Guestbook spammer sullies a name
April 27, 2006 6:56 AM   Subscribe

An unwelcome guest of spam. As thanks for his efforts against link spam, a guestbook spammer uses infotech writer Michael Pollitt's name in its autosubmissions, flooding his inbox with confirmation emails and soiling Google's search results for his name. A special word of gratitude goes out to Ev1Servers for his troubles.
posted by brownpau (18 comments total)
While not the same kind of victim, I can't help but give a shout out to spammers using one of my domain names as their 'From:' address in email spam.

Boy it's a fun couple of weeks while I recieve tens of hundreds of emails every week from a) Mail Servers bouncing back, and b) Incensed spammed people yelling at me to stop sending them mail. The mails always come from a bot in some foreign country so I have no way to track it down.

All in all, I don't think paying to send email is the answer, but you kind of wish there was a remote tesla coil option.
posted by cavalier at 7:10 AM on April 27, 2006

so, basically, sucks?
posted by slater at 7:12 AM on April 27, 2006

My only suggestion to the poor guy is to set up a filter that tags everything with the word "guestbook" as spam, and potentially auto-deletes. My domain name regularly gets spoofed by spammers, and I receive dozens and dozens of "bounced" e-mails every day. I finally ended up setting up filters that deliver those bounces straight to my trash, because they were overwhelming my inbox. Because they appeared to be legitimate bounces, my spam filter was letting them through. Now I'll no longer know if my e-mails really do bounce, but that happens quite rarely so I much prefer this method of dealing with the spoofing.
posted by etoile at 7:14 AM on April 27, 2006

I've had a dedicated server with ev1 for about a year and they've been incredibly helpful (because I'm a paying customer?). It sounds like they're in the wrong here, but I hope this is more representative of a few bad apples inside the company than of the company itself.
posted by null terminated at 7:19 AM on April 27, 2006

I change e/mail addresses frequently. My mail server is set up to "black hole" (doesn't respond, doesn't send it to a default address, just deletes it) any e/mail sent to a non-active address.

The internet is the internet, we can either pay for it or we can deal with it, but we'll not have a "free" internet that isn't abused.

And, the "google search" complaint...I don't get that.. who searches for someone's name and tacks "gmail" onto the search... I searched for his name and got legit hits from google..

posted by HuronBob at 7:21 AM on April 27, 2006

cavalier - sounds like you and I have the same problem. I've only gotten a couple of incensed e-mails, though; are they a common occurrence for you? This was the best one; the subject line was "YOU ARE PROBABLY A MORON."
It's likely that your email has reached me in error because you are simply not bright enough to type an email address properly. Kindly double-check the address of the person to whom you were trying to send your email now, and regret your shortcomings.

The technological revolution has left you in the dust. I mean, how hard is it, really, to type an email address in the "To" field of your gui email client? You are daft. You should probably just commit seppuku and do the rest of the world a favor.

If you are emailing the tourism agency for Dekalb, Alabama, you should send an email to pattyt, not patty.

Otherwise, you are either a simpering fool or a spammer, and in either case there are few things I would enjoy more than watching you catch on fire and run around screaming. You are a waste of carbon, and I don't like you.

Have a pleasant day.
posted by etoile at 7:21 AM on April 27, 2006

Maybe my spam is more attractive, or the lists they use are more daft. I get a handful a week, usually just get a short two or three lines of yelling NO MORE EMAILS STOP IT YOU MORON, but they never gave me such a nice nerdy reply. That tourism agency got its money's worth!
posted by cavalier at 7:38 AM on April 27, 2006

On re-reading that, I want to make sure I did not say "My spam is nicer than your spam, neener neener!". Sorry about that. I don't know what it is about it, most of it does not have links, but I definitely have seen an upspike in 'STOP IT' emails this time.
posted by cavalier at 7:39 AM on April 27, 2006

null-terminated: if the articles we were pointed to are correct, ev1 are major, *systematic* spam hosters and probably rolling in free cash as a result. This isn't just one complaint, this is years of complaints, and it's not just sending Spam, it's automated programs doing active things like defacing blogs and wikis.

