to change truck every week because he cannot afford a new one.

      But that's not his least of worries. Every so often, the bomb squad has to be flown-in because of a suspicious package destined for Balan arrives in the Post-Office. They are usually packages of dead rotten rats or opossums, but sometimes there is some catshit or worse. Everytime, the community points at him because the Post-Office has to be cordoned-off, which wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't also the local watering hole. And, everytime, the municipality has to pick-up the bill, so, for a few time, Balan had to fend-off some angry sober prospectors with prized bottles from his private collection.

  • And yet... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Maran (151221) on Wednesday August 07, 2002 @07:39AM (#4024252)
    "My operating costs have gone up 1,000 percent this year, just so I can figure out how to get around all these filters."

    And yet he persists.

    In the great tradition of slashdot, I haven't read the article, but I assume he's making enough money to cover his costs and then some, else he wouldn't continue. Now, I'm also assuming that companies are paying him to send spam - there's no way he'd make enough of responders.

    This has probably been said before, but why are we getting pissed off at spammers? It's the companies we need to "educate" as to the evils of unsolicited e-mail. That's where the money and motivation comes from. Maybe we should e-mail every company in the world and explain to them why they shouldn't spam...

    Maran
    • Re:And yet... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by jmv (93421) on Wednesday August 07, 2002 @07:54AM (#4024331) Homepage
      This has probably been said before, but why are we getting pissed off at spammers? It's the companies we need to "educate" as to the evils of unsolicited e-mail.

      Not exactly. You won't see well established companies sending spam (ever received spam from IBM?). Spam is most of the times for fraudulent/make money quick products. If 1/10000 people fall for it these companies still make a profit and they don't care if they piss off the other 99.99% since they wouldn't be buying anyway.
    • It's the companies we need to "educate" as to the evils of unsolicited e-mail.

      Haven't you noticed that the stuff being hawked by UCE is either porn or fraudlent or both?

      The companies that use spammers are bottom feeding off a tiny slice of naive users.

      Years ago, I had a big fight with a marketing director who wanted to spam Usenet. Today it is much less likely to happen because spam is such a universal problem for users that everyone "gets it". The remaining people who spam are those who simply don't give a shit.

      • Unfortunatly not everyone "gets it" But the anti spam lobby provides a good lart.

        My former employer actualy teamed up with ralsky I informed him of the dangers before I quit but he didn't listen. He got his primary account disabled but didn't learn. Hes got 3 other ISPs now and a spews listing. I'm glad I left.

        My current one and I had an arguement in wich he overruled me and demanded I send 30 000 emails. I sent half that and the complaints from our isp were enough to change his mind and hes never asked me again.

        So in my experiance the anti spamers do have a noticeable affect. And it's not the spam users who are taking advantage it's the spammers themselves you have to admit the numbers look good on paper if you don't know about the resulting backlash. It has all the right numbers that look good to managers and marketing departments and no way to talk them out of it until they get burned.
    • by Fat Casper (260409) on Wednesday August 07, 2002 @07:56AM (#4024349) Homepage
      I assume he's making enough money to cover his costs and then some, else he wouldn't continue.

      Yes, but you understand that businesses have a fundamental right to high profits. If we don't buy the pills or videos these guys will band together with other content providers (RIAA/MPAA) and buy legislation forcing us to prop up their failing business models. I see a convergence with MS and Intel, where your upgrades of Windows will read your spam and send money from your credit card to the spammers if you don't buy enough penis pumps. I for one don't want to see this happen, which is why I buy at least one degree from a prestigious non- accredited university a week.


    • It's the companies we need to "educate"

      I've never had spam from a legit companny.

      All spam advertises is the usual porn/get rich quick/dodgey viagra crap.
      No legitemate companies need educating as every company knows, sending unsoliceted spam is a quick way to piss off your customers.

    • by gillbates (106458)
      Five years ago, Balan says, he would send 30 million messages in a day. Most would get through. He earned up to $10,000 in commissions for a good day's work. Now, even though Balan keeps a database with 240 million e-mail addresses, only a fifth or fewer get through the filters. An average mailing earns him a paltry $250.

