The Spam Diaries

News and musings about the fight against spam.
 by Edward Falk

Thursday, March 30, 2006

National spam news

TechCrunch's Michael Arrington has written an article about how Plaxo has reformed (at least somewhat), and have made it harder for their user base to accidentally spam everybody they know with ads for Plaxo. See his post Plaxo: Now With Less Evil. PC World also has an article: Plaxo Ends Annoying Update Spam.

Computer World reports that Jumpstart Technologies of San Francisco has been heavily fined under the CAN-SPAM act. Jumpstart would give free movie tickets to people in exchange for the names and email addresses of five soon-to-be-ex friends. Those friends would then receive forged email advertising appearing to come from the original friend. Read the complete Computer World article: Marketer hit with $900,000 spam fine. This is a record fine, according to various media covering the story. PC World also has a story.

It looks like Blue Frog security got a shot in the arm this week. Spam King reports that a major spamware manufacturer has added built-in Blue Frog compliance. See Spamware vendor integrates anti-spam service. I first wrote about Blug Frog in January. Blue Frog has been the subject of a great deal of discussion in anti-spam circles, with a lot of folks objecting to their operating model. Me, I'm willing to give them a shot, see if they might actually be successful.

The news.admin.net-abuse.email newsgroup reports that the NRA has begun spamming. See netnews thread Mainsleaze: NRA. It's not yet clear how serious this is; there have not been very many complaints, and there's some suggestion that the spam is only to NRA members (which makes it not really spam in my opinion.)

New anti-spam service: Forward your spam to TattleMail, and they'll analyze the headers for you and find "the person holding the 'wire snips' to a given spammer’s Internet connectivity". Cost is $1/month, implying the service is very well automated.

From the MIT spam conference: Phillip Raymond, CEO of Vanquish, Inc proposes that email be sent with a 5-cent bond (presumably ecash). If the recipient accepts the email, the nickle goes back to the sender. Otherwise, the recipient keeps it. This should make spamming too expensive for the spammers. See Email Battles article Another plan to charge for spam. This proposal is not a new one. See the FUSSP page for hints as to why this won't work.


Quickies:

Vox: Email Marketers 'Shockingly' Unaware of CAN-SPAM

Government Computer News says that 11% of all email traffic is misdirected spam bounces, and that this may be the next big spam threat.

Email Battles reports on the Junk Fax Prevention Act, nicknamed "CAN-FAX". The proposed bill relaxes restrictions on junk faxers, but bills itself as an anti-junkfax law.

The Oregon Food Bank reports that scammers are sending cell phone text message spam claiming to be OFB and soliciting donations. See KATU report.

The CAN-SPAM act says you can opt out of a spammers email list, but allows the spammers to set their own opt-out procedure. InfoWorld has an article about how 3Com's opt-out procedure requires, among other things, that you opt in.

Security Pro News reports a three-fold increase in child porn spam.

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