The Deadbeats Hall of Lame
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What's with this hard-line anti-spam stuff?I'm glad you asked, because I'm sick of answering this question. While simple, the answer is also complex and long.
It all started around April of 1995. I had been posting quite a bit in news groups, nothing serious, just participating in some message threads, asking questions, answering questions, giving out information, you know, what Usenet was originally for. I noticed that around this time, spam started showing up quite heavily in the news groups I like to hang around in. At this point, there is no cause or need for alarm, as there seems to be a pattern, a few months of no spam or light usenet spam, followed by a surge of spam, followed my a period of virtual no spam and then the cyclie repeats. The spams were the typical chain letters and money pyramids, scam the phone company, mail fraud, steal cable, bomb recipes, stolen software, nothing unusual, although generally annoying.
Normally, I get anywhere from 50 to 150 emails a day, although some days are higher and lower. Then some inventive spammer decided that it would be a good idea to just search the headers of news postings and then spam everyone he was able to snag an address for. Apparently, this caught on, because now there are domains, companies and networks that exist for the SOLE purpose of scamming and spamming and other online annoyance.
Suddenly, I'm getting anywhere from 300 to 1500 emails a day across my many accounts. My hard drive space was rapidly vanishing, and my online sessions were getting very lengthy just so I could do an email session, but then again, I tend to spend 8 hours a day online, since a lot of my work is done over the internet anyways. It was taking forever to get through the spam, and it was getting increasingly harder to find legitimate emails because they were sandwiched by spam.
Wait, there's more. The spam load was getting so bad that my customers were unable to email me because my mailbox was constantly being flooded with scams and spams. Their emails were being returned because my mailboxes were overflowing. I could not go online because I had to handle the phone calls of angry PAYING customers yelling at me because they could not email the information I needed, or they needed. I could not go online as my phone was ringing 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, and as soon as I would hang-up, the phone would ring again. As this happened, this spam kept piling up as I had no way of checking it.
I finally left my phone off the hook. I then also moved my computer to a different location so I could get over 5000 emails, 99% of which were scams.
Every single email was answered, and all spams were answered quite negatively. Each email was also CC'd to the postmaster, abuse and sysadmin accounts. Through this, I began noticing patterns of where the spam was originating from. At lot of them were damn-near identical TO THE LETTER. I don't want to slam AOL, but a lot of the spam was coming from AOL, but this was mainly the pyramid scam material.
I began to cruise news groups again. The participation of on-topic content had died quite a bit, being replaced mainly by scams and spam. Of those who were posting, it was complaining about the spam, and people would complain about the exact same spam. That is when I figured out these idiots were getting our addresses from news group headers and then spamming the whole lot of people.
Because of this new found information, I stopped PARTICIPATING in the news groups. I was only reading, knowing they can not snag my email address from simply reading. That, combined with the nasty emails I sent out greatly reduced my spam volume, and decreased the angry customer calls. From June to September, my life was hell. Fortunately, I have a wonderful day job to divert my attention from my failing home business for part of the the day. Finally, the spam slowed way the hell down, but it was increasingly evident that the spam wasn't going to stop. The signature clipping I have shown above has been on my posts since January of 1995, so spammers have no excuse for their actions.
In August, I began sending invoices out to the spammers, and most are still in collections. I have a feeling I will never see anything come out of those invoices. Oh well, it served the purpose.
In April of 1996, the spam started to flow into my email again. Obviously my tactics were not working any more. I figured I might as well create web pages to alert the world to who is sending spam. And so the Deadbeat's Hall of Fame was born, out of a passion of killing spam. This by far, combined with nasty replies and invoices being sent out, has been a wonderful tool in fighting spam. First, they know if they spam me, they will be invoiced. Then, when they spam me, they are told they will end up in my "Deadbeat's Hall of Fame", plus they are banned from my email for life. That, with the combination of "Mail actions" available in Claris Emailer for Mac(excellent program!!), should I not want to deal with someone, I add them to my list of "assholes"(that's what I call that group) and if they send me another email, they get an automatically generated rude message sent to them.
Now that my spam load is almost non-existent, I have been able to identify entire domains that cater to nothing other than spamming. Again, thanks to Claris Emailer, I can also place a mail action "filter" on an entire domain, blocking their email and generating a rude reply.
It appears that spammers hate it when they are notarized for their actions. Some of them are implementing new "methods" to appear not as scam-oriented as they really are. The new trend seems to be delete functions. My attitude was that I never asked for the stuff, so you just spammed me, so welcome to the "Deadbeats' Hall of Fame". The other trend is "through careful market research", which is a crock. For example, there is the IDIOT who wants to sell dinged up golf balls. The nearest I could tell is that he snagged my email address from a thread about VIDEO GOLF, where someone said that people who play video golf are losers. I replied that I like video golf and HATE real golf. Not to try and say how influential I can be, but I was suprised at how many others defended and agreed with my position. Unfortunately, this scammer pulled all of our email addresses and then spammed us. Of course, even though I've repeatedly asked to be removed from his mailing lists, he still spams me, despite my very graphical description of telling him where he could go store his golf balls. Yet another scammer decided that anyone with an address that started with "chris" would want his scam. What kind of market research is that?
So that's the story behind my anti-spam movement.
There is a new trend I've been noticing. People are trying to scold me for being so against spam, comparing it with TV commercials, radio ads(I don't listen to radio anymore, but that's not important), print ads and billboards. They tell me to mellow out and chill. They tell me I'm too agressive. Fine, I'd like to see them go through what I went through and see how they come out on the other end. I also notice most of these folks then try and add a spam into their scolding, which then immediately places them in the "Deadbeats' Hall of Fame". Tell me this, little "higher-than-thou" idiot: When did a TV ad prevent you from doing business? So, to combat this, I'm going to creat a "spam sympathiser" page so the world will be alerted as to who actually supports spam, indicating either active spammers, or future spammers.
The other new trend I've noticed is that people don't like the immediate negative results they get from spamming me at home, so now they are spamming my work address, which means they are not just scanning news group headers any more. OK, so there is a time-delay, but they still will get the same negative reaction from me regardless of where they spam me.
The moral: don't send junk to people, especially advertisements. Don't post it in news groups either. In fact, don't even read the junk, just skip it. If you get some, immediately forward it to their postmaster.
If you are one of the dilweeds who sent me unsolicited email or are someone thinking about it, drop dead.
Also, if you've got a complaint about my anti-spam feelings or want to scold me for being justifiably sick of spam, I have the following words of wisdom for you:
BLOW IT OUT YOUR ASS!Anyone else, I'd like to hear from you. Click below and drop me a line.
Anti-Spam Site administrator