      A "paltry $250"!? That's more than most programmers (the ones who can still find jobs) make. The really sick part of this is that these guys are complaining that they're making only 90k a year sitting on their ass when hard working programmers can't find jobs.

  • by CaptainZapp (182233) on Wednesday August 07, 2002 @07:41AM (#4024255) Homepage
    "These people will go to the lowest depths," said Cowles, of Bowling Green, Ohio.

    You reaally oughta love this quote from a friggin' spammer of all people.

  • The Origin (Score:5, Informative)

    by Erik Fish (106896) on Wednesday August 07, 2002 @07:43AM (#4024266) Journal

    This AP article has been making the rounds. It's rather shoddy journalism in that it takes the words of the spammers completely at face value. Seeing as how Rule #1 is "spammers lie" you can imagine how well this approach works. [google.com]

    • Re:The Origin (Score:4, Insightful)

      by IPFreely (47576) <mark@mwiley.org> on Wednesday August 07, 2002 @09:07AM (#4024754) Homepage Journal
      it takes the words of the spammers completely at face value.

      Weeeeelll..., not quite.

      It does, as you noticed, quote exactly what the spammers say and claim. It does not explicitly call them liers. It does not extensively detail the position of the anti-spammers. All that lends itself to an article that primarily informs the reader of the position of the spammer.

      But, it does not actually say that what the spammer is doing is right, legal, moral or anything else. It simply passes along their views. That is what unbiased reporting is about. If I read an article that outright calls spammers scum and claims they should DIE DIE DIE, I'd read that as a biased article.

      There are plenty of articles around that detail how spammers annoy people, how they should be stopped, how they cost money, and on and on. most of these articles do not provide voice for the other side (the spammers). Would you call them bad reporting because of that?

      Bias is not about supporting your position. Bias is about supporting any one position over another. Just because it doesn't support your bias does not mean it has the opposite bias. The middle ground usually looks hostile from either end, sort of the "If you're not for us, then you're against us" mentality.

    • Re:The Origin (Score:5, Insightful)

      by FurryFeet (562847) <joudanx@nosPaM.yahoo.com> on Wednesday August 07, 2002 @09:56AM (#4025068)
      I've been a journalist for over 8 years. I see a lot of misconceptions in the two lines of your post.
      Maybe it's the TV's fault. Maybe you've grown used to think about Dan Rather or Barbara Walters as journalists. They're not. They're celebrities. A journalist walks his beat, watches, listens and reports the facts. Just the facts.
      I've interviewed murderers and rapists. I've also interviewed way more politicians than you'd ever care to meet. And when I come back to my desk and write the story, I simply report what they said. Nobody cares what I think about it; my job is to tell you what they said.
      So, taking their words at face value is NOT shoddy journalism. It's real journalism. You, the reader, should decide what to make of their words.
      Shoddy journalism would be to assume spammers lie, and mocking them, distorting what they said. It would be a lot more gratifying for antispammers, yes, but it would also be the worst kind of journalism: A distortion of the truth.
  • by tanveer1979 (530624) on Wednesday August 07, 2002 @07:44AM (#4024273) Homepage Journal
    Well,
    Lets put the spammers website addreses in a alshdot story.
    The site gets slashdotted
    The Router goes bust
    The chips are fired
    Repairing becomes a must
    The Site gets slashdotted
    Packets get a wannderlust
    costs go high and high
    and spamming becomes bust!

    So no sweat guys its easy
  • by Helmholtz Coil (581131) on Wednesday August 07, 2002 @07:44AM (#4024275) Journal

    is to not increase their costs but eliminate their profits.

    What we should really do is start posting lists of the people who buy from spammers. Betcha you'd think twice about that penis enlarger then, wouldn't ya?
  • "These people will go to the lowest depths," said Cowles, of Bowling Green, Ohio. "I have some phone clips that would make you sick."

    Oh he's the one to talk... The amount of spam I get each day would make HIM sick. (Or maybe not)
  • I use eudora and the filters work pretty good but I don't know how to filter spam that is entirely html. Lateley I have been getting shitloads of spam that has no text in the body it's all html

    heres a link [lenny.com] to my spam fighting page

  • by Zathrus (232140) on Wednesday August 07, 2002 @07:45AM (#4024284) Homepage
    On one matter, however, spammers and their nemeses agree: the United States needs a federal spam law

    The article claims this... and yet we see big spam houses fighting anti-spam laws left and right everytime they're proposed in the legislature for a state. And I seriously doubt they comply with the current anti-spam laws in the few states that have them -- since all they have is an email address and no state of residence information.

    Frankly, I'm for a reasonable anti-spam law (one similar to the junk fax law, which has worked well). Obviously it's not as clear cut as junk faxes -- with them you can find out who sent you the junk. Spammers routinely obfusacate their information as mentioned in the article. I'm tired of the amount of spam I get, and unless you run your own mail server (something not viable for the vast majority of the Internet populace, and not even viable for the majority of the geeks) there's no way to block it.

    Not that blocking really helps -- the bandwidth has already been consumed. The only thing blocking does is automagically delete it for you. I'd like the bandwidth back personally.
  • by Zapman (2662) on Wednesday August 07, 2002 @07:46AM (#4024295)
    {pause to let my boiling blood cool down}

    Lets see:
    1) you send mail people don't want.
    2) they have to pay for it
    3) it's legally questionable
    4) (if you send porn) objectionable stuff will end up in front of children
    5) And you're confused when we get pissed off.

    DUH!

    {goes rummaging for his clue-by-four and for the sourcecode for spamassasin... I need to tune my procmail filters anyway.}
  • Excellent news! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jeppe Salvesen (101622) on Wednesday August 07, 2002 @07:48AM (#4024299)
    Five years ago, Balan says, he would send 30 million messages in a day. Most would get through. He earned up to $10,000 in commissions for a good day's work. Now, even though Balan keeps a database with 240 million e-mail addresses, only a fifth or fewer get through the filters. An average mailing earns him a paltry $250.
    I found this very encouraging. If we keep making life hell for them, we will not only stop recruitment, but also drive them out of business. Are we already making sure to poison their databases with non-existent but probable email addresses, btw?
    • Someone else a few days / weeks ago came up with a good idea. We poison their database with the "root@127.0.0.1" mailing address. Let them pass it around all they want.
    • I don't - good god, that guy harassed 50 million people for a paltry $250. I mean, its pathetic - he's doing that much damage to the internet for so little incentive. Its disgusting. I could almost understand it if a substantial fraction of his recievers were actually interested in his product.

      And anyone else vaguely unsettled by this "ointment for sexually disfunctional women?" I may be wrong, but to me it sounds like "you can't turn your woman on, and are too lazy to learn how, so you're buying her this so you can fsck here senseless and only bore her instead of maiming her".
  • WHAT!!!!! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Jezzerr (414452)
    Quote: "These people will go to the lowest depths," said Cowles, of Bowling Green, Ohio.

    Try telling that to a mother whos 5 year old son has just opened a "Chicks with d**ks" spam e-mail and followed the friggin link!!!!

    These people make me sick!
    • Re:WHAT!!!!! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Speare (84249) on Wednesday August 07, 2002 @09:58AM (#4025083) Homepage Journal

      Try telling that to a mother whos 5 year old son has just opened a "Chicks with d**ks" spam e-mail and followed the friggin link!!!!

      Actually, I wonder what mother in her right mind would let a preschooler use a computer with a network connection and email. The TV is not a babysitter, and a PC is definitely not built for users without judgement.

      If parents would take an active role in raising their kids, then they wouldn't fall victim to the entropy of exposure to inappropriate subjects.

      The problem is not the porn on the net, it's the parents who don't take responsibility for their children.

  • Quick and Simple (Score:2, Informative)

    by Jobe_br (27348)

    Folks, if you haven't discovered SpamAssassin [spamassassin.org] yet, do yourself a HUGE favor and at least look into it. If you're not running a Linux box and are relegated to Windows, talk to your ISP about it. If you're running Mac OS X, I believe you should have no problem getting SpamAssassin to filter your mail, if you route it through a local MTA.

    It took me about 30 minutes to get SpamAssassin integrated properly with qmail, vpopmail, sqwebmail and I've been happy ever since. I get maybe one spam a week now that isn't caught by the assassin and about 35-40 a day get routed into my Trash automagically.

    SpamAssassin has a huge set of heuristics it uses to detect spam as well as some auxiliary tools that it can use to check global databases for common SPAM - if someone else has gotten it and is providing SPAM information to these databases, it saves everyone else from having to check it, basically.

    Bottom line: check out SpamAssassin - its by far the best tool I've found in blocking spam, far better than simply blocking yahoo.com and hotmail.com addresses! Take some time, check it out - you'll be quite happy you did, I assure you! Its configurability is pretty much unmatched out there as well.

  • by shd99004 (317968) on Wednesday August 07, 2002 @07:52AM (#4024324) Homepage
    "My operating costs have gone up 1,000 percent this year, just so I can figure out how to get around all these filters."

    Yes I feel so bad for him. Um, hello. Apparently he doesn't know what he's doing to other people. And, apparently he never receives any spam himself. I don't think he understands. If so many people are so unhappy about spam and block him and others, causing his marketing cost to rise, doesn't that give him a clue? Spammers have used others bandwidth for their own purpose long enough; let them pay a little themselves.
    • Apparently he doesn't know what he's doing to other people. ... I don't think he understands.
      Of course he understands, but he makes money at it. That's all that matters to him. Explaining to these people why they are being rude won't accomplish anything, they already know. Taking away the financial rewards will. It seems to me things are going in the right direction. Now its more work for them and less lucrative. Maybe with the increasing savvy (or just overexposure) of the average internet user, it will become even harder for these jerks to stay in business.

      Note that filtering (by users) doesn't really harm them since if you're filtering, you're by definition not going to buy anyway.

  • "This is what the Internet is supposed to be," said Michael Jay

    Check please! When can I get on Internet2?

  • Spammers fight back (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MeNeXT (200840) on Wednesday August 07, 2002 @07:55AM (#4024339)
    It's funny that this came up today but I guess it's starting to hurt spammers and they are starting to fight back.

    Yesterday I received a funny email that one of my clients was spamming. This email seemed to come from spamcop.net. What was starnge it was close to but not exeactly the warning typically sent by spamcop. So I sent them an email and here is the reply:

    Spamcop spam is forged

    Starting appoximately 12 noon EST 06 Aug 2002, spam purporting to be from spamcop (abuse@julianhaight.com) began being sent in an attempt to 'get spamcop in trouble'. This is a standard spammer tactic (joe job).

    These messages were not sent by spamcop, and the claims made in them are false. Please disregard the email and/or block the originating IP address - 206.161.21.66 (cais.net). This IP has been blocked by SpamCop's blacklist since June. It appears cais.net is not responsive to complaints - their phone number (877-427-3368) leads to a computerized system with no attendant. It *may* be safe to block all of cais netspace: 206.161/16.

    Please do not block mail from julianhaight.com or spamcop.net. If you cannot block by IP address, it is safe to block the origin email addresses, ( 'abuse@julianhaight.com', 'webmaster@julianhaight.com', 'webmaster@spamcop.net', 'abuse@spamcop.net') as no legitimate mail should be sent from these.

    If you would like to contact someone at spamcop about this, you can send email to deputies@admin.spamcop.net. But please refrain from doing so. We are aware of the problem, and we are doing what we can to limit the damage. Unfortunately, since we're not responsible for sending it, there is little we can do to stop it.

    More information on this career spammer is available from spamhaus.org

    - SpamCop mgmt.

    As you can see at least one spammer seems to be fighting back. You can also fing this on the web at http://www.julianhaight.com/forgery.shtml (I did not link directly to the site for obvious reasons. Maybe I should not even put this up?)