I am sure they can afford to give their legitimate customers red-carpet service as a result of their more-or-less criminal activities but, if the facts are as given (and the record seems extremely convincing to me), you are contributing to Spam by continuing your account with them, and every time you see a piece of Spam anywhere you should think, "I helped in a small way to bring that about."
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 8:08 AM on April 27, 2006

Yeah, it sounds like you're in the position of one of those fabled Little Italy residents who used to refuse to hear a bad word about those nice people the feds kept calling "mafiosi" and trying to put behind bars, because they kept the neighborhood crime-free and put on a great fireworks show.
posted by languagehat at 8:44 AM on April 27, 2006

...every time you see a piece of Spam anywhere you should think, "I helped in a small way to bring that about."
This seems unduly harsh.

I'm going to assume that null_terminated had no idea about his hosts business practices and I expect many of us have been guilty of arranging for hosting without a fully checking the background of the hosting company. I know several other people who have received nothing but exemplary service from Ev1 and at one point they hit my short list for a project.

Of course, now that the facts are out there, it puts a somewhat different spin on things. Now that this is becoming common knowledge the actions that Ev1 takes will be telling. However, when it comes to monitoring software running on a dedicated server, Ev1 is far from unique in their reluctance to look too closely.
posted by cedar at 9:33 AM on April 27, 2006

Also see these entries from Pollitt's archived "Stopping the Guestbook Spammer" series: parts 1, 2, 3, 4.
posted by brownpau at 9:43 AM on April 27, 2006

I've seen a massive increase in ref-spam tb-spam and comment spam from romanian and ukranian pill-vendors these past two months too - is there more spamming going on now?
posted by dabitch at 9:51 AM on April 27, 2006

cedar: This seems unduly harsh.

Yeah, it's a certain hard core anti-spam rhetoric that always goes over my head. Because Company Foo did something poorly, the only way to stop them is for everyone to stop doing business with Company Foo, even people who have had no issues and terrific service.

In the old blacklist days they'd go and kill an entire hosting provider's subnet if one of their customers spammed. Again, the adage being all the other customers would rise up in horror and kill the ISP. It never worked.

It's using a shotgun approach to kill spam, and it's just not effective. Hurts too many people.
posted by cavalier at 10:36 AM on April 27, 2006

When I was looking for a server I did think about using EV1 but there was this nagging in the back of mind about where I'd heard the name before. I did some Googling and realised that they were most famous for buying a license from SCO.

So they'd helped deliver a kick in the teeth to the people who work on Linux and get SCO some good publicity too - but that wasn't what bothered me most.

What bothered me was how clueless a company would have to be to think that was a good idea in the first place.

Clearly they haven't got any smarter.
posted by dodgygeezer at 10:56 AM on April 27, 2006

Still, cavalier, if I discovered one day that the company hosting my website was an active, long-time, and persistent, spam hoster I'd stop dealing with them regardless of how well they treated me.

If for no other reason than that eventually someone is going to try to DDoS and if they succeed they'll take my site down too.
posted by sotonohito at 10:59 AM on April 27, 2006

I've tracked a few spammers back to in the past.
Problem is, spam pays. Sometimes it pays a lot of money. And thanks to CAN-SPAM, it's gotten worse.

/former employee of a ROKSO spammer.
posted by drstein at 11:01 AM on April 27, 2006

Still, cavalier, if I discovered one day that the company hosting my website was an active, long-time, and persistent, spam hoster I'd stop dealing with them regardless of how well they treated me.
This, I get. Who wouldn't be looking to move after reading this thread and following the links?

But, and it's a big one, there is one thing I'm not clear on. If EV1 is a commodity host, and if the big evil spammers were using an unmanaged dedicated server and paying their bills, I don't see why EV1 should be held responsible or liable in any way.

To me this is a privacy issue. I hate spam as much as anyone and am quite proactive in the battle, but EV1 is no more evil than the telco that allows people to interrupt my dinner drinking.
posted by cedar at 1:50 PM on April 27, 2006

« Older Check out my balls!   |   Adult Swim Fix: Something You Don't Need a TV to... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments