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Spam Fighters: Revenge is a Dish Best Left in the Freezer and Forgotten

There’s no denying that the fight against spam attracts a lot of crazies, both pro- and anti-spam. One of the common attributes of the anti-spam kooks is that they often think in terms of somehow taking revenge against the spammers—regardless of who else gets hurt along the way.

In 2005, that revenge came in the form of BlueFrog, a service which purported to launch what can only be called denial of service attacks against spammers’ web sites. Though far from the first, this time the revenge idea proved surprisingly popular—and unsurprisingly ineffective. As usual, there was absolutely no evidence that the serious spammers even noticed. If they did, they were probably laughing.

This week, a company called SpamZa was hurriedly making a similar mistake. They took the old script kiddie trick of mailbombing a victim by signing them up for hundreds or thousands of unconfirmed opt-in lists, and turned it into a service. Anne Mitchell describes it further.

What’s interesting is that this only works for what the email marketing industry calls “single-opt-in” lists: Those which allow anyone to enter any address, and then that address is automatically added without any additional confirmation or verification step. SpamZa has, ironically, proven what anti-spam activists have been saying for years: Single opt-in is not opt-in at all.

However, that does not redeem SpamZa. No matter what their disclaimers may disclaim, that service is only useful for abuse—so it should be no surprise that they’ve been shut down.

Read more from ZDNet, Word to the Wise, and Getting Email Delivered.

This article was originally written for Box of Meat

By J.D. Falk, Internet Standards and Governance

Filed Under


the @ sign Wayne Merritt  –  Sep 15, 2008 7:21 PM

Maybe the government can “trademark” the @ sign, and then anyone using it will have to pay ?

But on a serious note - I may check and see if the @ sign is trademarked, and then take everybody with an email address to court if they use it.

Ok, maybe that wasn’t serious either.. but this is serious….

The “very first” spam known to mankind came from a Lawyer.

Imagine that - From Injury Chasing to the old tire company that slits tires
in there neighborhood to pick up business.

Gotta love it… the justice system, really is , just a system


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