    Mabey we should teach them a lesson and start refusing any connection from those IPs....

  • In a previous position, I worked at an online travel agency. We sent out newsletters to the people who opted in. Whenever we sent out a newsletter, we could read the results in the web traffic report. People got in, and they sometimes ordered.

    I should probably specifically mention that we did it right - the writing was at a level where it was actually nice to read. Oh - I think we also had a quick link at the bottom of the page to opt out of the newsletter.

    We didn't receive any complaints, either!
    • In a previous position, I worked at an online travel agency. We sent out newsletters to the people who opted in.

      Um, if they opted in and you make it easy to opt out, it's not spam.

  • by realgone (147744) on Wednesday August 07, 2002 @07:59AM (#4024367)
    one spammer whines, "My operating costs have gone up 1,000 percent this year."

    Dear interested spammer:

    MEDICALLY PROVEN,
    OUR PROGRAM WILL ENLARGE YOUR BUDGET,
    NATURALLY........

    You WILL Gain up to 1000% greater operating costs!
    You WILL Get a larger budget!
    You WILL Give your accountant MORE pleasure!
    You WILL Stay IN DEBT, LONGER!

    Most spammers see results within the 1st Month !!! Don't wait! CLICK HERE NOW!!! [spamhaus.org]

  • by dmouritsendk (321667) on Wednesday August 07, 2002 @08:00AM (#4024373)
    I love to answer spam with really really lame messages, do your best to freak them out(if possible, try and fool them into thinking that you are a complete maniac).

    Im not sure how effective it is to spam back at the spammers(most use anon email accounts), but it sure is fun. I actually got a couple of replys. One guy had spamed me with a mail trying to sell some sort penis enlargement pill.

    I replied that i was hung like a horse, and it actually was a problem. Then explaining what a huuge problem it was for me, since i could only sleep with girls who have given birth to 3-4 kids. In the end i asked for a pill to make my penis SMALLER. Heres the fun stuff, he freaking replied on the mail. Telling me that he HAD a pill that made penis smaller, and how i could buy it.

    I replied with a "christ, you're a idiot" and never heard from him again =D

    I've also used this tatics before with a very "aggresive" danish religious movement(withnesses of jehova), who spends most of their time going from door to door trying to make people join them.

    I told them i thought that Mary was artificially inseminated by aliens, and therefore our religon was something created by a higher race to make us calmer. It freaked the fuck out of them, and im pretty sure that they will NEVER knock on my door again.

    Example: A email enters my
  • by da_Den_man (466270)
    Where do I sign up? Quoting from the article:

    Tom Cowles, who heads one of the world's largest bulk e-mail, or spam, businesses, ought to be a happy guy. By his account, his company makes $12 million a year e-mailing billions of advertisements, mainly to folks who don't want them. It's an easy job, the way Cowles and others describe it:

    12 Million? I am in the wrong business. Amazing that there are actually that many stupid people in the world that these guys can make a living off of sending out crap....well, wait a minute....we have politicians who do the same....

    I think a law needs to be established that if a person DOES NOT want to receive this garbage, they should not receive it. All these "so-called" businesses should HAVE to be registered and LEGITAMIZED to where there CAN be legal recourse. I know for a fact that I bounce hundreds of "Bad Spam Email" from my server, and that and the residue left from Nimda taxes what limited bandwidth I have.

    (Insert Schoolhouse rock theme here) "You are right, there oughta be a LAW!"

  • by WebMasterJoe (253077) <<joe> <at> <joestoner.com>> on Wednesday August 07, 2002 @08:02AM (#4024385) Homepage Journal
    A few carefully crafted google searches revealed the other two articles in the series (although the Arizona Star seems to think it's a four-part series- I guess we'll find out tomorrow):

    Part 1: It's a war, and spam foes are losing [azstarnet.com]

