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Spam Your Rights Online

How to Become A Spammer 460

permeablepdx points to this story in The Oregonian about how to become a spammer. Summary: "Local Oregon boy makes big bucks after learning from the Spam masters."
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How to Become A Spammer

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  • Steps to become a better spammer:

    1. Insert head in ass
    2. Click "send"
    3. Profit!
    • by conner_bw ( 120497 ) on Sunday May 11, 2003 @01:48PM (#5931489) Journal
      How to cause hell for an ex spammer.

      1. Post his new new web business address on slashdot: http://www.defibworld.com [defibworld.com]

      2. Stand back.

      "He created and began maintaining an e-commerce Web site, www.defibworld.com, on which they sell the devices worldwide.

      He realizes that he probably could spread the word of his site more quickly by sending bulk e-mail, but he won't. Any spam mentioning his site, he said, would result in complaints that would force his service provider to shut it down. But he has other reasons for not using his spamming equipment.

      "Bulk e-mail has the stigma of being trash,"

      Yeah, buddy, i forgive you. No wait... Hey scumbag, thanks for ruining the internet!
      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 11, 2003 @02:45PM (#5931800)
        According to the article, he used to be a web designer. After seeing his site, I now understand why he was forced into a life of spam.
      • by digital photo ( 635872 ) on Sunday May 11, 2003 @04:29PM (#5932303) Homepage Journal

        Okay, the above poster is just being stupid.

        I thought the goal was to give spammers incentive, whether negative or positive, to stop spamming.

        How is abusing someone who gave up spamming going to help?

        The message you are saying is:

        "Once you've spammed, you're screwed. Doesn't matter if you stop or change."

        That is plain stupid and the wrong attitude to take. If someone stops spamming, give them the pat on the shoulder and leave them alone. Move onto the next spammer. Why continue to harass someone who has gone legit?

        If you abuse people because they spam and you abuse them if they stop, then you are basically telling them and anyone else that hey, once you have started to spam, there is no reason to stop.

        I for one would like to see the spamming stop.

        • by conner_bw ( 120497 ) on Sunday May 11, 2003 @05:12PM (#5932491) Journal

          This message clearly shows to others why they shouldn't start.

          It also shows that, because of a lack of proper justice, the spammer must pay retribution he owes the netizens regardless - street and mob justice rule where the law fails.

          Example: Someone murders for a year, but then stops. Guess what, that is inssuficiant repent.

          No i didn't say that spamming is the same as murder, but it is a haneous activity that an individual shouldn't simply be able to walk away from untouched.

          • Regardless of anyone's single belief, SPAM is still not a felony. To make the analogy: Someone spams me today and tomorrow it becomes a federal offense punishable by law. He is subject to the law as it was writtn YESTERDAY. Now, if I killed someone 10 years ago...I'm still going to punished; under the law written 10 years ago. Either way, the laws today should NOT reflect those of 10 years ago, unless an aspiring lawyer wants to set precedent.
          • As much as I hate spam, I disagree.
            The article shows various interesting things, one of them being that spammers are hated like beelzebub himself. If that does not prevent one from starting it, what does?
            I must admit I was tempted about the idea of "taking revenge" on a spammer, but no. Stop spamming and repent, that is good enough for me.


            P.S.: Then again... he raked in $4.000/mo. Maybe he should donate some of that money to spamhaus.org
        • by digital photo ( 635872 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @04:56AM (#5935135) Homepage Journal

          Some people who posted responses made many good points. They mainly center around one of the following:

          1) The person wronged the online community and profited from it. "Just" letting them go would be wrong!

          We all want satisfaction. That is the difference between enforcement of Law and dealing out of Justice. Persons who abuse online resources would be in violation of the law. The anguish they cause people isn't as clearly defined by the Laws. That leaves us without satisfaction. Without closure.

          Taking it unto yourself to right what you percieve to be a wrong by taking the law into your own hands is called vigilantism(sp?). Those actions typically land outside of what is condoned by the Law as it currently stands.

          I do believe that people should be penalized for doing something which is wrong and costs everyone in the community. Spam and Spamming falls under this kind of community abuse.

          If you want satisfaction, change the Laws so that Spamming and Spammers will be penalized and not just slapped on the wrists.

          2) "Spammers will think it is okay to spam and quit when they have made their money if we take the 'give them an out' attitude!"

          The real problem here is that there is the question of satisfaction of our sense of justice being served. When a person goes to prison and serves their term and are released, we believe them to have repaid their debt to society. If they are repeat offenders, we consider them to be lost causes. (Sorry, I'm generalizing here.) And then, there are those who commit crimes and get away with it. They decide to quit while they are ahead and try to be productive elsewhere. If they slip back into the lifestyle, they will eventually screw up.

          I guess my point is: Here is an example of someone who tried it out. Saw it was profitable, but due to the stream of hate mail and just having to dodge the proverbial bullet, has decided to quit the lifestyle and earn a living in a more accepted way.

          He's already quit the spamming life. Harassing him more doesn't make him quit spamming any more than he has. Nor will it set an example for others to quit. Quite the opposite.

          Then, you have those who are career spammers. They are the ones raking in 5+ digit earnings per month and they escape the reach of the law. Given death threats and harassment, they continue on.

