by Mike Masnick

Many Well Known Companies Profiting From Spam

from the little-incentive-to-stop-spam dept

Whenever we post articles here about ways to stop spam, someone usually suggests that the only way to stop spam is to stop those who profit from it. However, as MSNBC has tried to track down just who profits from spam, the results show it might not be that easy. The problem is, that there's a whole chain of people in the "spam line", and while there may be a completely legitimate (often well known) company at the end of the line, the incentives remain for spammers to continue. Basically, the legitimate companies are buying "leads lists" from companies that claim they have legitimate leads. However, those leads come from other companies or individuals, who seem to buy them from others, who buy them from others, and so on down the line to the eventual spammer. The large companies at the end of the line insist their anti-spam, and will cut off companies that sell them tainted lists, but there's almost no auditing of the lists to determine where they really came from. The article also points out that the ISPs, for all the talk they put forth about stopping spam, often profit from spammers willing to buy expensive access to support their spam operations. One ISP anti-spam fighter mentions that he'll disconnect someone, and "hours later our money-thirsty salesmen sold him the service again."

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Aug 2003 @ 12:00pm

    How about foreign language spam?

    In an email first, I received spam in Japanese today. Up to now, I've met a good many foreigners who accused spam of being an "American problem", but this is like accusing automobile accidents of being an American problem.

    Perhaps we are still in a relatively innocuous phase of spam, when we at least understand what they are trying to sell. Maybe we'll start getting Afghan spam for slave children at 100 rupees each, Chinese spam for supermarket sales in Chengdu.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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