Spam “Shocker of the Year”

Are you sitting down? If not, please do, as we don’t need anyone passing out and hitting their head. Ready?

Mumma anti-spam litigation beaten back

Venkat Balasubramani over at Spam Notes posted a nice summary of the recent 4th Circuit Court decision in the Mark Mumma anti-spam case.

In brief:

The court also rejected the underlying CAN-SPAM claims. The decision is important for one simple reason: anti-spam lawyers (and plaintiffs) often advance the exact arguments advanced by the plaintiff in this case. Lawyers on the other side know these arguments lack merit, but do not have any court decisions to back them up. As a result, a vicious settlement cycle results. This case probably represents the start of the tide turning in the other direction.

I questioned the whole Mark Mumma bit from the get go, and Mark came back. Mark hired a crack attorney. It didn’t seem to help matters.

Of course, none of what I said really made much difference – in general, the court rejected the plaintiff’s argument for alternate reasons (and ones that are surprisingly simple to understand). Read Venkat’s entire post – summary of the litigation is available as a PDF download as well.

CAN-SPAM can’t fine the bots

Nor find those ex-KGB agents.

Sophos just released it’s ‘dirty dozen’ spam relaying countries list, and the US still tops the charts.

Despite CAN-SPAM, which has produced arrests and fines, it seems it’s the average broadband connected internet user which is contributing to the lead. The culprit, botnets, and the puppet masters (according to Sophos), Russians.

I thought the Cold War was over.

Yes, someone passed a spam law

Someone asked the question:

Didn’t Congress pass a law that was supposed to stop spam? Why am I receiving so much of it?

Shouldn’t someone ask Congress? Or corporate America?

Australians hammer their first spammer

It is hard to tell how effective spam laws are, as you don’t hear much about prosecutions for their violation. I suspect the reason is that such events are few and far between. Case in point: Australia just nailed the first spammer under their law – one that has been in place for a few years now.

It took the US a little over a year to nab their first spammer under CAN-SPAM. The bust resulted in a settlement that some would consider a bit weak.

A law without teeth is hardly a law at all. How tough do you have to get to stop the nonsense?

Watch for “political appointments” out of the FTC

The FTC has recently come out with a very long report detailing how CAN-SPAM is working. Brian McWilliams pointed out that while they interviewed numerous people for the work, including folks at the Direct Marketing Association, they forgot to talk to Steve Linford over at Spamhaus.

While this is not a particularly strange omission (as Brian notes Steve was not very happy with CAN-SPAM), I am more curious as to the cause of the sudden shift of gears. The FTC was just saying CAN-SPAM wasn’t working too well a few months ago. Meanwhile, they have been out and about, cracking heads, and getting some decent PR as a result. Cripes, they even even shut down a splog ring!

Then a turf war started between the FTC and Congress, and now it looks like someone has caved. All that comes out of Congress is noise, so they couldn’t have anyone lingering around doing something about the issue. The FTC seems to be backing off (and spewing some sound of their own), and there is no doubt a few politicians will be waving this “report” around and taking the credit. I wonder who is getting the next appointment.

Someone just realized CAN-SPAM doesn’t work

Of course, you didn’t hear it here first, but the FTC recently completed a study that says CAN-SPAM isn’t working like it should. Furthermore, they concluded that requiring the addition of labels such as “ADV” to subject lines wouldn’t help either, as only legitimate email marketers would be likely to comply.

I don’t know how much money they spent producing this study, but you can be sure the cost-benefit model didn’t make much sense.

FTC proposes CAN-SPAM changes; some already like them

The world has spoken, and the US Government could be listening (but I doubt it). The Federal Trade Commission has proposed several changes to CAN-SPAM, some of which is simple adminstrative malarkey, and all of which is subject to review, comment, and approval.

Some “unlikely” folks have already cast their votes.

Diet Patch Spammer CANNED

Diet patch seller Phoenix Avatar settled charges from the Federal Trade Commission that it violated CAN-SPAM and the FTC Act. The consequences, however, would lead any spammer to believe that CAN-SPAM violations are a bit of a joke.

More on CAN-SPAM from ClickZ

You ask yourself the question “Does CAN-SPAM Hurt Email Marketers?” and you are likely to hear a variety of opinions. But one thing is for certain, spammers do. CAN-SPAM, whether it is a leqislative knee-jerk reaction to the core issue and/or an actual hindrance to legitimate campaigns, did not pop up out of thin air. The spam problem was the genesis of CAN-SPAM, and now email marketers have to deal with it.

Whether they deal the right way or the wrong way remains to be seen.