    Part 3: Anti-spam tools more aggressive but frustrated by e-mail's 'dumb' nature [chron.com]
  • "Stalker's" website (Score:5, Informative)

    by pbemfun (265334) on Wednesday August 07, 2002 @08:06AM (#4024413)
    The website of the so-called "stalker" is at http://www.toledocybercafe.com/ivtg/index.htm [toledocybercafe.com].
  • by webword (82711) on Wednesday August 07, 2002 @08:07AM (#4024417) Homepage
    Growing a Spam Killing Community [webword.com] -- "The purpose of this article is to discuss how to eliminate spam through a community of spammer killers. Why take a passive role in spam elimination and why use up precious time and complex tools to track down one spammer? Instead, let's create a community of spammer hunters to track them down and wipe them out, using their own methods against them. Forget killing spam, let's kill the spammers."
  • 1,000 percent? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Patman (32745) <pmgeahan-slashdot@noSpaM.thepatcave.org> on Wednesday August 07, 2002 @08:09AM (#4024428) Homepage
    Why exactly is he trying to get around spam filters?

    If someone has a spam filter in place, there is not *way*
    they're going to buy your unsolicited crap. There's no point!
    • I assume he's trying to get past ISP filters. <sarcasm>Obviously people are being denied, by their ISP, the ability to learn about these great products.</sarcasm>
  • bad e-mail security should be treated like bad harware security and litigated to death. seems like if there is ANY filter in place, attempts to bypass that filter would be a violation of the DMCA.
  • This article only confirms what any well thinking person should have concluded already: these guys are just a couple of profiteers who'll happily irritate people to make large amounts of money to satisfy their material cravings, not to mention the costs they incur on ISP's and others who keep up the internet with the thought of bringing good to the people against a reasonable profit.
    Wake up: these people will always exists, there's no ignoring them. They will only stop spamming if the economics are not profitable anymore, or it's downright outlawed. Please say 'no' to their unbridled capitalist philosophy and 'yes' to be considerate to others (and yes, this includes not terrorising the spammers by infringing their personal rights, no matter how mad you are about the mess they send you).
  • by JThaddeus (531998) on Wednesday August 07, 2002 @08:16AM (#4024461)
    Better than filters would be a program that would trace the originator and auto-respond with 5-10 messages. Imagine if everyone receiving spam sent back 5-10 messages. Maybe then ISPs would put a stop to it.

    I remember the first spam I saw, back in '94, IIRC. Some lawyer selling immigration services. I ran a cron job that night that mailed him a core dump every 15 minutes. It didn't take long to swamp his mailbox.
  • A guy is running a contest [rantsinyourpants.com] for most nigerian spam (yeah, only nigerian spam will do!). Here [rantsinyourpants.com], he explains how he was promised $411.4 million himself. The site doesn't tell if he got the money or not...

    This "bondage spam" [google.com] also made my laugh. :)
  • Considering that the home addresses of spammers are now published, I have a novel idea for making them feel how we do.

    Have everyone snail mail them one bag of kitchen garbage. 4th class mail. Once a month.
  • by wiredog (43288) on Wednesday August 07, 2002 @08:27AM (#4024512) Journal
    Part 1 [sltrib.com]

    Part 2 [sltrib.com]

    Part 3 [sltrib.com]

    Spam avoidance tips [sltrib.com]

  • "My operating costs have gone up 1,000 percent this year, just so I can figure out how to get around all these filters."

    Spammers know that people don't want their crap, yet the send it anyway.

    Spammers should be killed.
  • by kipple (244681) on Wednesday August 07, 2002 @08:43AM (#4024624) Journal
    ...and, among other (really) interesting services (plus a detailed analysis of a proposal website), slightly proposed me to start a 'marketing campaign'.

    what they 'said' (they make me understand the concept, but they never explicitly said it) was something like:

    "We could send information about your company to users that could potentially be interested in your product, using some lists of e-mail addresses..."

    And they asked for a price. Which wasn't that big.

    So here is how spammers get paid: by convincing marketers that spam "might" be poiting customer attention to a website/product. And marketers go trying to convince CEOs and those who buy their services.

    After all, spammers gets a little amount of money: why not try that, if it will cost you only few hundred bucks? from a company point of view, that's nothing.

    And here the spammers get more and more money.

