A Day In The Life Of An AOL Spam Catcher

from the catchin'-spam-all-day-long dept

AOL claims that they’re getting tough on spam, but if you ever wondered how they do it, it’s a bit less sophisticated than you might imagine. They apparently have a group of people sitting in a room looking over user complaints and deciding whether or not the flagged emails are spam. Actually, to be honest, the story reads somewhat similar to the story we had recently about those who hunt down porn for web filter companies. What I found most surprising in the article is the hesitancy the main person had in declaring certain emails spam. All of the examples she brought up were clearly spam (things like advertisements for human growth hormone, advertising lower mortgage rates, or “turbocharging” your sex life). Yet, on each one, she would say something like, “that smells kind of fishy” or “most likely, that’s spam”.

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Comments on “A Day In The Life Of An AOL Spam Catcher”

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Tobias Robison says:

"Smells like spam"

You have to realize that the definition of “Spam” is special here and that’s why it’s hard to decide what it is. SPAM used to be anything that is sent to “everybody”. If I send an announcement of my daughter’s engagement to everyone with an Email address, we used to call that “SPAM” (and most people would still say it’s spam). Note that content is not an issue, just whom you address.

The new question is: is this ILLEGAL SPAM THAT CAN BE ATTACKED? To use existing laws, it helps if the target spam makes illegal or unsupportable claims and statements, or does something illegal about address concealment.

If there is such a thing as herbal generic viagra that might really work, the humans at AOL should decide it’s “not spam” because they can’t attack its originators as well as the originators of other “spam”.

Simo says:

Block address?

Surely the AOL anti-spammers aren’t as stupid as AOL-users?

They block the Reply-To: address and wonder why it doesn’t stop the spam as “they keep changing their address”?

When was the last time you got a spam with a legit From/Reply-To address?

If I ever got a spam with a From: address that was really going back to the spammer, I’d send off a nice mailbomb/DDoS/virus.

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