          I see them as the repeat offender criminal. The lost causes. They will continue to commit crimes both legally and socially. They should be the ones hatred and "requests to stop" be directed at. Not at people who have already stopped.

          When you try to bring someone out of a life of crime or who has taken the wrong path, you don't continually harass them after they have stopped. That just pushes them back into the life. You don't pat them on the back either. You watch them carefully to make sure they don't repeat their offense. They ask for forgiveness from the community and work to re-earn the communities' trust. They are in essence, the little fish who have a future.

          The repeat spammers who have been at it for years are the ones which deserve a lifetime of punishment for the ill they have caused and willingly continue to cause.

          What we all want is spam to go away. So give them a reason to stop if they are spamming. Give them a reason to stay stopped if they have decided to stop. And get the law/government in on it if they refuse to stop.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Find a product you want to sell or a scam you want to run, find some exploitable mail servers and find a list of email addresses. Then just run a mass emailing program. What's the big deal?
    • I'm currently working for a spam-filtering company, so I see a LOT of spam, and I've seen pretty much every trick in the book. Spammers generally can be broken down into three catagories. What you described would be the first catagory:

      1. The amature. This is some guy who runs a mail server out of their basement. Mostly just hawking for their own business of running a fraudulant store (ie selling HGH or viagra), or some sort of scam to get users bank accounts or credit cards. These are DEAD EASY to blo
  • by Tuxinatorium ( 463682 ) on Sunday May 11, 2003 @01:20PM (#5931289) Homepage
    all you need is a database of email addresses, a DSL connection, and a mass mailing program. You can send out a million spams an hour.
    • I was one of the first people to bring spam to AOL. I wrote a program that would jump from chat room to chat room all day and just collect screen names. I would let the program run while I was at school and usually over night (only had one phone line, V.FAST baby). I sold the addresses to businesses and collected a pretty penny while in high school. My mom never believed where I was getting the money and thought I was selling drugs :\ My days of spam came to an end when I found something else to occupy
      • Span exists because of pigs like you.

        You just did it to make some money? Spammers do it just to make some money, and if I trace them I'll sue their ass dry.

      • One word: Asshole.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        My mom never believed where I was getting the money and thought I was selling drugs :

        At least drug users voluntarily buy the drugs from the dealers.
      • When I was in high school, I had an AOL account. I knew there were other ways to get online, but I actually liked AOL. There actually was "value added" AOL content at the time, and among those were the chatrooms. I used them, and the forums, a good bit. I later on learned that creating a user profile had become a bad idea, because that put you in the Member Directory, which spambots used to get addresses. Pity, because the directory was a good thing at first. The chat rooms were too. You had to dig around to find good ones, but they were there. Now, because of people like you wanting to make a buck by annoying people by the millions, an AOL user can't go into a publicly listed room or even a private one with a non-random title, without instantly becoming a spam target.

        It's been a long time since I used the account regularly, but I still have that account. I use it when I'm out of town, because no matter where you are, you'll usually find an access number. Not for email though. Never for email. Sometimes I'll go into my inbox though to show people what eight years' worth of abuse from people like you has done to it...

        I log in, and the box is full. Every time. I start my demonstration by deleting about twenty or thirty emails, and then we watch. After a minute, I refresh it. One or two more emails. Another minute, same thing. Wait five minutes and there are at least ten new messages. Wait half an hour, and the box is full again.

        Thanks, asshole.

        But I do admire your courage in posting non-AC that you used to do this. And I thank you for giving me an opportinuty to actually speak to one of you. I wish your email address wasn't hidden, but I do see a URL. In glancing at your page I don't see an email address, but I do see a form on your page for sending messages to your cell phone.

        Fortunately, I don't care enough about it to do anything with that, but I did want to point that little detail out for every one of the good folks on Slashdot to see...
    • by sidster ( 16063 ) on Sunday May 11, 2003 @01:40PM (#5931446) Homepage
      I think there is more to it than having bandwidth and software.
      You must have quite a few clients willing to pay you
      for your "services".

      Otherwise, every friend and coworker I have can be a spammer.
      Each one of these persons have either a DSL or Cable modem
      connection, and most are proficient with computers.

      What they (my friends) lack are people willing to pay them for
      sending out spam (oh, yeah, another thing working aginst their
      success as spammers is morality).

      To fight spam and spammers successfully, i think, we must
      fight the source and not the messanger (= spammer). That
      is finding out who is actually paying for the spam being sent
      out and "pound" on them.

      I've been fighting spam for several years now. I use RBLs
      and ORDBs and even have blacklisted close to 14000 IP
      addresses in addition to using spam-filters. But the spam
      keeps coming in.

      • You must have quite a few clients willing to pay you for your "services".

        This shows that an anti-spamming law would, in fact, be a lot easier to enforce than one might imagine. Troll the "spammer support" boards, answer an ad, and then:

        "OK, so we're agreed -- $299 to send out the 'Hot Dirty Teen Lezzie Sluts' message to your ten million addresses?"

        "Yep; just sign here...."
        [pulls out badge] "POLICE! Stand up slowly and put your hands behind your head...."

        (And, no, it would not be "entrapment" if

      • What they (my friends) lack are people willing to pay them for sending out spam (oh, yeah, another thing working aginst their success as spammers is morality).

