I've been reporting spam for a long time. Sometimes I got responses that were so pathetically clueless that I just couldn't believe them. For example, there was a period of time when Yahoo! simply denied that spam came from them, no matter what the evidence. In other words, they lied about it. (I am somewhat hoping that Yahoo! will threaten to sue me so I can counter-sue. I'd love to own Yahoo! And yes, I do have copies of the original spam and Yahoo's reply.)
These pathetic, clueless responses seem to come from the biggest "free" email providers. A little thought suggests that they aren't pathetic and clueless at all. They're attempts to make you believe that a) you are somehow at fault, and b) they are totally innocent. They want you to go away and leave them alone, but they don't want you to go away mad, they want you to go away confused and feeling helpless.
On St. Patrick's Day, 2006, I decided I was mad as hell at this tactic, and that I wasn't going to take it any more. So, here's Brown's Spam Complaint Hall of Shame. It is a catalog of spam complaints for which I've gotten pathetic, misleading, or lying responses.
Bones, lookit this! I have email from people who will teach me how to get free money writing grants!
It's spam, Jim.
How can that be? These people are going to teach me how to get free money.
It's spam, Jim. According to Spamhaus.org, it's about consent, not content. Did you ask to receive this email?
Noooo... but, but, but, it's free money!
And you'll also get a bigger... um, nev'mind about that.
Bones, it's OK... they have offices in LA an' everything!
Check. Let's perform a little experiment.
Pinging www.thegrantinstitute.com [188.8.131.52] with 32 bytes of data:
Reply from 184.108.40.206: bytes=32 time=249ms TTL=108
OK, Jim, they're at 220.127.116.11. Let us go now to http://ws.arin.net/whois/?queryinput=18.104.22.168 and check on that. Oh, I see that IP number belongs to APNIC, the Asia-Pacific Network Information Center, I mean Centre. So, we go over to http://wq.apnic.net/apnic-bin/whois.pl and type in 22.214.171.124 again. Hmmmmm... that address belongs to china-netcom.com. This fine, upstanding American company has its Web server in China, mostly out of reach of American law enforcement. Riiiiiight.
It's spam, Jim. It won't get you free money nor make any part of your body larger.
(I thought Yahoo! had gotten out of the business of lying about their spam, but it appears that they have not. Too bad.)
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Last updated: 2014-10-02 7:17
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