August 30, 2001
12:47 PM   Subscribe

Spammers stoop to new low. I received an unsolicited spam this week from MonsterHut, extolling the virtues of their "products" which are "email marketing" (they're a spam cannon). After reporting it at Spamcop, I received an interesting email from their bandwidth host. It seems that before they could cancel MonsterHut's account for violating their terms of service, MonsterHut began suing them. The worst part? A judge granted MonsterHut a temporary restraining order, forcing Paetec to keep their site online while they continue spamming. How far will spammers go to get their word out? When's it going to stop?
posted by mathowie (15 comments total)

 
BTW, Paetec is collecting affadavits from people that received the spam, so if you did, fill one out. It may be their only chance against the court.
posted by mathowie at 12:48 PM on August 30, 2001


I wonder if there's anyway of preventing spam.
I mean, prevent 100% of it.
posted by martz at 1:09 PM on August 30, 2001


Shut down every SMTP server in the world.
posted by darukaru at 1:19 PM on August 30, 2001


When Spamdango goes live.
posted by kchristidis at 1:39 PM on August 30, 2001


But seriously, this case is simply astounding. If I read the affadavit correctly, Monsterhut is suing Paetec because they wouldn't provide a DS3 line for them to spam with. In real-world terms, this is roughly equivalent to suing the water company because they won't hook you up with a firehose to hose down passersby.
posted by darukaru at 1:42 PM on August 30, 2001


It exists because it works. It works because people are idiots. Unless someone can find a way to legislate intelligence, spam will exist.

...witness the fact that even judges can be spectacularly ill-informed.
posted by aramaic at 1:47 PM on August 30, 2001


Darukaru, aramaic — you defeatist bastards!

I get no spam, because I wrote a little .procmailrc to block spam with an accept-list. It works perfectly, and inconveniences real people only a little and only the first time they mail me. No-one has ever complained, and I know that whenever my mailtool chimes I have real mail — it's like when all e-mail was good, back before 1994!

Spam works because mail delivery agents deliver mail with fake return addresses, so a spammer can blast mail to millions of addresses and ignore any replies. If ISPs all offered accept-list spam blocking, spam would be pointless, since even automatic handling of millions of incoming messages would massacre any server, much less Joe Hotmail's inbox.

In the meantime, if your mail is delivered by procmail, feel free to copy and use my .procmailrc, or to ask me questions about it.
posted by nicwolff at 3:31 PM on August 30, 2001


So, this is where the 'beaverhome' spam I got this morning came from.

I thought it was some kind of strangly named porn site, but it turned out to be for a Home improvement website.
posted by delmoi at 3:56 PM on August 30, 2001


Alright, Mefi, a question. Has anyone here ever bought something in response to spam? Come on, admit it, someone has to be paying these people. Who spammed you and what did you buy?

Disclosure... I get a huge amount of spam. I occasionally click through. Sometimes I'm hoping that the spammers include a 800 number so I can cost them a dime. Sometimes the subject lines fool me. I never buy anything.
posted by rdr at 10:50 PM on August 30, 2001


Alright, Mefi, a question. Has anyone here ever bought something in response to spam? Come on, admit it, someone has to be paying these people. Who spammed you and what did you buy?

In my eyes, Spam makes the Pennysaver thrown on my doorstep look credible. I think spam represents the ultimate in advertising fraud.
posted by ParisParamus at 7:17 AM on August 31, 2001


Ok, well reading the whole transcript;

Monsterhut negotiated a clause in the contract with Paetec to let them send out 'targeted e-mail' that would not come back with more than a 2% complaint threshold. On the mailing in question, they didn't come anywhere near the 2%.

And, realistically, Paetec should have known when negotiating that clause that the response/complaint rate to spam is probably more in the .2% range, not the 2% range.

Monsterhut is suing Paetec for a restraining order because Paetec, again -stupidly- sent a temination notice (which, of course, they are legally allowed to do), but did it with a 24 hour service termination as opposed to a cease and desist, 30 day cure period (such as setting up an opt-out service) notice, not really violating the 30 day rights notice outline in the contract, but keeping the question open on if they were ignoring the cure clause.

So, while I hate spam and spammers, Monsterhut does have a leg to stand on because Paetec was just stupid.
posted by rich at 7:40 AM on August 31, 2001


déjà vu :)
posted by kliuless at 8:00 AM on August 31, 2001


I've seen aramaic's statement "It exists because it works" so many times, but I've only ever met one person who consistently falls for spam, and he's someone who should know better but doesn't. Even naive new computer users like my aged parents and my equally aged parents-in-law are generally too smart to fall for spam.

Maybe there is a large enough population of suckers out there, but I think what works is the process of selling the spamming process to people - the "buy how CD with a trill..trilli...trii..lots and lots of addresses and our book 'Zillionaires R' US - How to becum rich sending email' and youse too can becum rich like I is" process. In other words, the main success in spamming is with other spammers.

Certainly, I think anybody who conducts a marketing campaign using spam is going to lose more customers than they gain. Don't laugh, the guy I mentioned earlier wanted to do this. It took a while and some threats of violence to convince him otherwise (he's my boss).
posted by Option1 at 9:03 AM on August 31, 2001


How are spammers making any money? Do they collect on the click-thru? It boggles my mind.

Maybe we need to set up a separate network , an all-spam network, like the Home Shopping Network. That way the suckers Neil mentioned above have a place to go where they can learn all about how to reduce their debt, get that credit card, and get in touch with hot lovely ladies waiting for your phone call DIAL NOW.

I've been thinking about this a lot, lately, not just spam, but the idea of having a totally commercial internet separate from the non-commercial network. There's a lot of problems with it, but I can think of some incredible benefits too... I dunno. Is that a totally unworkable idea?
posted by mjane at 4:54 PM on August 31, 2001


the idea of having a totally commercial internet separate from the non-commercial network. There's a lot of problems with it, but I can think of some incredible benefits too...

You need the secret decoder ring to get access to that. The encryption key is 'widjet24601'
posted by juv3nal at 10:44 PM on September 2, 2001


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