        Exactly. Morality. Any woman can be a hooker, they all have the tools... but that doesn't mean that every woman would be a hooker if they had a paying customer. Likewise, just because someone comes to me and offers $2k to spam 10 million addresses from my connection I'm not going to do it. It's not the lack of a paying customer, it's morality.


  • ex-spammer seems to not understand why they are worse than bulk mail. Email spam cost us money and bandwidth on our end, bulk mail dont. Besides, its much easier to sort out legitimate snail mails from bulk & they always carry some amount of legitimacy with it that email spam can never provide. Fp ?! :)
    • Re:spam & mail (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Sebby ( 238625 ) on Sunday May 11, 2003 @01:27PM (#5931348)
      "Email spam cost us money and bandwidth on our end, bulk mail dont"

      Not entirely true. Most cities (including mine) have a recycling program (and most likely a cost-per-bag for garbage); every pound of recycling will end up costing you something in your taxes somewhere, so the more you have, the more cost to recycling, the more of your money in taxes.

      So while bulk mailers pay for sending it, it's still costing you to dispose of it.

      • Re:spam & mail (Score:4, Interesting)

        by i.r.id10t ( 595143 ) on Sunday May 11, 2003 @02:01PM (#5931553)
        Which is why I send it back to them. Postage paid business reply? Right back in the box. Ads and such that come with my gas card bill, etc.? back in the envelope with my payment.

        Yeah, its not much, but at least I'm sending a little more $ to the USPS for the PP mail, and I'm having the sending company use their resources to dispose of the trash they shouldn't have sent me.
        • You will need:

          1 postage-paid return envelope
          1 paper grocery bag
          1 brick
          some tape

          1. Wrap brick in grocery bag (plain side out)
          2. Tape postage-paid return envelope to outside of package
          3. Drop into public mailbox

          There ya go, an 8-dollar plea to stop bulk mail.

    • Re:spam & mail (Score:2, Informative)

      by Golias ( 176380 )
      He also doesn't seem to realize that he made his thousands by sending messages about penis enlargement to young children's e-mail boxes.

      Furthermore, he doesn't seem to realize that Spam makes the entire infrastructure of the Internet more expensive.

      I don't care if he got out of it because he couldn't stand the heat. Assholes like him, each getting into it for a year or two and then getting out, are what keeps the problem going. I would very much like to punch this guy in the throat.

    • Email spam cost us money and bandwidth on our end, bulk mail dont.

      No, you have your reasoning backward. Email spam doesn't cost us money any more than bulk mail does. Sure, if it fills up our pipe, or mailbox, we have to get a bigger pipe, or mailbox.

      But the real difference between bulk mail and email spam is that the sender isn't paying any money. If the USPS delivered postal mail for free, it would be exactly the same situation.

  • Jeez (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dachannien ( 617929 ) on Sunday May 11, 2003 @01:21PM (#5931308)
    "The idea is it's just like a commercial," Shiels said. "You don't just send it to one address once. You send it to one address five or six times. Do commercials only come on once? You get the same crap in your e-mail more than once. You have to bombard the person."

    And they wonder why they get death threats.

    • Re:Jeez (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      How many of you have gotten spam from this "University Degree" program? Want to know who they are? I found them. But I also found a way to really cost them (spammers) a lot of money, and it got to the point where they FINALLY gave up and took me off their list.

      These people have a HUGE call center in London. But they have a USA registered toll free number.

      Interestingly though, the ring sounds like a European type ring (germany, russia, france), but not the Brr brr type OK ring.

      After further inv
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 11, 2003 @01:22PM (#5931315)
    Next week its how to be a pimp, followed the week after by "mugging for fun and profit".

  • by bazik ( 672335 ) <bazik&gentoo,org> on Sunday May 11, 2003 @01:25PM (#5931328) Homepage Journal
    "How do you torture a spammer" would be more interesting.

    Maybe tie him up on a light post and throw AOL CD's at him?
  • by DragonPup ( 302885 ) on Sunday May 11, 2003 @01:25PM (#5931333)
    He'd heard enough complaints about spam from his friends, but he never understood them. The junk mail his mail carrier delivers bothers him much more, Shiels said.

    "It costs money to be processed. And it's a waste of trees. It's intrusive as hell because you have to go through all of it. People don't get mad about that, and I don't understand why," he mused.

    Is anyone else thinking what I am thinking?
  • Thanks Slashdot! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Sunday May 11, 2003 @01:25PM (#5931335)
    Just what we need! To teach more people this valuable trade.... But really, it won't be worth it. In a few years, so many people will be into it that the companies will have the upper hand on who to hire to get the message out........ and unless you have lists of email addresses in the hundreds of millions it won't be worth it. Besides, your customers will be limited to porn or those sleazy as-seen-on-TV type products. I suggest reading some advertising books, since that is the trade, and finding a more novel way to apply it to the net if you want to make real money.
  • online clubs? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by scubacuda ( 411898 ) <scubacuda&gmail,com> on Sunday May 11, 2003 @01:25PM (#5931336)
    ...Shiels found the entry point -- online clubs for spammers. The Internet bulletin boards, which charge membership fees, allow "bulk e-mail" entrepreneurs to exchange information on clients...

    Where are these things? I'm sure tons of /.ers would love to go in and wreck havoc on them.

    • If they make you pay, you'd actually have to give them money in an attempt to bother them. Then, when you try to bother them, they just remove you account and keep your money.

