Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Permission to Spam? Nope

I love spammers, especially South African ones. They are so sleazy, stupid and dishonest that they are quite entertaining. They make promises that any sucker can see through, and yet they are so enclosed in their own little reality distortion field, that they just don't get it.
For many years I have run, a web site dedicated to worship music. At the bottom of each page there is a line that reads: "If you spot any errors, inaccuracies or other bloopers, please send an e-mail to Donn Edwards" followed by my email address, encoded as <>, which is designed to thwart spam bots, but still be legible to human readers after the browser has decoded it. It would seem this little bit of obfuscation is no longer sufficient, end the bots now decode the page before looking for email addresses. Of course the "" part should be a clue to anyone with a brain, but then some marketers aren't that bright.
Take Silver Solutions Marketing for example. They violated their M-Web Terms of Service by sending out unsolicited emails, using a bulk mailing program called SmartSend.2.0.104 on their ADSL connection All of this information is included in the email header of the message they sent. DUH!
And the service they are selling? You guessed it: "email marketing". I'll give them kudos for putting their money where their mouth is, but clearly these people have no idea. They must be part of the 1% of the population who doesn't get enough email and who enjoys reading the ads for Viagra. Maybe they bought their marketing degrees online, or paid $59 for a course on "how to make money on the internet".
When I called their number to ask where they got my email address from, I got the lame "from the internet" excuse. When I asked them to be a little more specific, they emailed me the graphic above, showing the page they got my address from. I have now updated the page so that it specifically mentions not to use the address for marketing purposes. It feels a bit like those coffee cups that say "Caution: Contents Hot". I guess we have to spell it out for the dummies of the world.
As an added bonus, I have added the email addresses of Silver Solutions Marketing to the bottom of the page, in the HTML code, so they can find out what it is like to get their names in a spamming database. I guess they'll get a clue eventually.


Anonymous said...

Great idea to publish their email addresses. Let the spammers be spammed in return!

Anonymous said...

Brilliant idea, but also against the law. In order for you to advertise their address, you need their permission. Failure to obtain their permission is an offence.

Professional Spam Tracer.

Confidential: you grioe about Vibrant Media has been heard. They are to be prosecuted through international courts, along with MLD Marketing and the Slimy One with the @gmail address. Thank you for your assistance.

Donn Edwards said...

According to the spammer's logic, it's only an offence if *I* send them marketing messages. I'm not sending them anything.

Sadly it is not illegal to scan the web for email addresses. Nor is it illegal for me to write the post that I did, and mention their email addresses, because I don't send spam. A marketing company sending out emails to thousands of unknown recipients cannot have an expectation of keeping their email address private, irrespective of any disclaimers on the bottom of the email.