    What I think would be needed is an article on some business-oriented magazine (say, the Economist, the Harvard Business Review, the Wall Street Journal) that explicitly *tells* CEOs and other managers WHY AVOIDING SPAM MAKES YOU SAVE MONEY (sound like a spam mail, doesn't it? :) ) or something like that.

    Like talking to them with their own language. No need to talk about bandwidth, e-mail, filtering, regexp. Just concepts.

    Is anyone willing to help me write such an article? maybe someone with connections in such business-oriented newspapers...
  • by jdreed1024 (443938) on Wednesday August 07, 2002 @08:46AM (#4024638)
    Sure, I'd like an anti-spam law. We'd all like an anti-spam law. We also know it ain't gonna happen anytime soon.

    So is there any reason why we can't use existing laws against them? It may not be a federal crime, but at least under some state laws, it's a crime to show objectionable material to minors. Get the information on the spammer and report it to your local law enforcement authorities.

    What about wire fraud or mail fraud, or just plain old fraud? If these spammers are registering for accounts under false names, why can't they be prosecuted under fraud laws?

    Vigilante tactics have their place too, of course. Any ISP that claims to have an anti-spam policy but in reality cooperates with these spammers should have their entire IP range blacklisted. After their legitimate customers (if they have any) can't get to websites or send e-mail, and cancel their accounts, those ISPs will either go out of business or rethink their policies.

    Finally, grass-roots operations are all well and good, but the anti-spam movement won't make any serious progress until we get some money in our corner. Find some large corporation that hates spam as much as we do. You can't tell me that workers in these corporations aren't getting spam - some of them are probably even reading it. In an era where every dollar counts (especially if you overstated profits for the last two years), some corporation somewhere must want to put an end to this as much as Joe Everygeek does.

  • The next step? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Pig Hogger (10379) <pig.hogger@NoSpaM.gmail.com> on Wednesday August 07, 2002 @09:04AM (#4024738) Journal
    What could be the next step?

    Worm spamming. An outlook worm, which spams: it would connect to a website, get it's "instruction" (spam messages), then send itself along with the spam messages, to your outlook address list.

    Now, which filter will be able to trap that, as it will always go to and come from legit addresses???

    Scary.

  • Tone (Score:4, Funny)

    by macdaddy (38372) on Wednesday August 07, 2002 @09:06AM (#4024752) Homepage Journal
    Frankly I don't like the tone of the article. It makes ME as an anti-spammer sound like the bad guy. It makes ME sound like I'm inhibiting free enterprise! There's nothing free about spam. Spam costs ME money. Bandwidth IS NOT CHEAP. Drive space for multi-thousand users IS NOT CHEAP. Processor time to receive, block, or deliver spam IS NOT CHEAP. It costs me money for spammers to send my users their shit.

    All this article does for me is piss me off even more and make me want to block even more spam. I'll probably go out and dig up another couple hundred spamming domains for my blacklist.

    Die spammers, die!

  • by nuxx (10153) on Wednesday August 07, 2002 @09:10AM (#4024779) Homepage
    On Sunday the Detroit News featured three articles about spammers, including a front page story. Take a look here: http://detnews.com/2002/technology/0208/04/index.h tm [detnews.com] for the stories. (Scroll down a little past the headlines)
  • by plaa (29967) <sampo,niskanen&iki,fi> on Wednesday August 07, 2002 @09:12AM (#4024783) Homepage
    So, you want to Meet the Spammers [geocities.com]?

    The beginning of the story is a bit dull, but it gets better near the end. Skip to the middle if you're too impatient.

    Basically, this guy/gal conned a spammer to have a meeting in Amsterdam, and was able to get the spammer on a webcam! The photos [geocities.com] are at the end.

    (Yeah, slightly off-topic, but what the hell...)
  • by Steve B (42864) on Wednesday August 07, 2002 @09:26AM (#4024855)
    ...spammers constantly change their Internet providers and locations, buying service from multiple carriers, often under false names...