      If you're implying some denial of service attack, I don't really think you're any better than they are.
      • Re:online clubs? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Steve B ( 42864 )
        If you're implying some denial of service attack, I don't really think you're any better than they are.

        I do not find your moral equivalence between an unprovoked attack on innocent bystanders (what the spammers are doing) and a retaliation/deterrent attack on perps (what a DoS on a spammer-support site would be) to be at all convincing.

    • here are some (Score:5, Informative)

      by ramzak2k ( 596734 ) * on Sunday May 11, 2003 @02:18PM (#5931623)
      http://www.email2success.com/?hop=gilly031.e2succe ss



      http://www.anconia.com/?r=1&s=email+advertising+ so ftware


      Some more by seaching on google where these scumbags advertise
      http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&ie=UT F-8&oe=UTF- 8&q=email+marketing&meta=
  • hmm (Score:5, Informative)

    by revmoo ( 652952 ) <slashdot.meep@ws> on Sunday May 11, 2003 @01:25PM (#5931338) Homepage Journal

    What I find most interesting about this is that the article says that Sheils made over $1000 a week. That just amazes me that there are that many stupid people out there, that actually purchase products from UCE.

    I mean, just on principle alone, I will never purchase something that I get spammed about, and I would think that most people feel the same way, so that just makes me wonder, who DOES buy this stuff? It's those people that are to blame for the continued onslaught of spam. If no one bought their stuff, they wouldn't waste their time(and ours) anymore

    Just a thought

    • Re:hmm (Score:5, Interesting)

      by treat ( 84622 ) on Sunday May 11, 2003 @01:29PM (#5931367)
      What I find most interesting about this is that the article says that Sheils made over $1000 a week. That just amazes me that there are that many stupid people out there, that actually purchase products from UCE.

      What I find more interesting is that trivial software was being sold for many many thousands of dollars. He must have spent $20K on software. Are spammers themselves that stupid?

    • Actually, he said he got $12 per lead for lonas - lets see - a hundred friends, 1200 split 2 ways is $600 for almost no work (except maybe listening to a sales pitch). Looks like asking about loas could be more lucrative than spamming.

      What we need now is a vertical marketing (i.e pyramid scheme) company to sell responses through a network,...
    • That many people? With millons of email sends, they are sucessful when they have a 0.1 % response rate... big numbers apply here
    • Re:hmm (Score:3, Insightful)

      by alphaseven ( 540122 )
      What I find most interesting about this is that the article says that Sheils made over $1000 a week.

      Maybe, but really i believe these guys about as much as those guys on late night tv with the yacht selling real estate advice.

      If Sheils is really smart he is probably setting himself up so he can sell software/books to wannabe spammers. He can include articles like this and tell people "Work from home, make money like me."

    • Re:hmm (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Phroggy ( 441 ) * <slashdot3@[ ]oggy.com ['phr' in gap]> on Sunday May 11, 2003 @02:21PM (#5931636) Homepage
      Note that he didn't necessarily make $1000 a week from people buying the products he advertised. He made $1000 a week from companies who paid him to advertise their stuff. Big difference! He mentioned that mortgage companies would pay him for anyone who requested more informtation, even if that person never actually got the mortgage.
    • Re:hmm (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 11, 2003 @03:28PM (#5931991)
      True Story :

      Somebody's eMail address gets abused as a spam reply-to (yielding a LOT of bounces, replies, etc.), sends it to a friend of mine who then goes on to investigate. Product being advertized is some kind of herbal that is supposed to give you more power, if you know what I mean.
      Either way, site looks flashy (no flash though), with a snappy order-form, asks for cc number, etc. all through normal http. Now of course since you want to find out WHO is the perpetrator, you try variations on the URL, say, / instead of /order.php ... Whoops, directory listing. Interesting folder named orders there. Interesting file named ****orders.txt there. That file contains all the records that have been submitted on the order form, complete with name, address, Credit Card number, the whole package.

      (we did forward said information to mastercard and visa)

      A few days after, we check back. That file has now grown to a couple hundred (!) lines, most of which look legitimate (all @aol addresses though), all ordering them herbal bottles for $50 a pop. Sucks to be them. I don't know whether or not others have found the same facts, but I'm rather sure there are more than one or two persons that have found this gaping hole.

      Either way, spam works, unfortunately. Just think about it ... a couple hundred times $50 for some junk that'll probably cost them less than $5, if they deliver at all, all for the price of sending some shameless eMails (undoubtably quite a few of them, but still).
      Even if most people feel the same way as us, that leaves the 0.5% completely and utterly clueless and desperate for a longer version of a certain organ. Send enough eMails, find enough idiots.

    • Here's the sad part. Let's say he sends ten millions spams a day. Then, for the sake of easy math, assume he makes $100/day. This works out to "earnings" of 1 cent for every 1000 emails he sends. This is very interesting.

