Are Spam Lawsuits Encouraging More Spammers?

from the not-so-good dept

The two big antispam stories from yesterday were Microsoft getting $7 million out of Scott Richter and AOL giving away Brad Bournival’s gold bricks, cash and Hummer. While both companies claim that this should be seen as a “warning” of sorts to spammers, Brian McWilliams suggests it may be doing exactly the opposite — by showing spammers (and potential spammers) just how much money can be made in spamming. In fact, in both cases, McWilliams suggests that the spammers are getting off lightly. For Richter, the $7 million buys him a ton of publicity — much of it saying he’s now gone “legit” (something we’re guilty of participating in as well). For Bournival, McWilliams points out that the total “take” that AOL is giving away equals about a week’s worth of revenue at the high point of his spamming days. So, unless the various lawsuits show real punishment to the spammers, the message being delivered is that spamming can make you a ton of money — and if you get caught, you may have to give just a bit of it back. That’s not quite the impression either Microsoft or AOL probably wants to be spreading.

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