    Dave Codding, president of Internet Direct, an Ohio-based ISP, said his company struggled for a year to get Cowles off his network. Codding said Cowles used a false name to open an account and threatened to sue if he was cut off.

    It is well-established law in the US, and probably most civilized nations as well, that using a false name for a fraudulent purpose is illegal. Specifically, it's illegal to use a false name to hide relevant information about your past (e.g. lousy credit, criminal record), which is precisely what these slimeballs are doing.

    Somebody needs to convince a local DA to make an example of one of these crooks. Once it becomes too risky to use a pseudonym, it will be a simple matter of convincing ISPs to black-list them.

  • Next Level (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ratboy666 (104074) <fred_weigel@NoSPaM.hotmail.com> on Wednesday August 07, 2002 @09:41AM (#4024960) Homepage Journal
    The next level in anti-spam measures is to actually IGNORE them. Use "active" countermeasures... I am working on a front-end for email that requires an active response to any unknown email. And, while the email is coming in, the server waits 9 minutes between lines. If the new email is longer than a cut-off, and the sender isn't known, it accepts the rest. The idea is to tie up a port on the spammer (or forwarder) for as long as feasible. Email return addresses are checked, and if not valid, immediately deleted. And, as a last precaution, if there are any http: tags in the email, the address is checked, and if its numeric, the email is discarded. End of story. From then on out I ignore the spammers. I just don't see any, AND (as another benefit), I automatically hurt the spammers (having the port tied up). Also, I have a little GUI gizmo that shows me when UCE is coming in, and records the SMTP IP address. Since my server is running very slowly, I can actually catch them "in the act", and, if desired, start hacking on their box. What fun!

    What we need is software like this. (Don't ask, mine isn't ready for release, and I don't code "collaboratively" -- I do it for my own amusement).

    Ratboy.
  • by Moderation abuser (184013) on Wednesday August 07, 2002 @10:42AM (#4025325)
    I mean, really. Get a clue people.

    Tell you what, I'll point you to the clues:

    http://razor.sourceforge.net/
    or
    http://pyzor. sourceforge.net/
    or
    http://www.rhyolite.com/anti -spam/dcc/

    And, no. The spammers can't get round them just by including random characters or personalising the mails.

  • by josepha48 (13953) on Wednesday August 07, 2002 @11:20AM (#4025575) Journal
    This guy is a butt head!

    He uses other peoples systems to spread his crap. He forgets that all this spam clutters up many mail servers and screws people who have to pay for their time on line.

    Legally speaking, sending a 7-year-old an e-mail advertising hardcore pornography might be a nuisance, but it's not a crime, said Timothy Healy, chief of the FBI's Internet Fraud Complaint Center, based in Fairmont, W.Va. "There's not much we can do," he said.

    This is not a crime, but talking to a 7 year old on line is? Hmm to me this would be one step away from pedophilia(did I spell that right?). What is the difference is you unknowningly send a 7 year old an email that has a URL to a porn site and says things like watch 2 girls do f***, or see cindy take it up the a**, and pedophilia?

    Personally if I was their ISP I'd ban them from using my service. I know some ISP's do that. Maybe what we need is a list and take this list to the ISP and get them to ban these people from getting online. No service to spamers is a policy that some already have, if there was a list of people (maybe what is on the .org website that I can't get to right now) then we'd have less spam.

    I'm not sure about the rest of /. but I am tired of my mailbox filling up with spam. I do like my new filters though, much of it goes straight to the trash. I still wish my ISP would let me set up my own personal filter rules on their system. Just for my own mailbox, so that I could delete some of these spam messages like the ones that have korean character sets that automaticly go to my trash on my local machine. This would actually cut my spam downloads by about 70%.

  • Spammers, Read This! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Guppy06 (410832) on Wednesday August 07, 2002 @05:23PM (#4028885)
    FCC hands out record $5.4 million fine to junk faxer. [cnn.com]

    It's only a matter of time before legislation similar to this gets passed by Congress targeting unsolicited e-mail advertisements (AP writes an article about the problems of spam, it's an election year... you do the math). Change your line of business soon, unless you want to see if you can break that record...

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