      First of all, how much does it cost to deal with spam? I bet someone has numbers, I bet the cost/ spam is much higher. But, consider this. Assume filters catch 90% of all spam, Then lets say it takes 1 second to delete the spam. At that rate, one person deletes 3600 spams an hour, or 36,00
  • by Exanerd ( 649005 ) on Sunday May 11, 2003 @01:28PM (#5931353)
    > Well first I PAY to have an Internet connection, I do not however, pay for the mail that gets sent to me - thats the mailers responsibility. Also it seems a bit more personal being intruded upon in your own home, than having something sitting in your physical mailbox outside on the step, or the entryway to your building. Personally I think snail mail is far more wasteful in terms of actual resources, I just don't directly pay for it and I don't get as much of it and I can recycle it, but the time I spend sifting through hundreds of ridiculous spam emails a day impacts me more directly.
  • by JimDabell ( 42870 ) on Sunday May 11, 2003 @01:31PM (#5931387) Homepage

    Shiels decided a spamming career wasn't worth the personal cost.

    There you have it. I wonder if there is a way of applying this cost to every spammer.

  • by micaiah ( 593598 ) on Sunday May 11, 2003 @01:32PM (#5931401)
    "Because the hyperactivity caused a crash about every other day, Shiels monitored the computers all day."
    Hmmm I guess the spam software is running on Windows.
  • Does anybody have a easy and effective way to stop spam mail reach the inbox?
  • by isomeme ( 177414 ) <cdberry@gmail.com> on Sunday May 11, 2003 @01:38PM (#5931437) Homepage Journal
    Entering a murky world In 1998, Shiels quit his patrol sergeant job at the Adelanto Police Department in Southern California and moved back home to Portland to start a full-time career in Web design, a hobby he had been dabbling in for five years.
    So he started in 1993, the year the first creaky Mosaic browser began filtering out of the lab? I mean, I consider myself a pretty cutting-edge tech dude, and I didn't build my first site until 1994.
  • by SCHecklerX ( 229973 ) <greg@gksnetworks.com> on Sunday May 11, 2003 @01:39PM (#5931439) Homepage
    Is that this scumbag doesn't believe he is doing anything wrong.

    If he feels that this stuff is so legitimate, why is he using software that abuses open relays and proxies, and forges mail headers, instead of publishing the real address he is sending his spew from? Hmmm?

    It's forgery, plain and simple, and there are laws that deal with it. Prosecute the fsckers on it already!!!

  • Interesting Read (Score:4, Interesting)

    by unborracho ( 108756 ) <{ken.sykora} {at} {gmail.com}> on Sunday May 11, 2003 @01:43PM (#5931462) Homepage
    I have to say that this is a very interesting read. It portrays the spammer's point of view. Some of the points in the article actually make a lot of sense. We do get lots of junk mail from the u.s. post office (they could easily filter that, but they don't), yet we complain about spam the most... why?

    I thought that was an interesting point. Although this article doesn't go into too much technical detail, it provided some insight into the business aspects of this which I don't particularly agree with ethically. Sure, it's a very easy way to make money if you know what you're doing, but it's still violating people's privacy by sending them unwanted messages.

    Another thought... If your regulary Joe (the guy in this article) can find ways to become a spammer in 5-6 months of research, why can't the government do its own investigations and just put a stop to these facilitating network groups? I thought there were laws against spam in the U.S.
    • by mdfst13 ( 664665 ) on Sunday May 11, 2003 @02:53PM (#5931841)
      If you ask the Post Office to filter out the junk mail, they will. This is not 100% effective, but about 90% of postal junk mail is added on a per address basis by the post office. They can and will stop delivering that if requested.

      Also, back when I only got a few spams a week, I used to read them. I never bought anything from them, but I would look at ones I found interesting. The problem is that we have gone from five to ten spams a week to hundreds. My yahoo account (which I mainly use for site registrations) collects hundreds of emails each week in its bulk (spam) folder.

      There are several costs to me of that volume. One, I have to spend a certain amount of time checking for legitimate email. Two, what if I incorrectly classify a real email as spam. Three, I don't feel comfortable publishing my email address now, since I don't want to get more spam. In the normal course of business, I would want to publish my email (how much time is spent on taking anti-spam kludges out of email; how much server time is spent trying to send email to these invalid addresses). Four, since spam is sent indiscriminately, it drowns out legitimate uses; if it is a product in which I would be interested, I would like to learn about it. Unfortunately, very little spam is targeted towards my interests (science fiction, fantasy, etc.). Five, when I send email, I am subject to it being indiscriminately deleted because I am not a recognized sender.

      Two thirds of the email traffic overall is spam. Without it (and the computationally intense filtering created by it), we could easily cut the infrastructure in half. Think about it. Half the email servers in use could become web servers, etc. instead.

      By contrast, postal junk mail does not increase your delivery costs. In fact, postal junk mail fees pay a good portion of the cost of maintaining mail delivery to people. If postal junk mail stopped tomorrow, the post office would have to raise postage to cover the fact that they would then be running the same delivery routes with less mail. Even if there are disposal costs, these are offset by the savings in postage.

      There are very few anti-spam laws in the US. The few that do exist are state laws rather than federal laws. Most anti-spam prosecutions are based on fraud and damage claims. Further, in the US, it is not really possible to shut down a group talking about doing something. It's not illegal to discuss how the law could be broken.
    • We do get lots of junk mail from the u.s. post office (they could easily filter that, but they don't), yet we complain about spam the most... why?

      Hmm, could it be that, in amongst the real snailmail that I get, there might be, hmm, three? Four? pieces of junk mail per week. Those are easy to deal with - in fact, in Seattle, we have curbside recycling pickup.

