Spammer Wants Anti-Spam Law To Make His Spams Legal

from the follow-the-logic dept

Back in February, we posted a link to a profile of known spammer Ronnie Scelson. At the time, it sounded as though he was getting quite annoyed by all those anti-spammers out there who were “forcing” him to use underhanded tricks to spam people. He preferred, he claimed, to be totally upfront about who he was and what he was sending but then (surprise, surprise) people would get angry at him and shut him down. Perhaps he should think about that. If people are trying to shut him down, maybe it’s because they don’t want the crap he’s dumping on them. That doesn’t seem to occur to him. Instead, he whines about how difficult it is for him to keep sending out his “legal” emails. Today, he went before Congress to urge them to pass an anti-spam bill that would let him keep spamming. He says more of the same stuff he said in the first profile, talking about how he’s been “forced” to go underground with his spam operation. He also makes fun of an executive from Brightmail who touts their spam filter, saying that it only took him a day to figure out how to get around it – and he sent that info on to 300 other spammers. He also claimed that his email list is all completely legitimate and he bought it from AOL. Ted Leonsis from AOL was on the same panel and didn’t deny that this was true. He doesn’t seem to understand the idea that if people didn’t specifically opt-in to hear from him, they probably don’t want to. Update: The Washington Post has more on Scelson’s testimony, though their version of the AOL story is a bit different. They claim that Ted Leonsis accused Scelson of violating their terms of service, and Scelson agreed (but didn’t care). Scelson claims that ISPs that block spam are “depriving people of their right to see their mail”. If that were true, then wouldn’t users complain to their ISPs or switch to ISPs that didn’t have anti-spam policies in place? Scelson likes to talk a good game, but it’s pretty easily picked apart.

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Comments on “Spammer Wants Anti-Spam Law To Make His Spams Legal”

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Anonymous for now says:

Opt Out vs. Opt In

It’s funny, in all the articles I’ve read on the subject, you are the first person I’ve heard use the term opt-in. And I completely agree with that concept. In my opinion Congress and everyone else who use the term opt-out have COMPLETELY missed the problem here. Companies are required to take you off their list if you opt out. BUT WE NEVER OPTED IN. Why is the responsibility put on the consumer to say, I don’t want any advertisements from you? Why is the retailer or telemarketer allowed to make the assumption that we want to buy term life insurance or that perfect time share condo over the phone? Why are we creating a National Do Not Call List when we should be creating a National OK to Call List? Again, the responsibility is put on the consumer to take their names off these lists when it should be the responsibility of the business to make sure it’s ok with the consumer to use their names. Anyway, I don’t want to take up too much space here, but those are my comments. Thanks.

August Jackson (user link) says:

Re: Opt Out vs. Opt In

No doubt. Never mind that “opting out” of most spammers lists simply makes you a mark for them to share your e-mail address with other spammers. Since you took the time to opt-out of their list you are obviously a “live one” for them to sell to others. In other words, even the attempts to opt out end up opting you in in these jerks minds.

Pardon the bitterness. Even with filtering something like 80% of my in-box is SPAM (and that’s giving “legitimate” advertising e-mail the benefit of the doubt by excluding them from those numbers).

kiddanger (user link) says:


There are simple solutions to SPAM but nobody who can make a difference will do so. Why? Businesses, as usual, are lobbying for the right to market to us and Congress is being bought off, as usual.

Simple Solutions:

1. Opt-in ONLY! If your email address is not on the list, then you cannot be emailed.
2. All advertisers have to join an advertisers list, with possibly annual dues and/or per email marketing costs. The money covers administration of the database and a payment, per email, to each person marketed to. (O:=
3. A TLD called .ads. All ads must be placed here and users can at their choosing visit the site to see the ads. (Not likely)
4. Email profiling. A list of email supported types that the ISP’s or company’s email server will have to support. A database of authorized senders will be verified against for authentication to accept the incoming message. Users have to first sign up with ISPs/companies with a form they must fill out on their respective web sites and if they receive confirmation, then they will be authorized for ad delivery. Vioaltors will be subject to civil penalties and required to pay those violated. Registrars will be required to suspend domains found to be in violation and criminal penalties levied against violators.

Realistically none of these will ever happen. Why? Because it sets a rule and nobody wants to follow the rule. Cable TV marketed us to death to get cable TV with promises of NO COMMERCIAL INTERRUPTIONS because we’re paying to view. Now they have more commercials than public television, usually about what’s coming up next on the program you’re already tuned into. (See Fox News) 25% of their day is advertising about themselves and another 25% about 3rd party ads and 50% of actual programming. Cable TV now has pay-per-view. What a concept. Let me pay for service, pay extra for ‘premium’ channels and then pay-per-view. Isn’t cable TV ALL PAY PER VIEW ALREADY? So, now I am paying cable TV, who charges advertisers to advertise, to put those ads on cable which were never supposed to be there? LIAR, liar, pants on fire. Corruption in government due to illegal lobbying is why this is happening. This means we’ll always be putting up with this crap.

I think SPAMmers should have to sign up to be an advertiser, with verifiable credentials and an agreement that says if they violate the rules, those who get spammed get to bill them. Any bills outstanding for more than 30 days puts their domains, ALL OF THEM, in suspension. No revenue until you pay your bill.

My only solution, for personal email, is to setup rules to accept those that I want to receive email from and route all others to a SPAM folder. Once I have verifiable accounts, a script modified my rule set to put unwanted domains in the ‘delete from server’ list. Yes, they get to my mailbox but they do not waste my personal bandwidth once they are on this list. All free domains are completely excluded. Want to send me email and have a free email account, like hotmail, yahoo, msn, aol, netscape, etc. then you’ll have to call me. I’ll send you to a form which will verify your email address and then when I’m notified, through ASPEmail, I will add you to my ‘ok’ list which has higher priority than the rule to block that entire domain.

It works quite well but it will always be an ongoing effort. No matter what rules are derived, there will always be those that will violate them.


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