      Whereas, inamongst the spam I get daily (averages close to 90 pieces per day, and one day, when I was busy actually having a life, I didn't check
  • Conspiracy (Score:5, Funny)

    by sholden ( 12227 ) on Sunday May 11, 2003 @01:46PM (#5931479) Homepage
    Cleary, this has been posted in an attempt to slashdot the key source that exposes the "Klingon Interpreter Needed In Oregon" 'article' for the misrepresentation that it is.
  • Best quote: (Score:4, Funny)

    by Saint Aardvark ( 159009 ) * on Sunday May 11, 2003 @01:48PM (#5931487) Homepage Journal
    "I know this all sounds like you're hiding yourself and doing this illegitimately, but the reason you have to do it is everybody tries to shut you down," Shiels said.

    On another note, anyone got any idea where these "spammer clubs" he mentions might be? I got this new toy [slashdot.org] I wanna try out...

  • by unsinged int ( 561600 ) on Sunday May 11, 2003 @01:49PM (#5931495)
    How about making it illegal for a company to finance a spammer? They are starting to pass laws that make spam illegal, but why not go to the root of the problem? If you're going to make spam illegal, then making it illegal for a company to finance an illegal activity doesn't seem that much of a stretch. In fact, that's probably already covered under some more generic existing law.

    If someone receives spam for a product and it could be shown that the company that makes the product financed the spamming, then fine the company some big bucks. It might be hard to prove, but in a lot of cases the fear that it might happen would be enough to stop companies from doing it.

    There were some figures in the article indicating how much the spammer got paid per sale or per inquiry about the product. That has to be showing up (probably under some other name) in some company's advertising budget. With the crackdown on corporate accounting I think some of this could be uncovered.
  • by compwizrd ( 166184 ) on Sunday May 11, 2003 @01:49PM (#5931496)
    How is a 41 year old man called a boy?

  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Sunday May 11, 2003 @01:49PM (#5931499) Homepage Journal
    He claims he abides by the laws, and removes people when requested. And refused porn customers...

    Also rather intelligent and well spoken.

    While his previous 'career' is absolute scum, at least he took it seriously, as a legitimate business..

    I'm impressed, too bad not most of the rest don't have his level of 'morality', and 'responsibility'.

    As much as we all hate it, ( I know I do, both at home and due to my position at work ) as long as its legal, it will continue to be a large part of net-life.
  • Here's a quote from the guy: "There's people who sit in their basements and have nothing better to do than get all upset about spam."

    What total assholes these people are.
    • Yeah... Kind of like there are people in the basement that have nothing better to do than get all upset about people:

      1. Mugging them on the street (theft of service).

      2. "Brrowing" their cars without permission to rob a bank even though they return them later, so what, difference does it make? (using someone elses mail server to relay spam).

      3. Sending threats to politicians using your address as the return address (using some innocent person's email address as the return address for bounced spam).


  • by SysKoll ( 48967 ) on Sunday May 11, 2003 @01:51PM (#5931512)

    The most satisfying solution would be to hunt down and kill spammers myself, but some courts still erroneously think that spammers are human beings. We need to have more children of judges receive explicit XXX spam. If you know a judge and their kids' email address, you know what you have to do. :-)

    Until then, we are forced to put down the ClueBat and resort to financial penalty for spammers and people hiring them.. The article says: Viagra distributors pay spammers per sale -- about $60 for every $150 order -- while financial companies typically pay for every consumer who requests more information -- as much as $12 for mortgage leads and as much as $5 for insurance referrals.

    There is something to act upon here. It's already illegal to make a sell through a prohibited third-party. You cannot, say, give a commission to a guy who sells your stuff in Libya.

    So how about giving the Federal Trade Commission the power to slap a fine on people who make sales on spam-acquired leads? Enforcement would be easy. Just answer mortage or insurance spam. The would-be insurance or mortagage broker contacts you, proving he has used the services of a spammer. Small claim court, or send the stuff to the FTC. Whammo, big fine, they won't do it again.And since they have a legal front-end in the financial world, they have assets to seize if they try to evade courts.

    -- SysKoll
  • Here is an idea.. Whenever you get spam mail (the real kind that comes in your mailbox). Take those business reply mail envelopes and fill them with all the spam you can, and send it back. The heavier, the better. I have a few friends that do this. It helps out the postal service by giving them more money and it helps you to get your point across about the junk mailings.
  • "The fast-talking ex-spammer, at a sturdy 6 feet... Duncan Shiels, 41, was raised in an upscale neighborhood in Portland's West Hills. Wide glasses, light brown hair and a neatly trimmed goatee frame a genial face."

    Now if you just happen to run into him on a lonely road, you know exactly what to do :-)

  • Another attack of the Sp4m k1dd1es...

  • by draziw ( 7737 ) on Sunday May 11, 2003 @01:57PM (#5931533) Journal
    Wonder what his parents taste like?
  • by LaceHater ( 672568 ) on Sunday May 11, 2003 @02:04PM (#5931567)
    Some useful links for reducing spam income:

    For People with an *nix Account:

    • Spamassassin [spamassassin.org] ruleset-based mail analizer. Detects spam quite well, especially if you enable access to Razor and Realtime-Blacklists. Newest release includes a bayesian filter.
    • bogofilter [sourceforge.net] My favourite bayesian spam filter. Pro: Very good detection rates after training properly. Con: Needs to be trained.
    For everybody
    • Use Mozilla Mail [mozilla.org] The up-to-date Mozilla release includes a bayesian spam filter which can be easily trained by marking spam messages. Very good detection rate after resonable low training effort.
    • Find your favourite bayesian filter here [miningco.com]

  • by WCityMike ( 579094 ) on Sunday May 11, 2003 @02:08PM (#5931583)
    Has anyone actually looked at what the business is that he's now in?

    > "Defibworld is an authorized provider
    > specializing in state of the art new and
    > pre-owned AED's and Defibrillators at
    > the lowest prices!"

    Just what I want some hospital to be shocking my heart with: a "pre-owned" defibrillator purchased "at the lowest price"!
    • I think I should cross that company off my list of potential providers for Defibrillators and AEDs.

      He might be reformed, or he might not... but he clearly has not paid ANY of his debt to society, and his ethics are in question.

      People tend to surround themselves with people of a similar stripe and philosophy (the old birds-of-a-feather argument). Just the presence of that questionable past makes me not want to do business with the company.

    • by Dareth ( 47614 ) on Sunday May 11, 2003 @06:37PM (#5932858)
      Doctor: "I'm sorry, we did everything we could, but the damn defibrillator we bought from a former spammer wouldn't work."

      Patients Loved One: "Oh no... .. but .."

      Doctor: "Don't worry, it came with a 30 day warranty, we will get our money back."

  • by Beryllium Sphere(tm) ( 193358 ) on Sunday May 11, 2003 @02:21PM (#5931638) Homepage Journal
    First you get bitten by an existing spammer, then you transform. You'll need to stay out of sunlight and avoid garlic, though.
  • Killing the demand (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Inode Jones ( 1598 ) on Sunday May 11, 2003 @02:21PM (#5931646) Homepage
    If mortgage companies pay spammers $5 for every referral then why can't we spam them back?

    Simply create ten million or so "honeypot" email addresses, and have an automated system have them all request information on the mortgage deal.

    Once the mortgage company is on the hook for $50 million, they will think again before going to a spam outfit.

    This will knock out the mortgage and credit card spams, but won't make a dent in the porn or Viagra spams, as those actually require an order.
  • by AEton ( 654737 ) on Sunday May 11, 2003 @02:26PM (#5931679)
    "Jeffrey Kosseff", jeffkosseff@news.oregonian.com, has written us a wonderful article short on facts and sadly devoid of technical information. This reminds me of one other Jeff K. [somethingawful.com] I know--coincidence? Methinks not.
  • by altairmaine ( 317424 ) on Sunday May 11, 2003 @02:33PM (#5931716)
    What's so great about the article? The reason this particular spammer quit!

    He quit because of hostile, harassing emails from the angry public! They work! Every email you've sent telling a spammer that they're a worthless turd of a human being had some miniscule effect!

    Even now, the guy admits no moral qualms about his former job. He's still a thoughtless punk who sees nothing wrong with the practice, and I'd still like to punch him in the nose. But he QUIT, because we made his life miserable in return.

    The lesson: keep giving 'em hell. It's not just gratifying, it sometimes works.
  • It amazes me... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by KC7GR ( 473279 ) on Sunday May 11, 2003 @02:46PM (#5931803) Homepage Journal
    ...that an ex-cop, who should certainly know the difference between 'Right' and 'Wrong,' would not see spamming for the ongoing theft of bandwidth and resources that it truly is. He got out of it because of all the hate mail and such that he was getting, not because it was just plain unethical.

    I still think the best possible defense against spam is to be self-hosted, server-wise. I would also be interested to know how often this guy had to change ISPs thanks to being (rightfully) shut down for abuse of resources.

    Then again, if he were hosted on AT&T/Comcast, that might never have happened. AT&T likes spammer money too much.

  • Open proxies (Score:4, Interesting)

    by httptech ( 5553 ) on Sunday May 11, 2003 @02:50PM (#5931824) Homepage
    This is the primary method of spam distribution today. If the spammers are smart, they are staying away from the Sobig.a proxies on port 1180/1182 due to the fact they will allow anti-spammers to quickly track down the spammer's real IP address [lurhq.com]. If it truly is a handful of big time spammers sending the bulk of the email, one could make a pretty big impact on them this way.
  • Meh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Skim123 ( 3322 ) <mitchell AT 4guysfromrolla DOT com> on Sunday May 11, 2003 @02:57PM (#5931851) Homepage
    This guy basically shared his story for a publicity plug for his defibralator Web site (see the last paragraph in the story). This would be synonymous to an ex-Enron exec who joined up with PepsiCola after the Enron fallout sharing his story of deceipt only to start off with saying, "Before I begin, let's all enjoy a Pepsi. Mmmmmm, Pepsi tastes so good and its stock price is very reasonable - buy now!"
  • by StormyMonday ( 163372 ) on Sunday May 11, 2003 @02:58PM (#5931860) Homepage
    First rule -- spammers lie. And there are a bunch of inconsistancies in the article that make me wonder.

    I'd want to take a look at his books, and his bank account. Get a list of his clients, and see how much stuff they're actually selling. "Spam on commission" sounds seriously odd.

    Also keep in mind that $1000/week is $50,000/year -- not all that impressive.
  • by Simon Lyngshede ( 623138 ) <simon@spiceweasel . d k> on Sunday May 11, 2003 @03:02PM (#5931876) Homepage
    And it automatically deletes addresses that have such phrases as "info" and "service," those that likely don't immediately bounce to an actual person.
    I'm consider getting a service@ address, maybe that would cut down the amount of spam I'm getting
  • by JayBlalock ( 635935 ) on Sunday May 11, 2003 @03:04PM (#5931879)
    Postal spam is worse. I've gotten to the point that, whenever I move, I *don't* fill out a change of address card because I'm sick of the fliers following me everywhere I go. I usually get 2 or 3 legitimate items of postal mail a week, versus dozens of bulk-mail ads. I'd simply not check my mailbox (which involves a 6-minute hike to the front of the apartment complex and back) but not checking it for more than a couple days causes my box to be crammed full. So, should I be more annoyed with: A)E-Spam, which takes me a whole 5 seconds to filter every time I check my e-mail, and is almost certainly mixed in with legitimate e-mails or B)A daily 6-minute hike which generally has the sole purpose of emptying my mailbox to physically make room for more bulk mail, with little chance of any practical yeild. See my\his point? (and no comments about needing the exercise, I quite enjoy walking - when it's by my choice out of no other obligation)
    • Albeit from an involuntary agreement: in return for that bulk mail all first class mail you send out is much cheaper- bulk mail subsidizes regular mail. However, because postal mail is a public good (in the economists' sense) you yourself don't negotiate the contract about this. If as in your case you don't receive or send much postal mail it is costly to you, but on average it works out.

      Bulk unsolicited email is the exact opposite. It is an unnegotiated public bad- neither you nor your ISP negotiates that

  • by Seek_1 ( 639070 ) on Sunday May 11, 2003 @03:15PM (#5931919)
    When a spammer is actually caught, rather than fining them, I submit this incredibly complex formula for determining PRISON time.

    1 second in prison, for every email that they've sent.

    So if a spammer is caught, and after they raid his computers they figure he did 10 million emails that week, that would be...

    10 000 000 / (24 * 3600) = 115 days in prison (roughly 4 months, for that week)

    I think that would work out to a managable amount of time (ie something that won't overflow the prisons). It also would make things easier since the authorities would only need to analyze a relatively small set of data to get proof and sentencing (ie this month's ISP logs)

    Or even if it wasn't prison-time, they could easily be forced to manual labour for the city the live in or something... (preferably something like cleaning sewers, but basically anywhere that manual labour is needed...)

    sound like a good idea?
    • I can't decide whether to appluad your suggestion or criticize it. In another post I assumed that it takes an average of 1 second per spam to identify and delete it. I then worked out that at the rate this guy was sending spam each year he was burning up an entire lifetime of other people's time just deleting the crap.

      So, is a life sentence a fair punnishment for one year of spamming?

  • by Nihilanth ( 470467 ) <chaoswave2 AT aol DOT com> on Sunday May 11, 2003 @03:21PM (#5931948)
    Ive seen a rehash in this thread of several sensible (and not so sensible) ideas regarding reducing spam, and making life tougher for spammers. One idea this article gave me, however, that i havent seen discussed much, involves these message boards that were alluded to in the article.

    A digital social network (in the form of bullitain boards, etc) through which people can trade information about addresses, software, and spamming methods should be a trivial thing for a large digitally sophisticated crowd (ie slashdot) to find and then attack, either by trolling/flooding, or more outright destructive means.

    This dosent address the actual hardware involved in sending and receiving spam, but rather constitutes a multi-front assault against a subculture. Maybe it wont stop all spam, but it would make it harder for people to get into the spam business, by either exposing this social infrastructure and diluting it, or disabling it violently by disrupting the virtual real-estate it resides in.
  • Do the math (Score:5, Insightful)

    by broothal ( 186066 ) <christian@fabel.dk> on Sunday May 11, 2003 @03:44PM (#5932096) Homepage Journal
    He's been involved in the spamming business for 6 months

    He spent the first 5 months researching and one month of spamming

    He spent $10.000 on spam-software

    He claims he made $1000 a week.

    4 weeks times $1000=$4000 income.
    $4000 income minus $10.000 is -$6000. So, the guy loses $6000 on spamming.

    Film at eleven...
  • by jpellino ( 202698 ) on Sunday May 11, 2003 @04:10PM (#5932218)
    "Ready, set, spam Armed with swaths of information, Shiels purchased four computers and two cable-modem connections, which soon were running above full capacity with only about six hours of rest each day. But that was just the beginning of the investments. "

    This makes sense. In the past month or so, the amount traceable to DSL or cable clients has now pushed over 50% of my spam. I'm slowly automating turfing them to the abuse depts - but some don't even let you send directly - you have to go fill out a form. And they demand the full message- difficult when the email grabs an image as you open it - those don't stay. Seems the cable/dsl companies have this very low on their priority list.

  • Stuntman! (Score:3, Funny)

    by bkocik ( 17609 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @01:03PM (#5937405) Homepage
    He left his hometown to become a Hollywood stuntman and then a police officer before returning five years ago as a budding Internet entrepreneur.

    Screw spamming...I wanna know how to become a Hollywood stuntman!

"An organization dries up if you don't challenge it with growth." -- Mark Shepherd, former President and CEO of Texas Instruments